|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Treasure||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 9, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
September 18, 2007 - This fall, in addition to the Shattered Blade game being released for the Wii, Bleach fans will also be treated to a DS game based on the popular series. Bleach: Blade of Fate will be a story-based side scrolling adventure that will keep players engaged in the world of Bleach for a very long time. And since fans have been rabidly anticipating this one for nearly two years, that won't be too hard a feat.
At the heart of this new title is its story mode which puts you in the shoes of orange-haired hero Ichigo Kurosaki. For the most part, you'll be playing through the events of the anime and manga series. But the game also provides additional events and story elements that provide supplementary context for the events portrayed in the original series. In addition to the story mode, there are several other ways to play including arcade, challenge, versus, training, and wireless play. Yeah, it'll keep you occupied. And all of these other modes feature all of your favorites from the series as playable characters. So everyone from Ishida to Zaraki Kenpachi (and even Kon!) will be at your disposal to lay waste to the competition.
So, what exactly will all these extra modes entail? Arcade mode is probably the most simplistic and just offers you the opportunity to pick your favorite character and beat up another character who you don't like so much. Challenge mode takes this idea a little further and features character-specific battles for you to complete. Training mode is pretty cool, and lets you beat up on a customized enemy so that you can hone you inner sword-slashing skills. But the ultra-cool mode that I personally am excited for is the wi-fi mode. Perhaps it is because the wi-fi mode in previous anime and manga inspired games have been so satisfying lately (I'm still playing Jump Ultimate online) but I just can't wait to go online and kick some butt with my favorite Bleach characters!
As far as the battle system is concerned, the one in Bleach: The Blade of Fate looks pretty good too. You use the face buttons for small medium and large attacks, as well as a quick dash. The left and right shoulder buttons will be used for blocking and changing planes. But the really cool facet of the control scheme is based on a card-component to the game. And while fighting games that have been using card based battle systems have not been successful in the recent past, this one's blend of traditional fighting and card based battle looks too reverse the trend. Instead of using card-based moves only, you'll be selecting only special moves and various power-ups via the touch screen.
The visuals in the game look like what you might expect from a anime-based game on the DS: lots of sprites. But the good thing here is that these sprites are pretty detailed, and work well with the fast-paced nature of the game. Environments are mostly simplistic, but it serves the main purpose of the game, which is solely battle-focused. There's also some story scenes that are animated, and while these aren't amazingly beautiful or anything, they serve their purpose and look pretty good on the DS.
As far as sound is concerned, there will be a fair amount of dialogue in addition to the side-scrolling text that these types of fighters are famous for. There will also be a healthy amount of music from the original anime, which is pretty cool. And since this is a fighting game, expect lots of fighting "uhhs" and "ooohs" in addition to the beat-em-um sound effects.
Overall, Bleach: The Blade of Fate looks like a pretty cool title. I think it'll stand on it's own against the console fighter Bleach: Shattered Blade coming for the Wii on the same day. Not only does it feature many different ways to play, but it controls well and doesn't look bad either! Bleach aficionados will appreciate the extra story elements as well, and the wi-fi play should supply play that is far reaching. Bleach: Blade of Fate looks like it'll be a great handheld fighter for the DS platform and will hopefully provide many hours of soul-slashing fun!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer