Oct 15, 2007
While it's easy to dismiss games based on popular animated series as lip service to fans, it would be a mistake to overlook Bleach: Shattered Blade. While it definitely appeals to fans of the show, there are many unique and entertaining aspects to this fighting game that make it worth a look for anyone that's into fighters or anyone that's looking for some good old fashioned mindless violence that's easy for any gamer to pick up.
Bleach: Shattered Blade revolves around a bunch of well-drawn anime characters beating the crap out of each other with samurai swords. A classic mélange of Japanese and American cultures (katanas and violence), this also makes an ideal setting for a fighting game. There are tons of characters, including numerous unlockable ones, for you to enjoy in story, versus and arcade modes. What makes this game different from your average fisticuffs fighter is its extreme use of the Wii's motion-sensing controller. All your attacks require a flick of the wrist that translates into some devastating swordplay on your television.
At first, the game feels pretty cool due to the physical interactivity, but the controls are a little uneven. The controls - a vital aspect of any fighting game - are novel, but uneven. Using various slashing, chopping, and poking motions, you swing the characters' blades. You can use buttons to modify the attacks for more power, while the Nunchuk attachment is used for movement and blocking.
After a while, we had two main problems with the controls. First, there's an odd feeling of separation that stems from the Nunchuk. Unless you're a drummer or some other freak of nature with total independent limb control, you get a feeling that pulls you away from the game's action. The second, and perhaps worse, issue is for players that get overzealous with the swordplay. Most people will get sore wrists from playing this game, but excitable gamers will definitely feel some pain. Overall the controls are unique and add to the fun, but also suffer from the limitations of the Wii's unusual input devices when used in a traditional style of game.
Fans of the show are sure to love Shattered Blade. The characters look great, the story mode is compelling, and you get to control your favorite bleach-haired warrior! Those unfamiliar with the show will find a good-looking game with novel mechanics that's potentially a lot of fun (depending on your predilection for violent swinging motions). As long as you're not expecting a ton of depth, the game will serve you well as a story-based game, a quick therapeutic diversion and a party game which proves, ultimately that there's a lot to like in Bleach: Shattered Blade.