Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bleach: Soul Resurrección Review

Bleach Week - Bleach: Soul Resurrección Review
Written by: ClayDragon

Does Bleach’s first outing on a main series console do well?

As you may be able to tell, I’m a bit of a sucker for all things Bleach-related. So when I found out that there was a 3D Bleach game, I immediately went out and spent my hard-earned money on a nice, shiny copy of Bleach: Soul Resurrección. Given that it’s the first (and thus far, only) Bleach game on a main-series console, I was somewhat apprehensive. As it turns out, Soul Resurrección gets a lot of things right, but at the same time there are a number of glaring flaws.

"Baraggan's being a bitch to fight!"
Firstly, the main question is: is it faithful to the anime and manga? And the answer, thankfully, is a big yes. The game starts off when Ichigo and his friends have entered Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime, and it follows the story through to the defeat of Aizen. Soul Resurrección’s Story Mode is split up into fourteen ‘episodes’, with each one dealing with a different battle from the main series.

This is the point at which you should turn around and run in the opposite direction.

However, each episode is relatively short, and can usually be completed in ten minutes or less. The real meat of the game is the Mission Mode, in which you are given a certain task to fulfil. These missions can be played with any character and range from quick battles to gruelling, time-consuming slogs through a level. The final mode, Soul Attack, gives you an option of three challenges, and tasks you to complete them as soon as possible.

The time limits can become a bit annoying when you are constantly beset by tentacle monsters.

The gameplay itself is somewhat of a mixed bag, though. On one hand, it plays almost exactly like you’d expect from a Bleach game – you have a basic melee attack, a weak long-range attack, and a Super move which does a lot of damage, but drains your Spiritual Energy. Once you’ve killed enough enemies, you can activate your character’s Ignition, which triples your attack power and allows you to use their Ignition Attack (a super-powerful move that deals a huge amount of damage).

I kind of get the idea that tripling Kenpachi's attack power is somewhat redundant.

On the other hand, the process of playing through levels can get boring quite fast, as most levels follow the formula of ‘Start at Point A. Fight your way to Point B. Fight a boss. Rinse and repeat if necessary’. This wouldn’t be so bad if the levels themselves were interesting, but there’s very little variety in them, and they all play the same anyway. There are only five settings  – the Soul Society, Hueco Mundo, the corridors and inner dome of Las Noches, and Karakura Town. The only real difference between them is the type of enemies that show up.

"Oh God they're swarming me get them off get them off get them off!"

The game’s replayability is enhanced by the inclusion of the level-up system, a huge grid that works in a somewhat similar way to the Crystarium from Final Fantasy XIII, or the Sphere Grid from Final Fantasy X. Each character starts at a different node on the grid, and by using Soul Points you can improve your character’s stats or unlock new abilities for them. Soul Points are collected by killing enemies or destroying objects in battle, and the game encourages you to rack up big combos in order to gain multipliers for your Soul Points. Even with these multipliers, it takes a long time to fully level up just one character.

On one hand, it takes ages to get all those upgrades. On the other hand, when you do,  your character has pretty much achieved godhood.

Speaking of characters, there are some good points and some bad points. There are 20 playable characters (technically 21, but Ichigo has multiple forms), and whilst they’re mostly good choices for characters, there are some notable omissions. For example, Ichigo, Rukia and Uryu are playable, but Orihime, Chad and Renji aren’t. I can understand the exclusion of Orihime, as she isn’t really the fighting type, but there is no good reason as to why Chad and Renji don’t make an appearance. This is especially annoying as one of the character slots has gone to Kokuto, a villain from the fourth Bleach movie. Yep, the developers included what is essentially a filler character before they included characters like Chad, Renji and Ikkaku.

If you're annoyed about the fact that I spoiled his villainous reveal, then just look at him and tell me it wasn't obvious.

Mind you, the characters that can be played are still satisfactory, as there’s a decent variety of Soul Reaper Captains and Espada. Everyone has their own fighting style, and part of the fun is finding out how to bring out the best in each character. Some (like Aizen and Starrk) are geared towards chaining attacks together to create long combos, whilst others (like Hollow Ichigo and Kenpachi) are more suited towards quickly eliminating groups of enemies. This does mean that some characters are easier to level up than others, but the discrepancy doesn’t cause that much of a problem.

Even when I can't see Gin's entire face, he still creeps me out.

Sadly, Soul Resurrección has one massive flaw that stands out amongst all others, and that is a distinct lack of multiplayer. Yes, for a game so focused on fighting, you don’t have the option of duking it out with your friends. There is an online ranking system for the Soul Attack mode, but that’s it. There’s no reason as to why multiplayer isn’t included, as the game plays similarly to the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm games, which managed to easily bridge the gap between single-player and multiplayer. It’s a huge shame as well, as a multiplayer battle mode would have been awesome.

Ichigo was very disappointed with the lack of a multiplayer mode.

Beyond that, there isn’t much left to say about Bleach: Soul Resurrección. The voices are all done by the original voice actors, and if you prefer the Japanese version, there’s an option that lets you play through the game with the Japanese voice actors. There’s a neat little collection screen that shows you the character models and lets you hear them say some phrases, and there are three modes of difficulty if you feel you aren’t being challenged enough. Finally, the Trophies add some more goals for you to achieve, and if you’re a completionist like me, you’re going to have to sink a huge amount of hours into the game.

Run Grimmjow! Run and jump gracefully away from the Hollows!

Overall, Bleach: Soul Resurrección is a mixed bag. The combat is fun, the level-up system is done well, and with a combination of Mission Mode and Trophy-hunting, it has a high replayability and longevity. Sadly, this is hindered by repetitive environments, missing characters, and no multiplayer. It’s not a bad game, but it’s clearly aimed only at Bleach fans, as people who’ve never seen the series before will have no idea what’s going on. If you’re a Bleach fan, then by all means pick it up. It’s good enough to get a fair bit of enjoyment out of it, just don’t expect to be blown away.

Damn it Grimmjow! I told you to run and jump!

Good Things:         It’s a full-on 3D Bleach game.

                                It’s very faithful to the anime.

                                The combat system is fun and easy to grasp.

                                The level-up system and Trophies create a huge amount of replayability.

Bad Things:            No multiplayer. Seriously guys, what the hell?

                                Some important characters have been left out entirely.

The Verdict:
A Good Game, But Not Perfect.

Thanks for reading!

ClayDragon is currently studying Physics at university, and is constantly bewildered by it. The main method of contacting him is his Gmail account at The alternative is his Skype account at kyleroulston1993, but he doesn’t use it that much. When not playing games or reading, he can be found with his head in his hands whilst trying in vain to understand quantum physics. Dawn of the Fourth Day: 48 Hours Remain...

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