There is a lot to be said for an anime licensed game, words like mediocre or crap usually are among those words, but this is increasingly not the case with more recent games of this type like Naruto: Narutimate Hero 3 and Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked. The case with the game in question for this review, Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei, is that it is probably the best anime licensed game to be released to date! Not only is this a top-notch 2D fighting game for a portable, it is probably one of the best 2D fighters on any platform, barring the ability to use an arcade joystick.
The Bleach license is used to great effect here as all of the fighters have a lot of the signature moves you saw in the anime, including cutscenes when you execute characters’ bankai. They even got all of the voice actors to voice their respective characters for this game and they all sound just like you’d expect! Lots of great art is also in the game and you can even unlock a lot more to view in the Gallery mode by purchasing it, along with lots of other unlockables, with money, called “kan” ( 環 ), in the game’s Urahara Shop.
The gameplay is deep and rewarding with tons of impressive combos and strategies to use. You have a button for light, medium, and strong attacks, blocking, moving between the two planes, and one for doing the flash step. The flash step is good for escaping attacks and for doing a Guard Cancel which is if you do a flash step while blocking an attack, you can set yourself up behind the opponent while they are still doing their attacks in the opposite direction and can counterattack. Another cool ability is the Damage Cancel which is done by simultaneously pressing an attack button and the flash step button. This technique is used while being hit and it can get you out of the combo you are in, which can be a life-saver. The game also has Reifu, which are spirit cards you can use by touching them on the touch screen during combat that can power-up your character or power-down your opponents in a variety of ways. These cards are used to regain lost health, increase attack strength, steal super meter, force opponents to use their Reifu, etc. You can unlock more powerful Reifu through the Urahara Shop and by completing game modes and then you can take these and build your own deck of 15 Reifu in the Deck Construction mode.
The game isn’t just up to two players either, it is up to four simultaneously, with matches of 1 on 3, 2 on 2, and so on available. Download play supports the maximum of four players at once and you can even go on Nintendo Wi-fi and battle online, even outside of Japan. I had a few online matches of my own, but their was unfortunately enough lag to make it hard to enjoy very much and this genre is one of the most sensitive when it comes to lag. I don’t know if online in Japan is lag free because I have played Metroid Prime: Hunters in a variety of locations and have never had any lag, so it is a possibility.
I recommend this game to anybody that likes 2D fighting games and is looking for a good one on the go, including anyone who doesn’t even know anything about the anime it is based on.
Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei
Published by Sega
Developed by Treasure
Gameplay – 9
Graphics – 8
Sound – 9
Value – 10
Tilt – 10