Review: Bleach: Shattered Blade

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Platform: Wii
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Polygon Magic
Release Date: 10/9/07
Genre: Fighting
Players: 1-2

Even though I’m not much into anime, Sega’s Wii and DS duo of Bleach games piqued my interest given both platforms’ lack of a truly stellar fighting game. While The Blade of Fate came through and delivered a genre-defining experience on the DS (I’ll squeeze in a review for it soon if I can), Shattered Blade is a tremendous disappointment, no matter your allegiance to the anime. What’s so disappointing about it, you ask? Sadly, just about everything.

At first play, Shattered Blade appears to have it all. There are plenty of modes (Episode, Arcade, Versus and Training), characters (32, all voiced by the real anime voice actors), arenas and bonus content to take in, the gameplay is super quick, and the cel-shaded graphics are quite colorful and attractive, especially the characters, animations and special effects (the fighting venues are rather bland comparatively though). But after playing only a match or two the realization instantly sets in that all this flash is wasted on a fighting engine that is devoid of any depth, strategy or finesse, whether playing against the easy AI or a buddy.

Combat in Shattered Blade all revolves around three basic gestures with the Wii Remote. While using the Nunchuk analog stick to move around the 3D environments, you thrust forward, swing left or right, or chop up and down with the remote to perform similar attacks against the opponent, adding simultaneous holds of the A or B buttons with attack gestures to unleash unblockable critical strikes and special abilities respectively. You can also shake the Nunchuk to build up power to enter Bankai mode in which your fighter becomes more powerful for a short time and gains access to screen-filling special attacks. But with so few attack motions, fights boil down to you standing in front of the screen waggling the controller to and fro until victory is achieved – it’s the equivalent of extreme button mashing, only even MORE shallow and repetitive since every single character controls exactly the same. A counter system and this kinda cool sword clashing rock-paper-scissors mini-game attempt to add some depth, but ultimately neither succeed.

Another letdown is the Episode story mode, in that there really isn’t much story to see, unless you consider lame dialog and a few still-image “cut scenes” slapped in between a series of short 1-round fights compelling storytelling design. That said, playing through Episode mode as thoroughly as possible does unveil characters that haven’t made appearances in the show yet, including one all-new character that was created exclusively for the game, so watchers of the anime may get a kick out of this enough to rent, but that’s about it.

Shattered Blade is a mess, plain and simple. Bleach fans may be able to overlook some of the issues to enjoy the bonus content, authentic production values and light story content for a brief, fleeting moment, but I have a feeling even the most diehard of Bleach supporters will be more disappointed with this effort than the average gamer simply looking for a solid Wii fighting game (which this most certainly is not). Either way you slice it, Shattered Blade is a weak, painfully shallow fighter that I’d suggest steering clear of. Don’t get too bummed though Bleach fans, as the DS’ The Blade of Fate is fantastic, so do yourself a favor and go pick that up and forget all about the Wii version.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!