Hello everyone! It's what you have been waiting for...my review! I decided at the last second to add the Japanese audio to the score, but I will only be discussing the English audio, because we have heard most of these moments in the anime recently, and would just be redundant. Like my fellow wikian Godisme, I will break the review down in several parts, but put my own spin on it.
I know Ranbu no Melody is not theme in the game. The reason for this was because NISA is a very small company and do not have the budgetary means to have both the opening and the Japanese voices. I support the decision that they made. I would much rather spend $60 on a game with dual audio than have Ranbu no Melody with animation that does not synch well with the music. Also to be frank, once I actually saw the opening in HD on my TV, to be perfectly honest, it wasn't that good. I love the anime opening with a passion, and this was kind of disappointing. Gin and Tōsen were drawn terribly and I only have a 20 inch 720p LCD HDTV, good lord knows what it would look on a 42 inch 1080p HDTV. Not only that but also honestly how many people watch openings to these kinds of games more than once...no one! So I would much rather have dual audio than a crappy opening.
I like to think of the story as basically a highlight reel of the Arrancar arc. That being said, the story pretty much did what it had to do. So, I am going to break down the pros and cons of the story.
First up, Pros!
- The game doesn't waste any time and throws you right into the story. Instead of wasting time giving back story, it tells you want you need to know.
- The story covers some of the most memorable fights of the Arrancar arc with stunning graphics.
- Unfortunately like the vast majority of Bleach games, the story mode is very short. I beat story mode in about 4 hours over the course of a couple days. Some major fights were omitted for example Ayon VS the LT. and Yamamoto, Tōsen VS Hisagi and Komamura, and Gin Vs. Aizen. These fights had potentials to be beast boss levels; the most missed opportunity was Tōsen. Tōsen could have had so many different power-ups, and would have been a great addition to the game.
- Another thing I wished was more present in the game were cut scenes. This game has a total of about 10 maybe 15 short cut scenes. The game has such gorgeous graphics; I would have really liked to see some extensive cut scenes. I would have like to seen Gin's death and Ichigo's arrival, Aizen arriving in both fake and real Karakura town, and Aizen's sealing to name a few. I know cut scenes would have slowed the game down a bit, but I feel it would have added so much more production value to the game.
All that being said, this game is pretty much for Bleach fans. If you are not to at least episode 310 in the anime, you are going to have no clue what is going on. I think a small cut scene explaining who the main characters are and a short summary of the events prior to the beginning of the game would have benefited non-bleach fans greatly.
The acting was pretty solid for the game. I know many of you may be wondering why there were no English cast or crew credits. Here is the long of the short of it. NISA can only afford to make non-union projects and video games are very expensive. Unfortunately most of the Bleach cast members are members of either SAG or AFTRA. Some notable Bleach cast members who are union members are David Earnest (David Vincent), Tara Platt, Kyle Hebert, Colleen O’Shaughnessy, Keith Silverstein, and Steve Staley. So other than perhaps one or two voice extras, every Bleach cast member is a member of some sort of acting union. So instead of finding non-union voice actors to voice the characters in the game, NISA hired most of the anime voice actors (the ones they did not hire had prior commitments and could not voice their characters), and simply did not credit them. NISA has said they wanted to credit the voice actors, but legally they can’t.
As I mentioned earlier the acting was pretty solid considering how little the actors had to work with in terms of dialogue. My own personal rule is if it sounds this good in the game, then when it comes in the anime it will be so much better. I had also mentioned earlier that some of the actors could not reprise their roles due to work elsewhere. However, excluding Paul St. Peter as Yammy, all of the playable characters were voiced by their respective voice actors. Going back to Yammy, Yammy was voiced in this game by Jamison Price (Chad’s voice actor). To be honest, I actually prefer Jamison’s portrayal of Yammy over Paul St. Peter’s. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Paul as Yammy, but Jamison’s voice just fits Yammy better, he reminds me more of Kenji Nomura. I would not be remotely upset if Jamison voiced Yammy for the rest of his appearances in the anime. I also thought Johnny Yong Bosch did a fantastic job with both Mugetsu (thanks for pronouncing it as MU-GETZ, sounds sexier than MU-GET-ZOO) and the hollowfied Ichigo. The Hollowfied Ichigo sounded much scarier to me than the Japanese version, which in my opinion he sounds like a cat choking on seltzer water. I really like how he modified his voice for the whole “protect” “save” “help” words he said as the hollow. Plus it really is a miracle that Johnny does not sound like Nathan Explosion considering how much he screams in this series.
The acting for both the Japanese and English audios for the game were very solid.
Music, Sound Effects, and Graphics
I really like the music for the game. Some of the music sounds very similar to actual tracks used in the anime, and I really like that. Some of the music actually could be in the anime. In some of the past Bleach games, I hated the music, because it just does not sound anything like Shiro Sagisu’s fantastic score. However in this game, I could hear bits of Enemy Unseen as well as other Bleach favorites, and that really made me happy.
I thought the sound design on this game was fantastic. The sound effects sounded like their anime counterparts, and that really made me happy. In past Bleach games, the attack effects sounded nothing like their anime counter-parts and just sounded like cheep stock effects. It was very apparent that a lot of time was spent on the sound aspect of the game. I loved the vocal effects in the game as well. In the past when Ichigo would summon his mask and use a special attack, his voice would stay the same, but now it changes as he hollowfies. Plus Studiopolis minus the Ignition attack voice, got Ichigo’s visored voice right. I really hope they use that effect again, because it sounded really great. I also enjoyed the effects on Lilynette and Hollow Ichigo’s voice.
Need I say more, the graphics were fantastic! Each character was so carefully modeled and shaded, and it was apparent from the start that the attention for detail was taken into great consideration during the production of the game. All the characters look very clean cut, and look like they popped right out of the anime. This game didn’t leap; it soared over the graphics of its predecessors, and it looked fantastic in HD.
The combination of music, sound, and graphics really made this game a real joy to play.
I am still working on mission mode, and for me the game is more the mission mode than the actual story. The Missions are extremely challenging, but they are A LOT OF FUN! Not one mission is the same, and each one has it's unique set of challenges. I recently purchased my PS3 not even three months ago, so for me, this game was a learning experience. I can easily handle anything the PS3 throws at me, and for a “beginner,” I appreciated the easy controls in this game. My one complaint is that the map is very hard to read, and nearly impossible to find your own location of the map. This can be become as issue if you are in a timed mission or in Ignition mode.
This game has a lot more replay value compared to most of the other Bleach games and anime games for that matter. The missions keep you coming back, and trying to get A or S Rank on episodes and missions also keeps you coming back for more.
BLEACH: Soul Resurrección is a must for any Bleach fan. It’s fast paced action, dual audio, and overall replay value really gives you your bang for your buck. This game is worth the $60 I spent on it, plus the three free Bleach episodes were a nice bonus. There were still some issues in this game, but what game doesn’t. Out of all the minor problems I had with the game, none of them were severe turn-offs.
- Opening: 6.5/10
- Story: 7/10
- Sub: 8/10
- Dub: 8/10
- Music: 7.5/10
- Sound Effects: 10/10
- Graphics: 10/10
- Gameplay: 8/10
Overall I give BLEACH: Soul Resurrección an 8.1 out of 10. I am having such a great time playing this game, and I hope you guys are too. Please join me on Tuesday when I review BLEACH 334 and on Saturday when I review BLEACH 217 dubbed. I am also happy to announce that I will be doing my first Bleach movie review, when BLEACH: Hell Chapter is released later this month. I will also be doing a review of BLEACH: Fade to Black dubbed (on Blu-ray) in November.