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Bleach: Soul Resurrección: Spirit Huntin'
Company: NIS America

I don't follow the series the way I used to, but I still consider myself a Bleach fan. For me it is a comfortable series; I love the mythos and know whenever I see an episode - no matter the episode arc - I'll have a fun time with the series.

Unfortunately, as a game series, the feeling is completely different. Previous games, or at least the few that made their way to North America, were pretty good, but I have a massive aversion towards fighting games. Bleach: Soul Resurrección is different. Unlike other releases, it isn't a fighting game. Instead, it pulls inspiration from the Dynasty Warriors series. Coming off a Dynasty Warriors-related review, I wasn't stoked for the idea but, once again, Soul Resurrección is different.

I've said it before and I'm sure this won't be the last time, but advances in cel-shading technology and techniques have had a massive impact on anime-inspired games. Soul Resurrección is as close as any game has come to matching its source material. The visuals are spot on, but the game goes to extra lengths to make sure the battles feel like something from the show. It starts with a slick level fade-in and just keeps going. Characters and moves look like they do in the show... it is stuff fans dream of when it comes to anime-inspired games (well, that and original Japanese voices). The most striking aspect, however, is the camera system.

If you were to ask me the one feature the Dynasty Warriors series needs the most, it is a lock-on system. There's always been something of a loose system in place, but Soul Resurrección nails it. With a tap of a button, you'll lock on to the nearest enemy. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but here is where it gets cool. As you zoom around the screen, quickly moving between groups of enemies, the camera will pull out, offering a playable, yet incredibly dramatic angle.

It is a simple angle change, but is one of the coolest parts of the game, especially when facing down giant enemies. Combat is incredibly fast. You have an unlimited dash gauge, which is great for quick escapes and cutting down on travel time across levels, but it also allows you to "fly" towards enemies to pull of the sort of acrobatic air battles you'd expect to see in the series. Characters dash, zip and zoom all over the place - it is a lot of fun!

Battles are over quickly, though they aren't mere hack fests, at least not on higher difficulty levels. I was able to blast through the first few levels with little trouble, so I felt confident jumping to "Hard." Some battles are easy, though there's an added level of strategy when facing certain enemies. Soul Resurrección features numerous characters from the series, and each has their own move sets. Even characters with similar fighting styles in the show require a different approach. Figuring out moves isn't hard, though knowing when to use them requires a little more thought, at least when compared to this style of game.

Characters gain experience after battles. Between levels, you can spend points on new abilities, which are laid out on a interconnected grid system similar to the Sphere Grid in Final Fantasy X. Abilities, such as passive health upgrades, are linked together. In order to access one, you need to access another. I'm still playing around with the system, though I like having options when determining how I want to grow my characters.

Bleach: Soul Resurrección has already captured a lot of my playtime, and that's only a part of the bigger picture. Bleach fans have a lot to look forward to this August.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker
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