[PSP - JAP] Bleach Heat the Soul 5 [TNTVillage.scambioetico.org]
The Bleach anime is one of the most popular anime series available in not only Japan, but North America as well. With over 180 episodes available (and counting) in Japan right now, the series remains far from over. In Japan, Bleach games are widespread all over each console, and are quite popular for the gaming fans in that region. However, with the lack of the games being localized for North America and Europe, this leads quite a few fans of not only the anime series, but the video game fighting genre itself. The truth of the matter is, they don't know what they are missing.
(NOTE: Fans of the series who are not close to being up-to-date with the Japanese storyline should skip reading this paragraph, if they wish to avoid storyline spoilers.) Bleach Heat the Soul 5 picks up in the story where the Japanese anime storyline was previously at, which is where Ichigo and friends invade Hueco Mundo. This game mainly focuses on the fights Ichigo, Ishida, Rukia, Renji, and Sado face in their journey to try and save Orihime. The great thing is that because each fight they encounter in Hueco Mundo is covered in this game, there is finally a diverse selection of characters. There is almost an equal amount of heroes and villains to play with. The game goes as far as Ichigo's epic fight with Grimmjow, where Ichigo finally comes out on top in their battles.
Chances are, fans of the series have already played through some of the older Bleach HTS games, more specifically the fourth installment. Fans will remember that HTS4 had quite a large selection of both characters. The character selection screen on this game makes it seem that there is a limited choice of characters available, however unlike it's predecessors HTS5 has combined characters together, in that shikai Ichigo and bankai Ichigo are now only one selectable character. They accomplish this by introducing a new transformation technique in the game.
The transformation technique allows the player to start as the character would normally be; for example Ichigo starting in his shikai, as well as the other shinigami, and then transform into the character's bankai (in cases of non-shinigami characters, the next level of a power increase) by pressing the L + R buttons when the character has gathered two full bars of spirit. The downside of this new system is that, in the actual anime / manga series, when the character becomes too weak to move or fight, they automatically lose their bankai. These physics are not present in the game, however when in the heat of battle... it doesn't really matter.
The transformation technique is not the only new implementation of new gameplay features to this franchise. Another addition to Bleach HTS5 is tag team battles. Now, players have the opportunity to have a partner at their side to face off against two other characters or players. When in this mode, there will be a bar for each team on the bottom of the screen that signals when a player can either in his or her partner, or call the partner for help. The bar gradually fills up by itself, although very slowly. There is a speed increase if the character is either at a clear disadvantage. Beyond that, the meter only fills up faster when the character either attacks or is attacked. When the meter is full, however, there are two options as noted previously. The first option is to tag the partner in (L button), which gives the player control over that character. The second option is to call the partner for support (R button). These support actions are different for each character, as far as the move performed itself, however the only support a player gets is the partner briefly attacks the other character, gives the enemy some type of stat decrease, or gives the player some type of stat increase. These stat increases include life regeneration, spirit regeneration, attack strength increase, amongst many others.
Following the tag team battles addition, there comes a time in the battle where the tag meter fills up and then rings, followed by a glowing animation around the end of the tag meter. When this occurs, the player can press the L + R buttons together to initiate a shortly timed sequence where they have infinite tag capabilities. However, there is also the option of performing a team finishing move, which is done by simply pressing the square and "X" buttons simultaneously when close to your opponent. This will either cause the characters to each do their own unique special move, or instigate the team's special move. Some tag teams will have special moves together that have cutscene sequences. For a full list of these team special moves, refer to the Cheats and Extra info section.
In comparison to other games of this franchise, HTS5 offers a rather short Story Mode, which is also quite simple. It offers no real challenge, and the cutscene sequences are rather boring to watch this time around. However, fans will recognize this has been a trend since HTS3, which offered actual clips from the anime itself. Beyond the Story Mode, the game actually starts to get more involving. Single and Tag battles both have their own modes, as well as one unique mode for each. The unique mode for Tag battles is called Tag Master, where the character has to create a tag team and enter a realm of fighting against other tag teams, before reaching the last tag team for that series. The last tag team will have the infinite tag capabilities option mentioned above, but for the entire battle, meaning that they can perform their special move at any time during the fight. This is a great way to discover the main tag teams who have special moves together. This system works similar to the Arcade mode of any fighting game.
Meanwhile, the unique mode for the Single battle mode is the 100 Round Survival mode. In this feature, the player picks a character of his or her choice, followed by an enemy of his or her choice. The object is to survive and defeat the enemy 100 times in a row. The battle is constant, thus there is no loading or breaking in the battle. Do not be too nerve wrecked, though, as it is rather simple to kill off the enemy for the first 20 rounds, at least. Skilled players can make it to 50, no problem, meanwhile people still learning the game may find themselves ranging from 30-40.
Overall, Bleach Heat the Soul 5 is quite an enjoyable game for fans of the series, or even of the genre. While the game has only been released in Japan, with no plans of localizing, the game would have to be imported. Whether or not if it's worth it is entirely subjective, of course. But even as a big fan of the series, and of the HTS franchise, a simple note that the game can be enjoyed more at a price cut is in order. The game can be rather addicting at times, but it doesn't take much to unlock all of the essentials. And once the player hits that point, there's nothing left except doing the same things over again, or hoping a nearby friend picks up a copy of the game as well to do some multiplayer.