Bleach: Shattered Blade

October 17, 2007

Wow, so where have I been for a week and a half? Well, I haven’t been playing Bleach: Shattered Blade that whole time. What’s been dominating my life is .hack//G.U. vol. 3. However, I have played Bleach enough to form some thoughts on it, being a straightforward fighter.

At it’s core, Bleach: Shattered Blade is just like any 1-on-1 fighting game. Each character has an array of basic moves and special attacks. As is required with any anime based game, you’ve also got a super move that triggers a cutscene. What makes Bleach interesting, though, is that this is an early attempt to translate this tried and true gameplay to the Wii’s innovative control system.

The primary gestures used are a side to side swing, a downward chop, an uppercut, and a stab. These are all meant to emulate the swords that most of the characters fight with. Holding A while performing a motion gets you a fierce attack, while holding B will trigger a special move. Blocking and dashing are managed by the C and Z buttons on the nunchuk. Shaking the nunchuk charges your spiritual energy and eventually triggers your power up form, where one or more of your special moves will trigger your super.

The effect of all this rapid remote swinging is a tired arm, but the illusion comes off better than I thought it would. I really only expected that you’d shake the controller for a generic swing similar to Zelda: Twilight Princess. The fact that you have horizontal, vertical and thrusting attacks was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, the revolutionary (read: difficult to program for) nature of the Wii takes its toll a bit as the game will sometimes do a completely different move than you wanted. Nowhere is this more important than during “clashes” where you compete to win the clash using a rock-paper-scissors method using slash, chop and stab. Frequently you don’t get the one you wanted, but it’s all blind luck there anyway so it doesn’t really matter.

Overall, Bleach: Shattered Blade is a decent, though not great game. The story is a little forced, and it lacks the music from the series (which is a big letdown). It’s a good early effort by a third party developer, in this case Sega, to marry traditional gameplay with the Wii’s unique controller. It makes me curious to see what Nintendo themselves comes up with for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. If you’re a Bleach fan, this is probably your best bet to fill your Bleach gaming urge (those street brawlers for the PS2 are crap in ways I can’t even describe). If you’re eager to see what a fighter is like on the Wii, you’re probably better off to wait for SSBB, but this can serve to kill you some time until December.

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