An Almost Hands-On Preview
July 25, 2007 – I have to say that the title I was looking forward to the most this year was Bleach: Shattered Blade. But unfortunately, at the Otakon convention, I guess some people thought that the 15-minute rule didn’t apply to them, and kindly told me when I asked when I could play that they’d be at least another hour or two. So, being the nice, non-confrontational person that I am…I let it slide. But I warn those who think that this is acceptable behavior, it’s not, and you’re going to rile up the wrong person one day.
But aside from the discourteous people I found, I was able to watch some demonstrations of the game, and got a real taste for how this game is going to be when it comes to our shores this October. One of the first things that strikes you about this game is the uber-impressive visuals. This title was one of the first titles for the Wii in Japan, and the visuals are surprisingly sharp. Of course, like all of the up-and-coming anime games, you get the cell-shaded look, but Bleach: Shattered Blade really stands head and shoulder above the other anime-inspired games when you’re looking at sharp graphics.
And this is also in part to the wonderfully executed fight scenes. It’s been a while since there’s been any really bad action sequences, but one of the real strengths of Bleach: Shattered Blade is that it has a very clear cut movement and action on-screen, which make the game easy to strategize. You might not think “strategy” and “fighting game” could be in the same sentence, only because there’s so many button mashers, but this game really takes advantage of its on-screen visuals to help you find weak spots and develop a strategy to exploit your opponent’s shortcomings.
Another really good feature of this game is the control scheme. Sure, you can hit buttons, but to do your special “bankai” moves, you utilize some pretty intuitive motion controls. Not unlike the newest DBZ game, the motion controls will trigger different “ultimate” moves, but you’ll have to pull off the move pretty well to realize the full extent of the damage.
It’s also important to mention that the localized version of Bleach: Shattered Souls may be somewhat different from the Japanese version simply because of the different storylines going on in the Japanese version of the anime. Since they are way ahead of the English version, and some might be upset about future spoilers, I wouldn’t be surprised if the game I pick up this fall is somewhat different from the title I was able to look at during Otakon. But changes are never big enough to cause a stink over, and I’m really okay with alterations that make the game more accessible to people who’ve seen the English version only.
All in all, I really count myself lucky that I even got to see some of the gameplay, even if I wasn’t able to participate myself. This game looks like it’s going to be really awesome, and I can’t wait to actually get my hands on it this fall!