Bleach Online Review
5.5 Overall Score
Clean Manga graphical style and themes true to the original manga series
Small gameplay window, not enough explanation of lore, characters and the world
Bleach Online went into Open Beta a few days ago and we took a first look at this new MMORPG to see what it was all about and just exactly what it offered. This title, in case you don't know it, is based on the popular Japanese manga by the same name, which revolves around the adventures of a character known as Ichigo Kurosaki; high school student that is able to see ghosts.
The game is a free to play browser-based MMO and as soon as we logged in we were already in the game and the icons and flashing pop-ups scattered all across the screen pretty much indicated this was a Chinese/Japanese style MMORPG with lots of freebies, rewards and other elements almost synonymous with these types of MMO’s. The game jumped straight into the story where presumably we meet a lot of characters early on that are well known in the manga anime, unfortunately there is very little exposition or information on who these characters are mean the game is probably well geared towards fans of the series.
As with many MMO RPG’s of this type it is a very automated system using auto pathing to move between NPC’s and quest objectives and fully automated combat where the heroes in the party performed their skills and abilities without any player interaction. At the heart of the game players are responsible for building up their Battle Power, a value that is always a display to show you how strong you are in comparison to other players and NPC AI challenges. Raising your Battle Power is done by levelling up your hero and any companion party members that you discover as well as equipping them with weapons and gear and increasing your Soul through the Soul Map.
The game heavily focuses on showering players with gifts and rewards constantly for continued play, whether in the form of a daily login bonus, an extra bonus each time players level up (which doesn’t take that long), and item rewards each time a player wins battle, quest rewards, refresh rewards… the list goes on. Aside from that players can take advantage of the VIP function where they can earn extra XP by topping up and having access to better services and privileges such as the ability to purchase more vitality chances, discounts on spirits stones, auto win in taverns and many more shortcuts for the game.
The gameplay with games like this is always hit and miss, some players love them and some players loathe them, but whichever side of the fence you stand on his hard to deny that they have great appeal for many players and are extremely popular especially when the game is formed around an already successful IP. The developers seem to have stuck to the core of Bleach in so far as the same characters, story themes and even powers and abilities seen by heroes in the animated series are reflected in the game.
The graphics hold up quite well and loot like an animated manga with smooth movement as players manoeuvre around the maps or full animations in battle, they do however take an unexpected style twist in the Overland maps where the icons are represented as more chibi style characters (a bit of a stretch from manga). The biggest problem was the actual retail space on our screen wasn’t all that big even when expanded to full screen mode the game window still only sat in the middle and was crowned constantly with icons and pop-ups that really dominated the limited space available and felt a little bit crowded.
The major drawback aside from the window size was the story itself, which was completely uninspiring and confusing to anyone that isn’t already familiar with the Bleach franchise whereas someone who has never heard of the show most of the references that they made had absolutely no context and no doubt other players in my situation would feel exactly the same (though if it has been made and marketed specifically for fans of the show then it’s no doubt been done successfully).
Very soon we'll publish a profile of this game, so stay tuned if you wish to know more.