Bleach: The Blade of Fate Exclusive Hands-On

Treasure's upcoming DS game may not whiten anything, but it slices and dices like a champ.

Bleach: The Blade of Fate is the latest game to be based on the popular Japanese manga comics to hit the US. Although the series has been around since 2001, it came to the US only in 2004, but nevertheless quickly found a following. As a result, we're starting to see the various games that have been based on Bleach also find their way to the States. One of most interesting is Bleach: The Blade of Fate. The fighting game is being developed by 2D sprite gods Treasure for the Nintendo DS, and it's one of the few 2D fighters for the system. We had the chance to try out a work-in-progress version of the US game, and we have much to report.

The game features a meaty selection of modes that include story, arcade, versus, training, and challenge. The story mode casts you as Ichigo Kurosaki, a high-school student with the ability to see ghosts. Ichigo winds up battling ghosts and other afterlife phenomena after accidentally absorbing the powers of Rukia, a "shinigami" sent to patrol his hometown. You'll play through various scenarios based on his early adventures. Story sequences offer setups for the many fights you'll engage in, and you'll face off against a broad array of quirky fighters. Arcade mode lets you pick whichever character is available and fight through a series of enemies, whereas versus mode lets you take on a friend. Training mode lets you practice against a customizable artificial intelligence opponent. Finally, challenge mode features a series of character-specific battles with specific requirements for success. In addition to these play modes, the game also has a gallery where you can check out artwork, and an in-game shop to buy cards, character colors, 2D art, and audio.

Get ready for an anime-inspired beatdown on your Nintendo DS.

Combat in the game is an engaging blend of traditional 2D fighting that lets you mix standard attacks, special moves, and super moves. The basic action is tricked out with the addition of a second plane to fight on and up to three enemies to face off against. The system also features a card system that lets you use cards during battle. Each card offers unique effects during combat that will enhance your abilities or cause a negative effect for your foes. The whole system works well on the DS and makes effective, low-key use of the touch screen. You'll mainly use the D pad, face buttons, and shoulder buttons to attack, guard, jump, and switch planes. You can use the touch screen to activate one of the cards you're holding and trigger any of the special and super moves. Overall, the system seems to work well, though the touch screen makes the moves dead easy to do. The plane shifting is cool and is one of the many elements in the game that reminds us, favorably, of Treasure's awesome Sega Genesis classic Yu Yu Hakusho from back in the day.

The visuals in the game impressively display both the DS's sprite-pushing power and Treasure's creativity. The battle arenas are clean and spacious, and they offer a good amount of detail that doesn't distract you from the core action. The two-plane system helps give the areas a nice sense of depth. Combat is complemented by a host of special effects for everyone's special attacks as well as the various card effects. The fast action stands out thanks to smooth animation and little touches such as animated clothing. Other than the in-game graphics, the game also has additional 2D art used during the various story sequences, and this artwork is all nicely done.

Audio in the game is quite robust, featuring the standard assortment of collisions for punches, kicks, and weapons clashing, as well as a number of other elements. You'll hear a good number of voice samples as you play, both during combat and in the game's cinematics. You'll also hear a hefty dose of fist-pumping rock that perhaps only anime can get away with.

The game offers plenty of colorful 2D artwork.

Based on what we've seen, Bleach: The Blade of Fate is a tight little fighter on the DS that features impressive visuals and a solid fighting system. The Bleach license fits well with the way the game plays, and it should please fans, who will get to see a bunch of familiar faces. Factor in the local and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection multiplayer options, and you have a significant amount of content to explore. Anyone looking for a fighter on the DS will want to keep an eye out for Bleach: The Blade of Fate, which is looking like the most promising fighting game on the DS in a long while. The game is scheduled to ship this fall.

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Discussion

51 comments
REgrl4life
REgrl4life

I played a japanies Bleach game, and I like the American versian better, So I was surprised when this game was a little better!

B1ack_Rayn3
B1ack_Rayn3

my cousin has the japanese version which i enjoyed playing the controls where quite easy and i enjoyed playing it. I will definitely pick up the US version when it releases.

Lonewolf26X
Lonewolf26X

I have the Japanese version of the game Bleach DS: Souten ni Kakeru Unmei. It's a really good fighting game except that it does have it's balance issues. Most of the characters can shunpo their way through most attacks (although this would use up your shunpo bar) but people like Chad can't so that kinda leaves him at a disadvantage. Orihime appears that she takes double the damage compared to most of the other characters. I personally think Zaraki Kenpachi and Ishida Uryu are the broken characters in this game but that's not to say they're unbeatable. The character is only as good as the person controlling him of course. Selecting the cards doesn't feel awkward but I personally feel that performing the moves with the touchpad isn't a good idea. It's essential for the regular techniques that you learn how to balance with the quick but long recovery time of the weak attack and the long setup time but quick recovery of the medium attack. The fierce attack cancels both of them out giving you quick startup and quick recovery but you use a bar of the shunpo meter and believe me, shunpo and damage canceling will save your ass from getting heavily damaged most of the time. I haven't played Bleach DS 2nd: Kokui Hirameku Requiem yet so I can't really comment if that one is better but I heard that the balancing is a bit better in that game. Depending on which one you prefer (sub vs dub) you should get the respective copy of this game. I personally don't like dubs but someone else might enjoy it so have at it.

u_poop
u_poop

tis is .....awsome!!!

teknicz
teknicz

Like others have said, the Japanese version is great, and I'll be sure to pick this up too.

TalesofRaGnArOk
TalesofRaGnArOk

Man, I dont remember the last time I played a sword fighting game, or at that, a game by treasure. Man, I have so many new games, gotta make time for this one.

SOL333
SOL333

the dubbed version isnt too bad, considering other animes. in all honesty, i think sub fans dont understand how much harder it is to act in english than in japanese. might get this, i trust treasure.

hellpolice
hellpolice

I like this anime and is nice to see a game for DS

TruGillies
TruGillies

I like the idea but I have a lil major problem. I watched the subbed version of anime since it came to the shores of Canada. Now the voices I think are the only thing that seems annoying to me. I'm not use to the dubbed version. I may get it, if I suck it up. Haha.

Dr_Corndog
Dr_Corndog

Wouldn't the world be a better place if all games were developed by Treasure?

bushnate
bushnate

I love bleach, i love fighters. I guess that's a win-win situation for me! I'm interested in seeing what type of moves you can do per character, i wonder if it gets to the point of you being able to use bankai moves. -Nate

LoveLikeaBomb04
LoveLikeaBomb04

This is definitely the greatest fighter ever made for the ds. Beach DS 2 is great also.

callingdarkness
callingdarkness

im thinking of getting this when it's out in the UK (next year along with the Wii game) it look good and my boyfriend like Bleach a lot so in a way it'll be a bit more for him to play then me, but im still after it i havent seen bleach (just started on UK TV two days ago) much so im not sure if im a fan of it yet.

peeweeshift
peeweeshift

i have the japanese version its great

Erowe
Erowe

@ GeigerdolylWodd It's your "typical" 2D fighter with it's added extras of course... The battles are kind of fast paced I guess and no, there is no overhead roaming.

GeigerdolylWodd
GeigerdolylWodd

How do the Bleach games play? Are the in game battles as fast paced and interesting as the tv series? Does Ichigo's sword leave cracks where it cuts through the environment unintentionally while he's moving. Does he stamp the pluses foreheads with the butt of his blade to send them to soul city? Is there any overhead free roaming?

narutoquest
narutoquest

Looks like more of the same. Ive got the other 2 games, and theyre pretty fun, but I dont see any major differences between this game and the second one or for that matter the first one really either. I hopes its got something a little better than a slightly varied story mode =/

Archon_basic
Archon_basic

Anybody who is even remotely interested in fighting games should pick this up. The online play is some of the most fun I've had with any DS game to this point.

Cruxis27
Cruxis27

Bleach DS 2nd > Bleach DS

UrFaceIzDum
UrFaceIzDum

the four-way fighting looks to ridiculous and confusing, but one-on-one looks pretty promising only other complaint is that the music is pretty damn terrible

tonemd_basic
tonemd_basic

DS. Bah! Can't wait until someone rips the sprites for Mugen.

Andrew_D28
Andrew_D28

"Also, the comment about how it reminds them about the YYH game on Genesis - I believe this game runs on a modified version of that engine." I dunno about that, unless you wanna lend the same credentials to Guardian Heroes. The normal story mode and vs modes of GH on the Saturn worked the same way.

virtualotaku
virtualotaku

SPOILER ALERT! Kenpachi is extremely overpowered. (God-tier) Seriously. Everybody spams his teleport. -_-

HiNu
HiNu

Anyone who writes this game off as another crappy cash-in is sorely mistaken. Not to mention that the video here is HORRIBLE, nobody plays 4 player combat because it's a ridiculous spamfest. 1 on 1 is the meat of the game and is where you can truly find how deep the fighting system is. Also, the comment about how it reminds them about the YYH game on Genesis - I believe this game runs on a modified version of that engine.

Platyphyllum
Platyphyllum

Finally, the critically acclaimed Bleach for the DS is finally coming! Wooo! Hopefully Treasure finally gets the popularity it deserves for making some of the best games (with no one buying them unfortunately :() with Bleach: Blade of Fate!

V-Nine
V-Nine

.....needs to use the Dynasty warriors engine and put on a console or use the Guilty Gear engine and be a fighting game.

lbjkurono23
lbjkurono23

Since this game has wi fi, Ill'be able to play with some of you guys

ShoryuReppa12
ShoryuReppa12

this game is so fun you guys should get the jap version because they might change characters because of the American dubbed

Jubei50
Jubei50

i've been interested in bleach for a while now,i'll definitely cop a ds for this game

acekicka
acekicka

This needs to be on PS3 or 360 or at least PSN and XBLA...

megamanzero32
megamanzero32

Bleach.......ftw Im buying this!! I've been waiting for this, for quite a while. Ugh.....I just have to get my damn DS to connect online though.....stupid Nintendo.....and their online setup.

Luigi_Vincetana
Luigi_Vincetana

I'd so be excited for this if I didn't import the game a year ago :P.

killerwaffles
killerwaffles

From watching the video, I can see myself buying this and playing entirely with the sound off.

Heir_of_Isildur
Heir_of_Isildur

I've got the Japanese import....and I have got to say that it's awesome! You can play up to 4 player vs. with only one card it rules.

DrCLos
DrCLos

I hear this game is pretty good except for the card system. I forget why though.

MARUI
MARUI

why dont they release the bleach:heat the soul series on the psp? *sigh* now those games kick ass

anrke99
anrke99

I love Bleach, and I can't wait to play this game.

Sunrie
Sunrie

The videos make the game look horrid. Just have to wait and see

LJGPliskin
LJGPliskin

I have the Import version of this game lol, Bleach: souten ni kakeru unmei

Pfilosophy
Pfilosophy

Bleach fan or not, this game is sick as hell and a lot of fun. Think Guilty Gear Isuka but without the turn button. The only thing that would've made it better for me would be having it in English, so I'm so psyched to pick it up again.

link631
link631

nice i have the first one

1aRmAnDo1
1aRmAnDo1

I'm thinking about getting this game.