Ok, I am in over my head now, I have a reasonable knowledge of anime and Manga but Bleach just completely passed me by and now I am regretting it as I honestly have no idea what is going on in Bleach: Soul Resurreccion, the latest title from Tecmo Koei. But, Incomprehensible story aside, is Bleach: Soul Resurreccion a fans only title?
Though Soul Resurreccion is set in the Bleach universe that’s all I can tell you, as the game assumes that the player has prior knowledge of the series, incorporating loads of cast members and incidents for the Story mode. I’m sure they mean something but with so much information thrown at you via a rather bland narration your fingers tend to rush toward the “skip” button more often than not.
Thankfully the actual action more than makes up for this short sightedness with the story mode allowing you to play as a selection of the shows main characters, starting with Ichigo, the game then dictates which characters you control though the 14 episodes. The action is full on from the start, with your character charged with running though a few short areas before taking on a boss. The areas are littered with a decent assortment of baddies to take out, with them popping up all over the place, more often than not while also outnumbering you by at least 20 to 1.
Each character has a their own personal set of moves at their disposal, with a simple sword attack that can be beefed up with some well timed button bashing combinations and ranged and special attack that are linked directly to your constantly recharging Spiritual Pressure Gauge. If that’s not enough each character also has an Inferno bar situated on the left of the screen; once charged, a quick tap of L2 will transform your character, allowing for even more powerful moves; you can even unleash what’s left of your Inferno power into one almighty move, ripping the environment and all that’s in front of you into shreds, with only bosses barely surviving its raw power. With all these moves and power gauges readily available you very rarely have any trouble disposing of any of the enemies, so upping the difficulty early on is a must otherwise the game is over far too quickly.
The action and presentation initially appear similar to Koei’s long running Warriors franchise but it really has nothing similar as it is nowhere near as tactical and is more akin to an good old fashioned beat-em-up but with a few bells and whistles; sometimes that is all you need.
The levels are relatively short but action packed, offering enough to keep each level fresh, but the aim isn’t just to kill everything but to do so with the highest combos possible. With each enemy you fell they drop souls, which you automatically collect and can use later to upgrade each character. Though the game drops enough to give you an edge on the field by upgrading in between episodes, to get the more juicier upgrades you need to perform combos. With every attack a combo meter will appear and then start to diminish, so keeping the bar on the screen will up your hit counter and eventually you’ll start to get soul multipliers. I say eventually as they kick in well after a 100 hits, no easy feat; but that’s where the upgrades come in, with each character having their own soul points to spend you can increase health, attack power, extend your hit counter meter and also cause more damage to specific foes.
After each story episode you will unlock characters that you came across and also defeated and these can then be used in the Missions mode. The missions are similar to the story missions but will also have specific goals and restrictions like beat a boss with no rush moves or have certain special moves removed or add a time limit. These missions get gradually harder as you play so utilizing a specific characters skills and upgrades becomes a must later on, though on the plus side, all the soul points earned can be spent after repeated plays and even death.
Though the game initially looks great there are plenty of bad points that let it all down, the environments offer huge vistas that are repeated ad-nausium and sadly you are confined by hidden barriers that essentially put you in a corridor. The animation and design of the characters and enemies are the games strong point, looking like they have literally been plucked from the show itself, but again they feel wasted as most of them are just fodder, with only a handful of baddies requiring any thought to defeat. Presentation is also a sore point here, mentioning earlier the narrated intros to each episode, it throws so many, “he hit him” and “he died” moments that you have no idea what is going on, only to have each level pretty much turn into the same run through levels and beat the boss scenario. It would of been nice to have some animated cut scenes taken from the show. There is an attempt to bring some explanation of who is who via the Collection mode but it also falls flat as it’s just a character model viewer; I would imagine this would be pointless even to hardened fans.
Clearly the game is aimed at the Bleach fan base and has therefore alienated anyone else that may have been interested in the title due to its almost incompressible story mode, which is a shame as there is a decent game buried in there.
Rating: Good Review policy
You can order Bleach: Soul Resurreccion here.