Game title: "Bleach: The Blade of Fate"
Platform: Nintendo DS
Rated: T for Teen
Score: 8 out of 10
"Bleach: The Blade of Fate," based on the popular anime and manga series, follows 15-year-old Ichigo Kurosaki, a spirit seer, on his quest to rescue Rukia Kuchiki, a fallen death god in human form, from the clutches of evil supernatural foes. While the first-person fighting game has been out in Japan for more than a year, Nintendo finally brought it to the United States earlier this month.
Gameplay: At first, the magnitude of the game options which includes either following a storyline or playing in arcade versus training or challenge mode can be a little overwhelming. And the array of push-button commands seems a bit much. But after working in the training mode for a while, the gamer will find that the controls are very intuitive and the light, medium and heavy attacks are easily executed. By using both the control buttons and the DS stylus, the game moves in an almost rapid-fire sequence, even in story mode, that keeps the gamer's attention.
There are 28 characters out of which gamers can choose to fight a certain battle.
The game also has wireless, multiplayer fighting capabilities for up to four gamers on a single game card or Wi-Fi connection.
The fights take place in two-dimensional arenas, but the gamers can jump back and forth from the foreground to background to chase, flee from or attack an opponent.
Graphics: Detailed art that rivals the manga on still shots and smooth movements that rival the anime are easy to look at. When the battles begin, the fighting is like watching Cartoon Network. And the responses to the controls have minimal lag time.Audio: Each of the 28 characters is voiced by the English-speaking voice actors from the anime. The sound effects from the simple clash of metal swords to the whoosh of power attacks add dimension to the game. Even the music isn't obtrusive and gives atmosphere to the storylines.
Once the gamer understands the basics of the fighting and storyline, the game play is wide open. And there are levels that can be unlocked as the battle skills rise.
Parent's take: This game is rated T for Teens because of cartoon fighting violence and mild language. And there's the fact that the game is based on a manga and anime that is written for teens, it would be appropriate for anyone older than 12.
Final word: Even those who are not fans of the "Bleach" manga or anime will find this game enjoyable, or at least interesting.