Who is Ichigo Kurosaki? Why is Rukia Kuchiki doomed to die? Is Hueco Mundo a person, place, or thing? If you can answer these questions, then you have a good chance of following the action in Bleach: Soul Resurreccion. The disjointed Story mode in this licensed beat-'em-up makes no effort to welcome newcomers, and even dedicated fans might be surprised at the episodes this game picks and chooses from the popular manga and anime property. The cast list is big, and the visuals are crisp and colorful, making for some satisfyingly flashy moments. Yet these moments are the exception to the rule, as the bulk of Soul Resurreccion consists of simplistic and repetitive combat against uninteresting foes. The game quickly settles into a rut that it never emerges from, squandering the worthy source material with its dull action.
6325874NoneAnd to think, it all started because she had the nerve to call him 'Skeletor.'
Story mode in Soul Resurreccion begins after the war with the Soul Society. Each of the 14 episodes begins with a short narration that describes what has happened since the previous episode and sets up the events to come. These brief snippets are enough to help Bleach aficionados find their place in the story, but those unfamiliar with the franchise are left in the dark. There is no attempt to even briefly explain the world, the characters, or the major plot points. You play as 10 different characters over the course of Story mode, with a host of others showing up either in boss battles or in hasty midlevel voice-over sequences. These narrations routinely attempt to deliver important revelations or deepen the relationships between characters, but they are so disjointed that it's hard to weave them into the greater narrative. Story mode plays out like a highlight reel, but it relies entirely on your previous knowledge to infuse the proceedings with a sense of drama. There are tender moments, desperate struggles, and climactic battles aplenty in Bleach, but Soul Resurreccion doesn't capture them; it merely references them.
Aside from short narrations and midlevel dialogue, Story mode is all about combat. In each episode, you battle your way through hordes of minions en route to a showdown with a boss character. Even if you don't know a Hollow from an Arrancar, the enemy designs are initially striking. Bony airborne fish swim above ghoulish brutes and toothy monstrosities, while a robed Menos Grande glares down from the height of a six-story building. Bleach's cast of characters is diverse, and boss fights feature an intriguing array of characters. The game's greatest strength is its visual appeal, and playable characters and enemies alike look sharp. Vivid colors and smooth animation infuse the action with some welcome energy, and the most powerful attacks in the game are gorgeously rendered.
Regardless of how nasty they look, most enemies can be beaten with repeated combo attacks that you can execute by tapping the square button. Pressure attacks (the triangle and circle buttons) drain some of your spiritual pressure gauge but pack a big punch and can be very helpful for cutting down groups of enemies at once. They look flashy too, but the biggest visual treat in your arsenal (and also the most powerful attack) is your ignition attack. This bad boy can be unleashed only when you've filled the ignition gauge and powered yourself up by tapping L2, but it does serious damage against minions and bosses alike. This modest repertoire changes from character to character, and it is interesting to see what kind of damage each one can do.
Ichigo sticks it to a Fishbone.