RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Bleach: Versus Crusade

Bleach is an anime that has made several forays into the video game arena, with a reasonable amount of success. However, some of the best Bleach titles never even make it out of Japan. After playing the disappointing Shattered Blade on the Wii, I wasn't very eager to play another game that might ruin the reputation of my favorite anime. However, after a bottle of vodka and some wine, I made the happy mistake of attempting to emulate Bleach: Versus Crusade. Surprisingly, it's actually a fun and entertaining game. With Dolphin emulator and a reasonable internet connection, it's a very quick and easy process to obtain and get it running too.

A screenshot of combat gameplay in Bleach: Versus Crusade
Byakuya is hard to play but rewarding.

The first thing you need to know about Versus Crusade is that it's all in Japanese. There's no English patch, so it takes a little research on Google or knowledge of the language to get started. If anything, I'm happy that I don't have to listen to Ichigo and Rukia's voice actors speaking in English. Don't let this barrier deter you; you can find menu translations all over the internet, created by avid fans.

Gameplay from Bleach: Versus Crusade, playing as the character Ichigo
Ichigo is pretty overpowered, but he can be beaten.

The second thing you need to know, is that instead of the 2D Tekken style battles are gone. Instead, Bleach: Versus Crusade adopts a combat style that can only be compared to the Dragonball Z: Budokai franchise. This is a very welcome change, bringing a more free-roaming approach to the action, which befits a franchise of Bleach's caliber. Being able to Shunpo around the battlefield dodging blasts of Reiatsu is deeper and more fitting than the 2D arcade style of beating eachother senseless on a single plane.

Single player Bleach game for the Nintendo Wii
Melee attacks are the bread and butter, to build up your Bankai.

Although the story is very short, it takes place during the Hueco Mundo arc. Which means Ichigo can go Visored mode and put on his mask in battle. The plot follows canon and in between battles the dialogue is unveiled upon a simple backdrop. The lines are all voiced by the actors from the show. It's pretty basic really, and is in no way special. The only real redeeming quality of this game as a whole is that it's basically Dragonball Z Budokai's battle system with beloved Bleach characters. Albeit with a lot less content.

A screenshot of the story in the Bleach Wii game
The dialogue is essentially quoting the Bleach manga.

As I have mentioned already, the combat is drastically better than the other Bleach titles on the market. Each arena you fight in is large enough for you to move around freely. You can chain together several flashsteps to cover distances quickly. Each character can strike in melee, landing a hit allows you to chain together several blows. There are also four special attacks that are unique to each character. For example, Ichigo can fire off small or big Getsuga Tenshou projectiles, and Ishida can use dangerous long range Quincy arrows. All characters can Bankai, which increases their damage considerably. It's not too badly balanced, no matter who you pick you have varying strengths and weaknesses.

Not unlike most of the games on the Wii, the graphics aren't spectacular. The maps are pretty awful too, but they do depict all the scenes from the anime and manga accurately. What I do like, is the fairly comprehensive roster of characters you can choose from. You can play survival or arcade mode when you've finished the campaign, which utilize tag team battles. Overall, I'm disappointed in the lack of content, but it's definitely a step in the right direction for future Bleach games.

Bleach: Versus Crusade isn't really a great game. It's fun, and will kill a few hours of your time. But it lacks depth and there's not much for you to do. If you do like Bleach, then it's worth playing. If not, you can probably find something better to do.

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