More like Bleach: The Shattered Wrists.
After Naruto made major waves in America, manga and anime powerhouse Shonen Jump brought Bleach to the English-speaking world. It was only a matter of time before a game followed, and now we've got it. Bleach: The Shattered Blade is a fighting game, and the first console title based on the series. Though it's faithful to the anime, as a game it suffers from not having a well thought out game design, given the control method that's used to play the game.
Shattered Blade features all the goods you'd expect from a licensed Shonen Jump title. It has an original story with new animation stills and 3D cut scenes, complete with the voices of the show's entire English-speaking cast from the show. (Sadly, there is no option to switch over to the Japanese cast.) A roster of 32 characters from the show fills out the game's arcade mode. The game's story mode has you pick from a group of select characters from the anime, with each trying to collect the power-giving Sokyoku shards for different purposes. The story predictably goes from one scene to the next with your character encountering others from the show, demanding they hand over the shards they've collected.
During gameplay, players can chop, slash, and stab with their swords using vertical, horizontal, and thrusting motions of the Wii remote. Critical attacks, which are much more powerful than normal moves, are performed by holding down the A Button while swinging. Special moves are done the same way, but use the B Trigger. Finally, characters can enter Bankai mode, a time-limited powered-up state that makes all offensive attacks ridiculously powerful, by first shaking the nunchuk to fill up a meter and then shaking it again after it has filled.
All of these controls work pretty much any time you want them to. As long as the motions are deliberate, you'll get what you want, when you want it. The game even has a mode that shows you what motions are being recognized when you move the remote around. Even when attacking rapidly, the attacks you perform with the remote appear on-screen with a surprising amount of accuracy.
The problem with Bleach is that the game relies on these rapid-attack combination moves. Because of the fast-paced, offense-first style of gameplay, you'll be doing a lot of attacking. If you want to do a 20-hit sword combo, that means you're going to need to move the remote back and forth 20 times. Since you're not going to be casual about those remote motions during the heat of battle, you'll resort to waggling the remote as fast as you can. A meter directly below your health bar drains as you perform attacks, which is designed to prevent players from wailing on each other forever. But because the attack meter fills as quickly as it drains, you'll always be ready to go back on the offensive.
What makes things worse, especially in two-player games against a human, is the ability to cancel incoming attacks, including special attacks, with an attack of your own. You have the ability to block and freely move around in 3D space, but you're not going to win if you just dance around the stage all day. You'll eventually need to get in there face-to-face and attack. The game is good at recognizing when you change from a chopping to a stabbing motion, or when you stop shaking your remote, but it doesn't change the fact that all you're really doing is moving your wrist around at high speeds. If you do it enough, you'll start to feel some discomfort
Of course, there is more depth to the game than just randomly flailing around. While I was playing against the computer, I saw that it was somehow able to cancel my attacks in the middle a combo. I quickly learned to vary the rhythm of my swings to counter this, and to also start using special moves and critical attacks in my combos. Special moves also let you soften someone's defenses from afar, but leave you vulnerable to attack if they see it coming and sidestep. Critical hits are unblockable and will launch opponents into the air or knock them down. However, they have a startup delay which can give your opponent time to retreat...or canceling the attack with some more remote waggling action. This helped cement the fact that the best defense was a good offense, which only led to more remote shaking.
The aforementioned Bankai mode, offers a great chance for a comeback, as special moves can do some major league damage. Activating it does carry a price, however. An unskippable, ten-second power-up sequence happens every single time you activate Bankai mode during gameplay. If both players activate it back-to-back during a match, it adds up to a lot of time sitting around doing nothing. I was already extremely annoyed by this after the end of my first story mode play-through, and by the time I had gone through the game for a while, I began to ignore Bankai mode because I knew there was going to be no way to skip those awful sequences. Too bad there was nothing I could do when the computer activated it!
As I finished up most of story mode and started messing around with the other game modes available, I didn't find much variety. All of the modes in the game are just different excuses to get you into fights featuring the same controls and gameplay that make the fighting extremely repetitive and dull. The most interesting thing in the entire game is the unlock gallery, which will slowly add new characters, stages, and gallery items to the game. To get enough money to purchase everything in it, however, you must beat story mode multiple times.
Bleach: The Shattered Blade will only appeal to fans of the show, and barely at that. It's mediocre as an extension of the anime, and even worse as a video game. Though the Wii motion controls work like they are supposed to, they simply don't fit with the fast pace and repetitiveness of this style of fighting game. There's still a chance that the Bleach line will improve in the future, but to do that the gameplay mechanics need a major overhaul. Otherwise, the next game will just be another boring wrist-breaker.