If you're not a fan of Bleach, arguably the world's most popular manga and anime series (next to Naruto and One Piece), then the PS3-exclusive Soul Resurreccion isn't going to hold your hand and introduce you to the extensive cast. Sure, this game is an easy pick-up-and-play affair, but even those loosely familiar with the series will likely be lost in the shuffle. Despite all that, Bleach: Soul Resurreccion isn't bad -- just poorly executed.
Bleach: Soul Resurreccion excels at action, but not much else. Kicking things off with the Story Mode, the 14 missions attempt to condense over 100 episodes of the anime series, as main character
Ichigo Kurosaki and his Soul Reaper friends attempt to prevent the evil Sosuke Aizen from invading the world of the living. Over the last two weeks, I've summarized the series as "Dragon Ball Z with swords," but that's far from the truth. Bleach, while inviting many of the same tropes as DBZ, actually has really interesting characters and dynamic fight scenes.
What's wrong is that you don't see any of it, as the game cuts down the Hueco Mondo and Fake Karakura Town arcs to a bare minimum. Only a handful of the fights are shown, the banter between characters is reduced to irritating one-liners, and huge confrontations in the show are largely skipped.
By contrast, Dragon Ball: Raging Blast and Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 manage to hit all their series' high notes, and look good doing it. Here, it just feels like SCEI didn't even try. Sure, the graphics look damn good, but the developers really didn't do anything with them.
Plus, while Bleach: Soul Resurreccion gets the visual and fight scenes right -- boss battles in particular are pretty fun brawls, especially on Hard Mode -- the rest of the game is sorely lacking. After blitzing though the main story (about three hours of gameplay), the extra side missions (another three hours) don't add much variety to the rest of the disc. In all the modes, you simply kill waves of similar, dumb-as-a-stump enemies en route to the boss battles, with no incentive to repeat levels simply than to see other characters' special attacks.
In fact, the gameplay's so one-note that I didn't even use the level-up system -- a grid of stats bonuses ripped wholesale from the Final Fantasy X Sphere Grid -- during my review playthrough. After you've played Story Mode, you've essentially seen all the game really has to offer, outside of collectible figurines and an unlockable character even I don't recognize. For a full-price title, that's an unfair amount of gameplay.
Bleach: Soul Resurreccion: Specs
- Age rating: 12
- Age rating: 12
Overall, the slightness of the package is a shame, because the combat is actually pretty solid. Bleach: Soul Resurreccion would benefit hugely from multiplayer, especially co-op or a versus mode, but no such addition exists. Even if you're a Bleach fan, just rent it and have a fun afternoon releasing your Bankai.