Bleach, the ultra popular anime series by the legendary Shonen Jump, has been around for quite some time now. Since its beginning, the Bleach series has come out with a decent amount of games to go along with its main story. The latest to hit the handheld is Bleach: Dark Souls. While far behind the actually story of the anime, it still includes a good amount of characters, from the series as a whole. Will Bleach: Dark Souls be able to stand up to my judgement? I was eager to find out.
Developers: Treasure Co. ltd
Platform: Nintendo DS
Players: 1-4 Players; 1-4 Players during Wifi Connection
ESRB Rating: T
Bleach: Dark Souls on the Nintendo DS brings an exclusive storyline, expanded cast of playable characters and fast multi-plane fighting action for up to four players via Wi-Fi. Players will also build a power-packed Spirit Card Deck and collect power crystals to augment their spirit card powers on the lower screen and dish out moves that will directly affect their opponent’s gameplay. With a burgeoning cast of 44 characters including the ability to play as Hollows, players can spend hours experiencing furious fighting gameplay and unlocking personal character stories all based on the series’ story arc.
Bleach: Dark Souls is a rare find, being one of the few fighting titles that one will find for the DS. Obviously, it features the cast from the TV show/Manga Bleach. This game nicely supports 1-4 players and features functional wifi connectivity.
The gameplay in this game is smooth and flows terrifically, combos connect with graceful carnage! :). Whether you're fighting against friends or against a legion of hollows in Story Mode, you won't be disappointed. I found it to be endlessly fun to try to see which combos I could pull off with each of the games monsterous cast of 44 characters.
Ichigo vs. Urahara
The game also features these little things called Soul Cards that you can select with the stylus mid-battle to influence the gameplay, whether the the cards turn you invincible for a short period of time or reduce the damage that your opponent can dish out, or even force them into a crouch, there is a type for every situation. On the main screen, you set the Soul Cards up into decks of various amounts and types depending on the set you chose or purchased from Urahara's Shop. Also each set gave u a Reiatsu Board where you can set in special gems that give you boosts in battle such as +5% strength or Soul Pressure.
After continuously playing I found Soul Cards to be a drag as their effects were mostly unnoticable and didn't make up for the time it took to activate them and instead purchased the later unlocked Full Reiatsu Board that allowed maximum reiatsu usage.
I'm gonna have to give the gameplay an 8/10
Of course I must expand on the fighting in the game. Each of the games 44 characters has a set of special abilities that can be unleashed using their Soul Pressures.
These power moves can be unleashed with a simple tap of the stylis on the corresponding button or by using a carefully executed button combo like you would use in a game like Soul Caliber. These abilities are split into two categories: Specials (Sp) and Supers (Su). The Super techniques are often the characters most powerful attacks that closely resemble that character's Bankai in the television anime series.
Hitsugaya unleashes his 3rd special, giving him wings and unleashing a powerful Ice Beam, similar to his Bankai technique in the TV anime
Dark Souls also makes use of Spirit Pressure which is often a limiter to the gameplay, it slowly restores as you fight, and is used whenever you execute a Soul Dash via the B button or whenever you unleash a Special attack.
Notice the yellow bars at the bottom of the screen, it appears that Ichigo has used up a lot of his Soul Pressure and is unable to use many techniques.
Unfortunately, it is possible to button mash and be good at this game, but luckily there is almost endless room for improvement, making this game somewhat accessible to all sorts of people.
In every fighting game it is important to give a little attention to the cast, especially when the game has such a large amount of playable characters. Everything that you can fight in the game can be unlocked. Hollows, Shriekers, Menos Grande, a nurse, a small boy are all unlockable. Unfortunately a lot of these characters are pure crap and are more annoying than anything.
The Hollow and Shrieker are under player control.
Other than the junk characters, Dark Soul's cast contains many of the important characters from the series; including the Gotei 13. Tho I was disappointed by the lack of any Espada in the game, I contribute this fact to perhaps when the game was made in concurrence to the Tv Anime. Ulquiorra is wronwry :p
The story mode is extensive, but really isn't more than a bunch of little challenges with little actual fighting until you get to the final Story D, where the battles are very difficult even on easy mode.
In order to beat the game completely (100%), you must beat EVERY single mission on EVERY difficulty which is VERY time consuming and MODERATELY frustrating since, depending on which missions you chose to complete will dictate which missions will be unlocked, and some missions require very specific things in order to appear, making them painstackingly hard to find. All unlockable characters in the game are unlocked through the story mode. Im not really complaining tho I honestly feel it could have been better.
Story Mode Missions vary from Owning hollows, to Collecting Dog Bones, and even Quiz Shows. The variety is great and keeps the game from becoming boring and repetitive.
Against a legion of hollows
All in all, I give the story mode a 7/10
The plot is slightly unclear... Though it most surrounds the one mod soul chick whose name escapes me at the moment, as she steals soul candy and goes somewhere. The story doesn't go along with the anime, but does a horrible job of straying off.
There isn't much to the sound in this game. Though it isn't good, there are very few songs that play during battle, and some of the voice acting can get very annoying. I find it very amusing to go into the sound effects and listen to the funny things that some of the characters say. And I set my Main Screen's voice to that of Hollow Ichigo.
The voice acting is sharp, tho from the less favored english voice cast it is done very well.
The multiplayer in this game is amongst the most fun I've played on the DS. It doesnt lag at all, though it has a horribly long loading time before each fight, which keeps me from giving it a better score in this category. I'd say a 7.2/10
Ichigo vs. Urahara
This game is filled to the brim with great extras. The extras include: A list of character bios for every character in the Soul Society, a long list of gallery images from the TV Anime, thousands of sound bytes from the English voice actors, and many amusing character mugshots. I spent a few hours laughing at the funny faces that Ikkaku makes.
There are hundreds of extras available in the In-Game Urahara Shop.
Alright, time for the breakdown folks:
+ The Fighting is smooth, fast, and a lot of fun.
+ Multiplayer is seemless
+ Tons of entertaining extras for diehard Bleach Fans
+ Extremely large playable cast, especially for a DS fighter.
+ An above average story mode with many hours of gameplay
- Horribly long loading times for wifi
- BEWARE OF BUTTON MASHERS!
- Spiritual Pressure is too limiting
- Too many junk characters
I'm glad I bought this game, it is always fun whenever I hook it into my lonely DS lite and I love to experiment with new combos.
Definitely a must have for fighting fans:
Looking into online Journalism? I may be able to help.
I just got into Bleach a few weeks ago, I'm around episode 75. Should I finish watching the series before playing this? Will I come across spoilers or new characters that haven't been introduced in the first 75 episodes?