Chances are if you’re a huge anime fan, you follow the adventures of one Ichigo Kurosaki, the human turned soul reaper, or at the very least have heard about the Bleach anime series. Though the Bleach series has had a few outings on the Wii and DS, it wasn’t until Bleach: Soul Resureccion that the series has finally taken its first step into gorgeous HD visuals, thanks to NIS America.
The opening cutscene, preparing you for action
Right from the initial boot up, the game completely mimics the anime look and style, from the action-packed opening cinematic, to the highly stylized menus that are littered with various characters (that look absolutely beautiful cel-shaded). It’s obvious that NIS put a lot of attention to detail to make sure the game would look almost indistinguishable from its anime counterpart.
I was able to play through a series of missions with various characters, such as the titular, orange-headed Ichigo; the wise and powerful Quincy, Ishida Uryuu; or the short and deadly Rukia Kuchiki. From my first impression, the gameplay was in the style of Koei’s Warriors series. Pick a mission with the respective character, and then let loose on hundreds of enemies that appear throughout the levels. To its credit, the levels were usually made up of multiple screens and map layouts, so I wasn’t constantly running around in the same map during each mission.
Ichigo tears it up
The first mission had me running through an open environment and dispatching many Hollows, the game’s main enemies, in the process. Those come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from smaller, easy-to-kill enemies, to towering giants that require a bit more power to take down. Besides the multiple areas found in each level, the varying terrain eliminates the blandness factor that plague most of the Warriors series, where levels are usually all flat.
To break up the constant monotony of running around and slashing everything in sight, each character has a number of different moves, varying from quick attacks to powerful super moves. In true Warriors’ fashion, an ultimate attack gauge builds up that strengthens your character and lets you unleash a devastating finisher that clears the screen. Likewise, each character handles a bit different. Rukia and Ichigo are extremely quick and swift characters, but to further differentiate these two, Rukia relies more on ranged attacks that follow up her melee attacks.
The calm and collected Ishida claims his victims
Each of the playable characters has an upgrade system that harks back to the days of the Sphere Grid of Final Fantasy X, except extremely oversimplified. Basically, you get a square grid that connects various skills together that are unlocked with points accumulated during each level.
The full game will also have dual language support, so purists can get excited to hear their favorite characters in Japanese. Fans of the show will also get three downloadable episodes for free. Make sure to check back around the games release, which is scheduled for 8/2, for our full review.