Jeremy Jastrzab
23 Sep, 2011

Bleach: Soul Resurrección Review

PS3 Review | Anyone else feel like they need to get some cleaning done?
Usually the first paragraph in the review of a game based on some sort of license has a spiel about how licensed games are never any good, could be so much better, are primarily fan service, lazy or all of the above. And while any one of those descriptions could be plastered onto the latest game from the popular anime franchise, Bleach, it uncannily manages to be an arguably better game than its template. For all intents and purposes, Bleach: Soul Resurrección is a fairly blatant Dynasty Warriors clone. So while it will never lay claim to greatness, it does a few little things that make it way more bearable and even enjoyable than its inspirant.

The ‘story’ line for Bleach is a total mess. It really gives the impression that they’re just making up things as they go along. So anyone who isn’t a fan is probably going to get a head ache trying to comprehend what’s happening in the story mode. For the fans, and the only ones who really should be even reading this, Bleach: Soul Resurrección picks up as series protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki enters Hueco Mundo (the realm of the hollows, the main enemies of the series), to take back his lady friend, Orihime Inou, from the big bad guy, Sosuke Aizen. The game that follows then divides the main battles into 14 episodes, up until the big finale of good guy versus bad guy.

Don't look at me, I'm hideous!

Don't look at me, I'm hideous!
While the episodes are interspersed with some basic cut scenes, there is a lot that is skipped along the way, replaced by text explanations of what’s happened. As mentioned, you’re only going to be able to follow what’s happening if you want to replay what you’ve already seen in the anime. The story is expanded as you play through each level with the intermittent talking head, often referring to things happening outside of the character that you’re playing as. Incidentally, a lot of characters are missing. Sure their heads appear in the story bits, but a lot of them will never actually be seen (while some eventually appear). Overall though, the game actually does a reasonable enough job of summarising the events, but not on the level of some of the Naruto titles.

The gameplay is essentially a clone of the Dynasty Warriors formula. Across the 14 levels, you take control of a variety of characters from the Bleach universe, and work your way through linear environments taking out hordes of Hollow and Arrancar. At the end of each path, a boss battle awaits. All the conventional mechanics and systems have been adopted from Dynasty Warriors to fit in with the Bleach universe, and fans are likely to get a kick out of the fact that all moves in the game are faithful. In particular, the ‘ignition’ attacks are sure to bring a smile to their faces. To the credit of the game, each character needs to be handled quite differently, even if they all have the same controls.

While it is pretty much the same mindless repetition as its inspirant, there are some factors that allow Bleach: Soul Resurrección a bit more credit. Most importantly, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. There are nowhere near as many enemies, and some of them are genuinely varied, taking out a lot of the tedious and remorseless grinding. The boss battles do a decent enough job of replicating what’s happened in the anime. And completing the story won’t take the average player much more than five hours, where each episode on its own is quite short, but it actually suits the game down to a tee. This is compared to any given level in Dynasty Warriors which feels like it’s around five hours.

Chicks dig cool poses.

Chicks dig cool poses.
While this doesn’t seem like much, the game is concentrating on high scores and levelling up your character more than just completing the story. Everything you do in the game will earn you ‘soul points’, which can be traded to character upgrades such as increased attack, counter moves and extra health. And you’ll need to do so if you have any hope of actually getting the high scores and S ranks, as well as playing on the higher difficulties (which are the best for netting high scores). The only issue though is that Ichigo is used the most, hence it will take much longer to upgrade the other characters satisfactorily. And whether you actually want to is another thing entirely.

There are two further modes as well: Mission and Score Attack. Mission throws you into various familiar locales, often with some sort of restriction e.g. unable to dash. Score attack has a bunch of scenarios where you, obviously, aim for the high scores and then upload them to a leaderboard. Along the way, there is a bunch of fan paraphernalia to collect, such as digital figurines and sound bits. There have been better packages done before, but something that is actually quite welcome with Bleach: Soul Resurrección is that it’s being released at a price substantially below retail, making it quite a passable deal for the fans.

Now everything just sounds like roses and sunshine now, doesn’t it? Well, actually it’s not. While Bleach: Soul Resurrección does a good enough job of representing the Bleach license, the curse of its inspirant is never far away. Instances of poor, unimaginative and lazy design are rife, and while ‘linear’ games often get bad press, it’s primarily because of games like this. The design often feels like the characters and the world they reside in were done pretty much completely separately, stapled together only at the end. For example, while a character may move faithfully, this might be impractical for attacking the enemy proficiently. That, and there is a lot missing that could have been implemented from the rather diverse Bleach universe. As mentioned at the outset, it’s the kind of game that only fans will be able to forgive for its short comings.

Just because we can't see what's going on, doesn't mean it's cool.

Just because we can't see what's going on, doesn't mean it's cool.
While the presentation values are somewhat basic and unendearing, it still manages to capture the essence of the series well. Incidentally, the vast and uniform environs of Soul Society, Hueco Mundo and Karakura Town seem to lend themselves quite well to gameplay formula. In any case, the representation of style is faithful and clean, with some particularly nice animations and penchant for exaggerated moves. Thankfully, the awfully uniform and occasionally out of place English voices can be replaced by the Japanese voices, while the rest of the sound effects and tracks aren’t anything memorable but in place where they need to be. It was a little strange though, to hear the Menos Grande that sound like Bowser from Mario Kart 64

While it does nothing to change the licensed game paradigm, Bleach: Soul Resurrección has to be given some credit for at least being more bearable than the game its based on, even though it may have only been by accident. The undiscerning fan will actually get a kick out of this title, as it does a decent enough job of representing the anime arcs on show, while not outstaying its welcome. While it doesn’t come close to the tedium and remorseless repetition of a Dynasty Warriors game, the ordinary gameplay and insipid design will only be offset for fans by the fact that they’ll know what’s going on. Some may even stick around and aim for the trophies/achievement and high scores. That is, just until they realise how much is actually missing...
The Score
The fans of Bleach will get a kick out of Bleach: Soul Resurrección, for while at least. Anyone else need not bother with it.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Bleach: Soul Resurrección Content

Bleach: Soul Resurrección Preview
11 Jul, 2011 Mundo-tastic.
Bleach: Dark Souls confirmed for PAL regions
22 Jun, 2008 We'll have to wait until next year though.
Bleach: The Blade of Fate Review
26 Apr, 2008 Soul-cleansing fun.
2 years ago
2 years ago
im a fan of the anime, but this game is an example of cashing in on a label. a real dissapointment. what it has is ok, its just that its only 35% of a completed game. it needed way more to be included to properly flesh it out and meet expectations.
2 years ago
You think so? Sure, the story mode is pretty short, but the missions and time attack are the real meat of the game. I've played the game for 25 hours, and I'm still not quite finished.

I like this game. It plays like a Dynasty Warriors imitator, but it's a very good one, with lots of largely unique characters to play as. The combat and animations are fluid, and the game looks good. I can't see anything here for fans to complain about, unless they're really fussy about the story. I'd like to see a sequel with even more characters, enemies, and a versus mode. icon_smile.gif
Add Comment
Like this review?
Share it with this tiny url: http://palg.nu/4Wj

N4G : News for Gamers         Twitter This!

Digg!     Stumble This!

| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  16/09/2011 (Confirmed)
  Namco Bandai Games
Year Made:

Currently Popular on PALGN
Australian Gaming Bargains - 08/12/11
'Tis the season to be bargaining.
R18+ Legislation
R18+ Legislation
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Preview
Hands on time with the game. Chat time with the CEO of CyberConnect 2.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2007
24 titles to keep an eye on during 2007.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2008
And you thought 2007 was populated.