At last, a good Bleach game! The Bleach fans rejoice!
As you may, or may not know, Bleach has had a few video games. There’s a few for the Wii, one for GC, several for the PS2, a few for the DS, and one for the GBA. Previously, I’ve only had the pleasure of playing the GBA title. And, well, let’s face it.. it’s not that great. The gameplay in it was weird and kind of annoying. But I’ll save that review for another day.
I had pondered over which PS2 Bleach game to get and realized that I should just get, at the time, the newest one. So, thus, here’s my review of Bleach Blade Battlers.
Yes, there is a story mode! No, it does NOT follow the anime or manga, at all. It’s also really short. Five main episode, six if you do the hidden “Kon” episode. Each episode has a few fights (ranging from three to five, I believe). The first episode teaches you how to enter bankai mode when your life is low and gets you familiar with the gameplay. Overall, the story mode is really easy.
I have to be honest here, I expected more. This isn’t to say that the graphics are BAD, because they’re not, but they could have been better. Some things are awesome, like the special moves that the characters have, and others…well, you’re wondering if they were designed for the PS1. Of course, a great deal of the time you can barely see your characters anyway, so it doesn’t matter (stupid camera; see “The Bad” a little later on in this post).
Gameplay & The Game
I love how easy it is to pick up a controller and play this. It’s pretty simplistic, but not overly so. Pressing circle when you’re not moving, and assuming you have enough reiatsu, will cause you to do your super special. Pressing circle will moving will use a special move of the zanpakutou or character. Pressing triangle will usually do some kind of attack that either sends a blast, protects the character, or does an area of effect type attack. Square will do your basic sword attack and X will make you jump. Bankai is just holding two buttons (R1 and L1) at the same time when your life is low and it’s indicating that you can use it. Blocking, I believe, is R1 by itself. Left analog will control your character, while right analog will allow you to shunpo (flash step) across the stage. In other words, it’s easy to figure out. That’s good. Because you really just want to pick up a sword and start beating the crap out of your opponents.
The game itself has several different modes to keep you entertained. First, it has the story mode (which was already mentioned). Next it has a “Mission Mode” where you have a total of 50 missions to complete. You start with ten and more unlock as you beat them. Most missions consist of “beat up so and so” but some are different (beat so and so with a special, beat these people in this specific order, survive for 2 minutes against these people, etc). Mission mode is also how you start unlocking characters.
Once you’ve unlocked a great number of the characters, you can start the next mode, the sword hunting mode. In this mode, the only objective you have is to beat your opponent using your cinematic special. If you successfully do this, you will be able to use your opponent’s special in place of your own. For example, Ichigo fights Byakuya in this mode. Once you win, you’ll be able to use Byakuya’s “Senbonzakura Kageyoshi” in place of Ichigo’s normal special. It doesn’t necessarily do any more damage, it’s just a fun little treat to fans.
Next is the usual player vs player mode, where you can play against your friends. Finally, there’s an “Urahara Shouten” section where you can buy figures of the characters, “operators” (people who talk to you on the main menu), videos, pictures, and a few other things.
In other words, to make up for the short storyline mode, there’s a ton of crap to do and unlock. That’s not a bad thing.
+ There’s a lot to unlock — almost too much.
+ There’s a good number of characters (5 to start, 23 characters total)
+ The bankais are cool
+ The cinematic specials are awesome
+ You can play as Kon! (first time ever, I think)
+ There’s interviews with the cast, which is neat (albeit I don’t understand everything they’re saying, as the game IS in Japanese)
+ The missions are challenging and fun
+ THE CAMERA
Ugh, this is THE worst part of this game. The camera will drive you insane. Half the time the screen is so zoomed out that it’s almost impossible to tell what’s really going on. Half the time you’ll be wondering what you’re doing.
Yeah, there’s a lot of characters, but I was hoping for more. The GBA game had 31 characters that you can play as.
Personally, if you like Bleach and have a way to play Japanese PS2 games, I’d recommend this game. It’s better than the other Bleach games (from what I’ve read and seen) and there’s a lot to do in it. It also doesn’t require a whole lot of Japanese to hop in and start wailing on people. Some of the missions do, however, require at least SOME Japanese (recognizing the character’s names, mostly) in order to complete them. You can find a decent guide on Gamefaqs that’ll help you out.