Wii

North America

Bleach: Shattered Blade

by Steven Rodriguez - November 7, 2007, 9:56 am PST
Total comments: 6

5

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.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 6 7 5 6 5
Graphics
6

The cel-shaded style fits the look of the anime perfectly, but the colors are washed out and the overall feel of the game is muted and flat. There's no true widescreen support either, making everything squished flat when viewed on 16:9 televisions.

Sound
6

The music and sound effects are muffled and forgettable. The voice acting is authentic to the anime, though.

Control
7

Everything works how it is supposed to, so you can't blame the repetitive nature of the gameplay on the controls not working. Even when you're really going at it, the game keeps up, most of the time.

Gameplay
5

The fast-paced nature of the game, combined with a bias toward offense and combo attacks means most of your time spent with The Shattered Blade will be done swiping, chopping, and stabbing the remote as quickly as you can. Even if you decide to be smart about your attacks, your opponent can simply counter them them with waggle.

Lastability
6

You only start with 14 characters in arcade mode, so there's a long way to go to unlock everything in the game. However, given the stress the game will put on your arms, and that the game isn't terribly fun, you're not going to want to play it for long bursts.

Final
5

Fans of the Bleach anime may like the interactive version of their favorite show, but there really isn't much to recommend in Bleach: The Shattered Blade for anyone, especially if they're looking for a good fighting game on the Wii.

Summary

Pros
  • Includes original English voice cast
  • Motion controls work pretty well
Cons
  • Flat graphics, muted sounds
  • No variety in game modes
  • Rapid motion controls don't work well with offense-minded gameplay
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

DAaaMan64November 07, 2007

I would probably call it a 6.5 or a 7, but it is nothing special.

MashiroNovember 07, 2007

Story mode was the BIGGEST disgraceful display of an "original" story to ever grace any video game.

"Hai guys! Lets collect sokiyoku shards! LOL INUYASHA ANYONE HAHA!!!"

Biggest piece of crap writing ever I swear. It doesn't even make any sense story wise and makes the characters seem completely retarded.

I was expecting Ichigo to say at the end of the story mode "man you guys get fooled by every bad guy ever! First Aizen and now this random made up hollow vizard wacky guy thing!".

So stupid.

What's sad is, it's leaps and bounds above Sega's first Bleach game on GC.

If only TOMY had the rights to make the game.

My roommate loves the game. Then again, he IS a bit of a Bleach lover!

MashiroNovember 07, 2007

I like Bleach but when you compare the game to, say, Naruto GTNT (or even it's American counter parts) it easily leaves you wanting more.

If Sega put some more production value behind their Bleach games, I think it would go a long way.

KDR_11kNovember 08, 2007

The review sounds like the only problems of the game are that the controls tire you and that the bankai cutscenes are too long, you hint at a deep combat system that you didn't manage to explore. The text of the review doesn't sound as bad as the score, did you just fail to put the experience into text or did you want to try some stupid ass "5.0 means average!" system?

MashiroNovember 08, 2007

Quote

The review sounds like the only problems of the game are that the controls tire you and that the bankai cutscenes are too long, you hint at a deep combat system that you didn't manage to explore. The text of the review doesn't sound as bad as the score, did you just fail to put the experience into text or did you want to try some stupid ass "5.0 means average!" system?


I'm not the reviewer but having played the game with my friend I can say the combat system is not at all deep. The issue with the controls, outside of being tiresome after extended play, is that outside of the normal "fast" attacks, mostly every other attack (see: special, critical, guard break) is downright slow. Which tends to make the matches play out as follows: fast attack till your energy bar is almost depleted, guard break of the opponent is guarding or special/critical if he isn't.

The ability to endlessly run circles around an opponent is also easily exploited to prevent any changes to the combat style. If you don't lock the opponent down with normal attacks, he/she can easily evade any of the other slower attacks.

Another combat flaw is the "locked" battle clashes you get into. This occurs when both players try to attack with a critical strike at the same time. A clash will occur and a bar will show up below each character. The goal is to do one of three moves when a cursor on the bar hits a colored section (indicating the move will hit). It can either be a thrust attack, a vertical slash or a horizontal slash. It plays out like a rock paper scissor match where as a vertical slash beats a horizontal slash, a horizontal slash beats a thrust and a thrust beats a vertical slash. In theory this is fun but it is executed poorly. Many times trying to do a 'thrust' attack makes the character do a vertical strike. The motion controls, for some reason, fail in this area to pick up what you are really trying to do.

Outside of the cut scenes "bankai" mode (or powering up mode depending on the character) is ok. Some characters bankai modes are better designed than others but I can' really rip the combat in this state to shreds. It's not all that bad.

Aside from the controls, another flaw with the game is the god awful sound. The music is forgettable at best aside from one track which literally has a play loop of 30 seconds and it's quite noticeable too. Voices don't always match up with the mouth movement of the characters or worse yet, characters speak and their mouths don't even move (though I guess that falls more under crappy production value than god awful sound). Speaking about production value, the graphics and animations aren't anything to write home about either.

It's not a terrible game but it's certainly nothing above being a somewhat below average fighting game based off an anime license. There's nothing deep about it and it has very little replay value outside of trying to unlock characters. By the time you unlock them all you kinda get sick of the game anyway.

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Bleach: Shattered Blade Box Art

Genre Fighting
Developer Sega
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Bleach: Shattered Blade
Release Oct 09, 2007
PublisherSega
RatingTeen
jpn: Bleach: Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku
Release Dec 14, 2006
PublisherSega
RatingAll Ages
eu: Bleach: Shattered Blade
Release Feb 29, 2008
PublisherSega
Rating12+
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