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Bleach: Wii Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku
Writen by Kaitou Ace
Posted on March 16, 2007 at 04:03:31 pm

Bleach: Wii Shiraha Kirameku Rinbukyoku / Bleach Wii 白刃きらめく輪舞曲

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game coverBleach Wii, is a unique fighting game based on the rather popular Bleach anime & manga series. I believe it is the only fighter of this nature right now, and is certainly the first to incorporate sword slashes via the wii-mote in a two player figher. It is also a sequel to a GameCube title. Neither of these games have been released in the US, and I am not sure if they will be, so at this time it is an import only title, and you either need to have a modchip (I think only one currently allows you to play imports) in your wii, or have a Japanese wii to be able to play it. The single player mode is fairly basic, with character-centered episodes, and an arcade mode. Most of the fun in this game, as it is in most fighters, is the two player vs mode.




 The Main Game Menu. Every option is subtitled with English to assist importers.  The Starting roster of characters. This gets a lot bigger quickly


Controls & Gameplay


The game is entirely controlled with the wii-mote and the nunchuck addon, and you canít use the classic controller or a GC controller.

You have three gauges for your character. One is the standard health bar, and another, on the bottom of the screen is your reiatsu (energy, charka, etc) which grows as you take damage, or attack your opponent. In addition to this, there is a small bar underneath your health, which goes down as you attack, and goes up as you defend, or strategically retreat. Once it runs out, you can no longer attack, and you need to wait a bit for it to restore. This can work really well with most characters, and it gives you incentive not to swing the wii-mote around like a madman.

Hitsugaya-taichou vs Komamura-taichou
Ichigo vs Matsumoto

You run around by using the joystick on the nunchuck, and you can run faster by holding the Z button, or block with C. Also, if you shake the nunchuck you will charge your reiatsu.

You have three basic attacks done by swinging the wii-mote, a stab, a horizontal strike, and a vertical strike. Then you can augment the attacks by holding down the A button, which makes them a bit stronger, and a bit slower.

Another interesting gameplay dynamic is that if you both hit at the same time, it enters a sort of rock-paper-scissors mini game, where both characters strike each other non-stop, and you have to do one of the attack swings when the timer hits green. This goes on five times, and whoever wins the most rounds does the finishing attack, and deals some decent damage. The formula seems to be horizontal slash > thrust >vertical slash > horizontal slash.

Once your reiatsu is fully charged, you can shake the nunchuck again to activate bankai mode. If you havenít watched bleach, bankai is what some shinigami can do to greatly increase their power. Their sword usually reveals its true shape, and their attacks become much more powerfull. In the game, characters that donít actually have a bankai (Yumichika, Orihime, Rukia, etc) instead just use their shikai (first release) attacks on a higher power level. When a character in game enters bankai mode, the stage transforms also, into a desolate field, with broken boulders and lightning strikes in the background. All of your attacks are improved, and one of the B button + swing combinations becomes a cinematic attack for rather great damage. While in bankai your reiatsu keeps running out, but it is possible to do two cinematic attacks on a single bankai charge.

  Hihou Zabimaru! Daiguren Hyourinmaru!

You can also combo in the general game by chaining several wii-mote swings together, usually ending with an A + swing or a B + swing, but it is very hard to do combos in this game because of the control system. Wii-motes arenít fully Ďreal-timeí and there is a bit of a delay to the moves. Also, you canít go from swing to swing, as if you were using a sword, you have to make a motion, stop, then make another motion, which is very counter-intuitive, so in my experience most battles end up being a bunch of single strokes. You also can play without actually moving your hands much, just by using your wrist to make the proper motions with the wii-mote. This isnít quite as much fun tho.

While most of the characters do use swords, there is a number of characters who do not, such as Sado (Chad), Orihime, Ishida and Yorouichi. It takes a bit more to get used to fighting with them, as the attacks arenít quite as intuitive as the swings are for the sword moves. Ishida especially is a hard character to use, because he has no close range melee attacks at all, and has to spend his time either shooting arrows, or running away. He is stronger and more useful then he was in the GameCube game, but I wouldnít play much with him.



 Chire, Senbonzakura Kageyoshi!  Kokujou Tengen Myouou vs Hyourinmaru
(note the ice flowers over Hitsugaya's head,
they vanish one-by-one as the bankai time runs out.)


The game is cell shaded for the characters, so take that as what you will. It looks nice. Not X-box 360 nice, or PS3 nice, but better then GameCube, and nice, being based on an anime, there isnít much thatís necessary really to stimulate the style of the series. This sort of graphics combination really works well for the wii, as the graphics can be quite impressive, without straining the system. It especially shines in bankai mode, for the giant alien baby that is Mayuri-taichouís bankai, or the giant knight for Komamura-taichou. Unlike the GameCube game, the characters mouths do move when they speak now, which certainly helps. The voice talent from the series does the acting for the game as well, and the audio is fairly good.


Story & Gameplay Modes


You basically have two single player modes, an episode (i.e. story) mode, where you play a story line as a particular character, and then an arcade mode, where you go through a preset number of battles (9 I believe) gaining points for damage dealt.

For the episode mode, you start off with having four episodes unlocked: Kurosaki Ichigo, Abarai Renji, Zaraki Kenpachi, and Hitsugaya Toushiro. Each episode has anime panels between the fighting, and they all end in a battle with an Arrancar that was created just for this game, by the name of Arturo Plateado. The stories are fairly basic, but itís a fighting game, so there isnít that much depth to be expected anyway.  As you complete the episodes, you unlock episodes for other characters, such as Yorouichi, Kuchiki Byakuya, and Hanatarou.

Yes, Yamada Hanatarou. For those unfamiliar with the anime, Hanatarou is a shinigami from the 4th squad, which is the medical team of soul society. They arenít known for their fighting prowess, and in fact in the show, Hanatarou is without his sword most of the time, having forgotten it somewhere. In the game he is even more useless. All of his basic attacks will heal his enemy, his powerful attacks involve him spinning around, and making himself dizzy for a bit, or throwing himself head-first at the opponent, with both ending up on the ground. He is a joke character, and one of my gaming pet-peeves is being forced to play through missions as the joke character in order to unlock things. With his attacks being useless or nearly so, it makes even the easiest of foes extremely difficult, and it was playing his episode that frustrated me the most about the game. I have no problems with joke characters being in fighters, but they have no place in the story mode of the game.


Final Thoughts


 Orihime vs Shiba Ganjyu  Arturo Plateado, the new Arrancar, created by Sega with help from Kubo Tite


This is a fun enough of a game, but I would say itís a lot better if you have multiple people, then if you are playing it by yourself. Unlocking characters can get tedious of course, but the method for it is quite standard: pass episodes, pass the arcade mode with a character, or a few characters.

There are 32 characters in the game in total, and an additional 8 alt character modes (mostly shinigami in their gigai states) which is a decent increase from the GameCube game, which had 25 characters. They dropped Shiba Kaien from the roster, and there were two versions of Aizen in the GC game, and only one now. Also there are three Arrancar in the roster, with Grimmjaw and Ulquiorra making an appearance, in addition to Arturo.

This is not the type of fighter that a person can get Ďgoodí at though, by which I mean memorizing move combinations, mastering a character or characters, and so on. Combo-wise, the characters are about the same, and I canít imagine a skill-based tournament for this game, of the sort that are possible with say, the Naruto: Gekitou Ninja Taisen series. It takes a bit to force yourself to make only the wii-mote motions that the game recognizes, and your hand does get a bit tired after a few matches. Also while the concept is undoubtedly cool, it does seem to degenerate into rapid swinging matches fairly quickly.

That being said, itís a great Bleach game, and a lot of fun if you know the characters. In single-player mode, I can see getting bored with the game shortly after unlocking everyone, but it makes a really good party game, in part due to the lack of skill required to play it.

Overall, Iíd give this game a 6/10 if you are playing by yourself, or an 8/10 if you have other people you can  play against.



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