|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
It's unfortunate, but most games based on anime really aren't that good. It's rare when you find a game that comes from pre-existing material that can re-invigorate your faith that good games can be made that are based on an anime. Bleach: The Blade of Fate is one such game.
With many different ways to play, a vast amount of playable characters, and a relatively deep online experience, Bleach: The Blade of Fate may be the game that proves that when a little effort is applied a great game can result, no matter what the franchise that inspired it may be or what console the game is on.
The first thing you'll notice about Bleach: The Blade of Fate when you start it up is how many modes there are. The first screen has so many choices that it's almost overwhelming. But like most people, when I started up the game I went straight for story mode. From there you assume the role of Ichigo, a substitute soul reaper. Here is where I caution those unfamiliar with the Bleach series. If you don't know the lore of Bleach already, then most of this Soul Reaper, Zanpaku-to, Bankai stuff will just sound like Greek to you. But I digress. The whole of Ichigo's story mode is ripped directly from the pages of the Soul Society arc.
But the gameplay is very interesting in the story mode, and does not move in a linear fashion. You see, in Bleach: The Blade of Fate, it's not if you beat your opponent, it is how. After you get past a short tutorial mode and a few small opponents, you'll start noticing opponents who add conditions to fights. And these conditions could be anything from refraining from using certain moves to getting the most subsequent combo hits. And let's say you beat them, but don't fulfill the condition. Guess what? It doesn't count. It sounds harsh, but it adds a good amount of depth to the game. You can't just button-mash your way through this one; you'll have to have some skill or it's back to the beginning for you! Once you finish Ichigo's story mode, you may think you have accomplished a lot. However, you'll soon notice that Ichigo's story was just the beginning!
There are over twenty different story modes for you to unlock and play through. Each one features a different character and their view of the Soul Society arc. Of course, Bleach fans will be extremely delighted with the new take on the events of the Soul Society arc through the eyes of series staples like Orihime and undervalued characters like Ganju, who seems to have misplaced his pig. In any case, each story mode clocks at about two hours gameplay each (give or take with skill and different "paths" taken), so believe it or not, you've got a 50+ hour game on your hands. And that's just the story mode!
As I said in the beginning, there's much more to this game than the story mode. The next mode you'll have the pleasure of conquering is the arcade mode. This mode may sound simple, and for the most part, it really is. You just pick a character and then you're off to fight through several progressively harder foes. It's not too deep, but I highly recommend jumping into this one to hone your skills before trying to tackle some of the more advanced levels in story mode. But let's say you want a challenge. Well, there's a mode here for that too. Challenge mode has you performing several very challenging moves in rapid succession. So again, this is another mode that can help bolster you up for one of the other modes of play.
Then there's the piece de resistance: The multiplayer modes. There are many ways to play Bleach: The Blade of Fate with a crowd. You can download play over local wireless either multi-cart or single cart. You'll have a few more options at your disposal if you play multi-cart, but fret not if you don't have friends who like Bleach, because the single-cart play is just as satisfying. The real glory for the multiplayer modes comes in the form of a very extensive and intricate online play system.