Release Date: June 2011
Genre: Hack ‘n Slash
First of all, I’d like to give a shout out to one of my newest followers, the Otaku Judge. He runs a blog of the same name, and covers so much Japanese anime that I really didn’t know where to start!
I’ve been a fan of Anime for the longest time, but I tend to flit between shows, never really settling on one story. The two exceptions to this are Sword Art Online, which I’m currently enjoying, and Bleach. I powered through all 366 episodes of Bleach over a period of several years, and it will forever sit with me as the benchmark for all future shows!
After reading some of the Judge’s posts, I felt inspired (and excited) to delve back into Soul Resurreccion, a PS3 exclusive Bleach title, developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, and Racjin. Would this be a happy reunion? Or would poor game design leave me disappointed and moody?
I fired the game up, and the intro cinematics are beautiful, they look like they’ve been taken straight from the show, and have a wailing guitar soundtrack over the top of them. Good start!
I clicked on Story mode first, and was bowled over by the graphics. The characters look and act exactly like they do on TV, you really feel like you’re taking part in an episode.
I did have to exit quickly and change the character’s voices to the original Japanese (with English subtitles of course.) The English voice acting just sounds plain wrong when you’ve listened to Japanese voices for what seems like an eternity! After the change, I was delighted when I realised that the original voice actors from the show all seem to be present and correct here. It really added to the experience and once again, I was totally immersed into the world of Bleach!
I want to mention something here: to get the best out of this game, you really need to know at least a brief outline of the story, either from the manga books or from watching the show itself like me. Soul Resurreccion throws up character names and locations with pace and little or no description. While die-hard fans like me will be fine with that, I can imagine it would leave a newcomer a little bewildered. The game follows a portion of the show pretty much scene by scene, and you’ll play as different characters like Ichigo Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki, and Kenpachi Zaraki, as you battle to rescue Orihime, a friend who has been taken prisoner and transported to a dimension full of evil spirits.
You’ll encounter the Arrancar, a group of evil spirits with soul-reaper abilities, and the Espada, who are 10 of the strongest Arrancar, with power levels that rival your own! Your ultimate goal? Defeat the Espada, stop the treacherous Captain (no spoilers!) and rescue sweet little Orihime!
(I told you to read up on the plot beforehand!)
The game is a fully 3D combat affair in the same vein as Devil May Cry, or Bayonetta. Each character has different attacks and special moves, as well as a devastating Ignition attack which is charged up over time. Enemies are plentiful and tend to die quite easily, meaning the focus is on building up your strike combos for bigger scores and more special attacks. The action is fast paced and at times, frantic!
I’ve already mentioned how great this game looks, and it runs smoothly too. Your weapons sparkle and fizz as you cut through waves of evil spirits, and special moves are highlighted with a gratifying slow-down effect and an explosion of colour filling the screen (as well as the character’s signature phrase!) you can dodge, counter and zoom through the air, all with a simple button press. You really do feel like a badass in this game!
There’s a separate game mode called “missions” and each of these is a short challenge, often pitting your choice of character against a boss, and sometimes limiting your abilities. I found this to be a lot of fun and a nice distraction from the full-on story mode. It’s already led to a few “dream” fights we never got to see on TV. Completing the mission scenarios unlocks new challenges and new characters to play with. Each character earns points as they progress through ANY game mode, and can be levelled up individually to suit your own playstyle!
Does this game sound like the best thing since sliced bread? It’s not quite perfect. Having such a wide range of movement, camera angles sometimes foul up and leave you with little to no view of what you’re doing or where your enemy is. I struggled with the mini-map at times too, Bleach could have settled for a simple compass.
The combat is brilliant, yet it is the ONLY thing this game has to offer. I would have appreciated longer cutscenes with more story filled in, or maybe some interactive dialogue choices, just to break up the monotony of wave after wave of bad guys.
Some story content exclusive to THIS game would have been nice too, a little bonus for loyal Bleachers….. or maybe I’m just getting greedy!
Soul Resurreccion is a great piece of fan service, recreating the characters and the whole Bleach universe with painstaking attention to detail. It’s great fun for a while but the endless combat may get a little repetitive once you’ve sampled most of the different characters. Worth a try if you can find a copy, but again I’d suggest you read/watch some Bleach beforehand, it makes playing this so much more enjoyable! Scores on the doors then?
Graphics: I’m blown away. Perfect art style for this game and still holds up today. – 10
Sound: Original voice actors are great, but bland background music in-game – 7
Gameplay: You’ll feel all-powerful, and free as a bird, but it needs a bt more variety. – 8
Lifespan: Plenty of unlocks to get after, but fans already know how the main story ends – 7
Thanks for reading, seeya next time!