A shining example of a fighter on a handheld system

Jul 29, 2011 (Updated Aug 9, 2011)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Huge cast of characters, Good voice acting, Fun gameplay, Awesome theme song

Cons:Some characters just stink, Things can get confusing in 4-player fights

The Bottom Line: A definite must-buy for fans of the anime, and highly suggested for fighting-game fans. It's a very good game.

To be honest, when I heard of the concept of a fighting game on the Nintendo DS, I was more than a little skeptical. But being a fan of the anime series Bleach, I decided to give Bleach: Dark Souls a shot. Little did I know the amazingness that would follow.

The game has 4 main modes. Story mode (play main story), Arcade mode (Fight 6 characters in a row), Versus mode (Fight between 2-4 players), and Training mode (Self-explanatory). There is also the Deck Construction mode (Select cards for your Spirit Deck. More on that later), the Urahara shop (Buy new costumes, cards, Reiju, and voices), the Gallery (View characters and music), and the Options menu (Set difficulty, wallpaper, system voice, erase data, etc.).

The Story mode for the game involves Hollows attacking the Soul Society. Each mission requires you to use a specific character and has specific victory conditions. Sometimes you just have to fight someone, sometimes you have to kill poison moths, sometimes you have to compete in a jumping contest (Wait...what?).

Arcade mode has you select a character and fight 6 rounds in either one-on-one or tag matches. You are scored at the end based on your performance.

Versus mode allows you to have a fight between 2-4 characters in a single round match. You can either fight against AI-controlled opponents or against other players via Wi-Fi or DS Wireless Connection.

Training mode is just what it says on the tin, training. You select a character and an opponent and practice your character's commands. I highly recommend using this mode every time you unlock a new character to get a feel for them.

The combat system in the game is quite well-done. The main fighting controls use the Control pad and buttons, but the touch screen can be used to more easily use special moves (Rather than using button combinations) and to use Spirit Cards.

Now what are Spirit Cards, you may ask? Well, they are cards that you activate from the touch screen to affect the battle. You select which spirit cards go in your Spirit deck with the Deck Construction mode. Spirit Cards each have different effects effects depending on the card. Some cards power you up, some weaken the opponent, and some have completely adverse effects on other aspects of the battle.

The spirit deck also has slots for Reiju. Reiju are stones that enhance your stats. Reiju is equipped by fitting it in a grid. Different types of Reiju enhance different types of stats, but you probably already guessed that, didn't you?

The cast of characters is MASSIVE. It includes major players from the Bleach universe (Such as Ichigo Kurosaki, Rukia Kuchiki, and Sosuke Aizen), many secondary characters (Such as Rangiku Matsumoto, Kenpachi Zaraki, and Toshiro Hitsugaya), and even some lesser-known characters (Such as Kukaku Shiba, Don Kanon'ji, and Tatsuki Ayagesawa). The voice acting for the characters is very good quality, at least in my opinion.

Most characters are very well designed. Some were much better than expected (I was blown away by Kukaku's effeciency), while others are just terrible (Yuichi Shibata is reserved only for those who enjoy losing...a lot).

The game as a whole is fun, and with a large selection of characters to use, chances are everyone will be able to find a favorite. In short, this game is the standard other handheld fighters should be judged on, because despite it's faults, it never becomes a chore and is always good to pick up and play.

This is Aura Master Fox signing off, telling you not to use Shibata. Ever.

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