Simple and straightforward, Bleach: Soul Resurreccion is a game with few frills and almost no consideration given to those not already fans of the manga. There are three basic modes - Story, Mission, and Soul Attack. With a bit of effort you’ll get through the fourteen chapters of button mashing, sword wielding, spell casting action that makes up the Story mode, in a day. After that you can spend some time levelling up the nineteen playable characters. And once they’re powerful enough you can unlock around forty missions in the Soul Attack and Mission modes. All straightforward fun.
What isn’t straightforward however is trying to figure out exactly what the hell’s going on. But, here goes. There’s this guy Ichigo Kurosaki, he’s the main guy. Rukia Kuchiki is a Soul Reaper. She gets hurt fighting a Hollow - they’re evil spirits that are trying to get into the Land of the Living - and gives her powers to Ichigo so he can help. But, if you’re a Soul Reaper you’re not allowed to do this. So Ichigo, along with friends and Soul Reapers like Uryu Ishida, Chad and Yoruichi Shihoin, travels to the world of the Soul Society battling Hollows, such as Grimmjow and Halibel, to ultimately confront evil Soul Reaper Sosuke Aizen who set up Rukia as part of his evil plot to overthrow the king of the Soul Society. I think.
Anyway, that’s all in the past, and if you’re all up to date with Bleach lore you’ll know exactly what’s going on in the story mode of Bleach: Soul Resurreccion. Essentially you need to help Ichigo and his friends stop Aizen and the Espada, a group of the most powerful Hollows, from invading the Land of the Living.
If you’re not that clear on the whole Bleach saga, what you get is fourteen fairly muddled chapters with only brief spoken intros and no cut-scenes. There’s a lot of running around bland and pretty uninteresting deserts and city settings. You get to bash a lot of ghost-like spirits, little fish spirits, bird spirits, giant ghost-like spirits and boss Hollows. If you’re a fan of Bleach you’ll have a blast. If not, it’s still pretty enjoyable. Just don’t try to figure out who everyone is or what’s going on.
While the story may not be, playing the game is very simple. You move with the sticks and jump, strike and cast with the face buttons. With the triggers you can dash, guard, target enemies and fire off your chargeable Ignition Attack. While each character has different attacks, the controls are the same. So, while it all looks different on the screen, if you can play one character, you can play them all.
Not that the characters look bad. Despite the generic and uninspired environments, repetitive music and inane battle chatter from the fighters, the playable Soul Reapers and Hollows are all faithful to the television series. Of course this means that they are not exactly cutting-edge as far as gaming goes, but they move well and their attacks are smooth and interesting enough to make you want to see them all. There are a lot of swords, some scythes and bows and Yoruichi Shihoin is pretty awesome with her swift kicks and punches. And that’s a good thing because once you have played through the fairly short story, with no real online aside form the high score tables, levelling up and unlocking missions is all there is to do.
In the missions you start in various areas from the story. There will usually be some kind of restriction. Like a time limit, a set number of Hollows to kill or a one hit and die rule. Get to the end of the mission and you will unlock other missions. At the beginning of each mission you can choose the difficulty to help you gain extra XP.
Levelling up works along the same lines as Final Fantasy X. Depending how you handle a mission or chapter, you get experience points. Playing at ‘very hard’ difficulty, quick clear times and the number of spirits killed all add to your XP. Then you unlock extra health, magic or attack power on the level-up grid. As various characters become more powerful, new areas on the grid open up. This forces you to use different characters and replay a lot of missions with weaker characters just so you have somewhere to spend the XP’s earned by your favourite.
So, Bleach: Soul Resurreccion is not a bad game. It’s a game for fans that’s both short on story and fairly limited in scope. What there is, is okay, although it gets repetitive fairly quickly. So if you want a simple beat-em-up button masher, and you have always wanted to be a Soul Reaper, and you have the need to give the evil Sosuke Aizen the beating he deserves (of if you‘ve always wanted to be Aizen and want to give those Soul Reapers the beating they deserve), then Bleach: Soul Resurreccion is the game for you.