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Bleach: Shattered Blade (Wii) Review

Every modern console's lifespan sees the realisation of anime to game conversions, seeing popular spiky-haired chap and chapettes duking it out in the ring, or frolicking outdoors with fireballs, swords and other mystical forces. Nintendo's offspring are no different, seeing many titles based on franchises like Dragonball, Naruto and Yu-Gi-Oh. Today we have one of the most popular stories making its way to our living room: Bleach. Worth gracing your tele or more useful in the loo?

Bleach is a tale of ghosts, death gods and follows the adventures of a lad known as Ichigo Kurosaki, a high school student who has the pleasure of seeing ghosts. Ichigo one day sees a spirit ninja sent from heaven to take out corrupted, devious souls known as hollows. The hollows roam the earth trying to devour the souls of poor misguided spirits (sound friendly, don't they?)

The story of Shattered Blade, however, is a little less complicated but follows similar mechanics to the original manga. Here we see several plots working simultaneously, with only a select few available initially. The basic idea though sees your character being told he or she needs to collect shards to pass certain requirements. After waggling your way through a series of single-round battles, it turns out your character was being fooled - oh dear! Queue epic, or not so epic, boss sequence and voila. Peace is restored to the Soul Society.

The basic storyline is disguised by the promise for more characters and unlockables but both the men and ladies are only after one thing: shards, oh and beating each other senseless. Initially fans will be pleased to see and hear familiar faces on screen, encountering one another in their travels. However, soon after you'll realise that a tedious set script comes into play... You must be after the shards!
In-between battles, players are greeted with a series of cut scenes. Some of which are done well. Smooth animation and clean backdrops. Later on, however, it gets lazy - unanimated stills with voices-overs. In-between scenes are what you may expect in a game of this genre: a gorgeous hand-drawn artwork to cover-up the atrocious loading times, but they're limited in number so eventually a cuppa tea or trip to the world outside may suffice during the wait. So all in all, the storyline has promise, but needs work.

Combat is another area that unfortunately needs to be beefed-up, with Wii-remote waggling being an initially odd way of attacking. There are three types you can perform - vertical, horizontal and a forward poke. By holding A at the same time, the move switches into critical mode: an unblockable attack with a few more sparkly bits than before. It has the disadvantage of leaving a player vulnerable, but the receiving player doesn't have time to respond to take advantage. Wii Remote mapping is slow and sluggish, leaving players waggling their way to victory. When players clash, it enters a melee of combos that are followed by shaking your right-hand to the beat to try and overcome your foes. It's interesting at first, but can deal some serious cramps to your own arms itself inflicted damage if you will.

Screenshot for Bleach: Shattered Blade on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

To add some variety to the standard attacks, a quick tap of the B button unleashes specials that fortunately vary from character to character. For even more damage, a power bar can be charged up by dealing out regular movements to unleash the dreaded bankai mode ? seeing your player receive a huge gust of energy to unleash the spirit within. These moves are visually impressive, and would certainly please fans, and be a point in a battle to work towards. The problem is that Wii Remote controls are fairly loose, and it does take some time to get used to not button mashing to perform combos, in that you?ll have to exert some physical movement to batter your foes. After some time it does become more natural, but still lacks the fluidity of most fighting games.

Visually Shattered Blade doesn't make the most out of the Wii?s hardware, but there are elements that do help achieve a sense of fast paced action. Character models are fairly decent in their overall appearance, donning their famed outfits in glorious cell shading, and have been animated well. Textures vary from being respectable to being grainy, stretched and compressed. All in all it creates some inbalance in the style ? on one hand you have above average models, and in the other, poorly executed textures and scenery. When in motion is when some of these imperfections are masked away by some nifty effects, from your standard sparks and clashes with opponents to manga-styled text overlays that bring movement together.

Sound, is, well ? sound. Sega haven?t created the world?s most impressive soundtrack, yet it doesn?t need to be. The mixture of environments are coupled with the regular up-tempo, combat music: combining eastern drum beats with clean string-work and some light guitar. It?s nothing out of the ordinary, but does help compliment the action on-screen. Voices, on the other hand, have more extreme ends. With the Western release you can?t revert to the original Japanese settings, so a cast of American folk have come in to give life to these warriors. Some are appropriate, clever and convincing ? others are cringeworthy. Mr. Blobby would be a better actor in these cases.

Underneath the story mode lie the standard battle modes ? single player versus against a computer controlled foe, or if a fellow human want to play, against them. You can take part in training sessions to get used to the controls, or convert the computer into a human-punchbag for testing out your skills before battle. For the Bleach enthusiast, players can buy alternate costumes, art etc ? and view them in the gallery mode.

Screenshot for Bleach: Shattered Blade on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

A mixed affair. Initially it?s a waggle-fest, so much so we?ve no doubt mentioned waggling countless times above. However, it does improve with time but still needs improvement to compete against the button-brawlers. Shame about the lack of GameCube controller support, or anything besides the remote/nunchuck combi.

Graphics

Fairly solid visuals, decent character models but lacking backgrounds and environments. Animations are smooth, coupled with manga-inspired effects to hide some of the imperfections. Not up to Wii?s better catalogue, but pulled off in an above-average way. Cutscenes are lazy in execution and don?t offer much variety to tell the standard tale.

Sound

No real complaints here, ?cept the need to improve voice-overs or at least include the option to revert to the original Japanese spec. Background music and sound effects are well thought out, and compliment the on-screen action nicely.

Value

Like most fighting games, Shattered Blade has a vast collection of unlockables from characters to outfits etc, but whether you?d play through to unlock these is questionable. Aside from going through the story mode countless times, there?s no other modes to excite and keep players battling it out. Online competition, mini-games could have really added more depth and variety to a standard formula.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Average

About this score

A fairly enjoyable experience, coupled with an interesting take on the Wii-remote fighter experience. More flexibility on how you play, and what you can play would have upped the score. Stripping away the characters and franchise, and you can see its problems and limitations compared to more experienced fighting games.

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14.03.2008

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Developer

Polygon Magic

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Fighting

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (22 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

Good review. Though I am a Bleach fan, I think I'm content with just SSBB as my fighter game. Smilie

unanimated stills with voices-overs

So basic anime.

1"We're mentalist psychic Scots , which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Thanks for your comments guys Smilie

Tin Can Man said:
unanimated stills with voices-overs

So basic anime.

At least in anime in general you've got relevant action animation, movement and decent drawings if it resorts to stills, but here you've got really really lazy production values.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

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