With the rise in popularity of Japanese anime such as Gundam and Naruto, it is no suprise that these franchises has expanded to include online games. One such franchise is Bleach.
Bleach Online is a free browser based game and is currently carried by GoGames.me. Unlike other anime-based games which tend to follow the anime/manga storyline, this game is a role playing game (RPG) and relies more on creating your own character and story in the Bleach universe. Your character starts of as a soul reaper that has been asleep for a 1000 years and you are now just waking up finding the world as it is.
As most browser games, it really encourages you to get to sign up quickly so you can start playing the game sooner. Once ready, you can click the “Start Game” button and you can immediately jump into action.
Customization can be very limited as you are only able to really select between male and female characters and 3 class types (the ghost blade, spirit blade, and kido), for a total of 6 characters that can be made at start up. If you’re not very familiar with the classes, there’s a tooltip that will pop up as soon as you hover your mouse pointer which will give you more details.
Once you have selected a character class and gender, you will be asked to name your character. You can either use the random name generator by clicking on the dice button or you can come up with your own unique name. Mind you that this is the only customization that you will have for this game. Once you are done just simply click on the START button at the bottom and you are ready to go.
Once in game, you are immediately told that you have been asleep for 1000 years and you are now thrust into the story. Of course, since you’ve been asleep all this time, your character will be at level 1. Once you go through some questions (including one that asks you who is the author of Bleach) you will be brought to Yamamoto Genryusai Shige. However, as the pop up appears, you’ll notice that there is a translation/clerical error as it states that you’ve only been asleep for 100 years.
He will have your first task, so you will need to accept the first task so that you can start learning more about the game. This is where we realize that your character cannot remember who he is or where he is from. And with that you complete your first task and get some experience from it.
Problems from the start
The game’s graphic user interface leaves a lot to be desired. The GUI is very cluttered, there are so many buttons and there are too many things on the screen that shine and shimmer that if you had ADHD you’d have a hard time focusing on any of the windows.
The one good thing though about the game’s quest (or as its called in game "task") system is that it allows you to auto-run towards the taskmaster instead of you wandering aimlessly not really sure of where to go. You will then get to talk to Jushiro Ukitake, who tells you a little bit more about yourself, but at this point, all this information is kind of useless as not much is really being revealed. However, as you continue on your first few tasks, you will be asked to roam around so that you can remember more about yourself.
You will then see a glimpse of the world map where you see the first boss that you will encounter. It happens to be Aizen. For those who’ve actually watched or read Bleach, you’ll know who he is. You are encouraged by the others to join the battle against him so that you can try regaining more of your memory.
Once in battle, there isn’t much you can do but watch the fight. Just like the games, Naruto Online and Gundam Online, there isn’t much in the way you fight your foes. You level up your character and get him, or her items and bonuses and then throw them into battle and see how they fair in the fight. There’s not much involvement in the battle itself as you don’t have control on how to move your characters or what your character would do in response to monster attacks.
Another thing that kind of confused me are the items. It’s not clearly explained what the items you are getting are or what are they're used for. There doesn’t seem to be much in the explanation on what is happening in game except that you are following tasks. Tasks tend to be very linear so you really don’t get to explore and find out anything until the game tells you it’s time to find out. Much bigger games like Final Fantasy have had sequels with the same problem and people did not forget.
Graphics in the game feels like something lifted off an old school 2D fighting game like Street Fighter or Marvel vs Capcom probably because of the anime-style art used ingame. This works well with Bleach fans but not so much for those who have never picked up the anime or manga. Movement in game tends to be smooth with minimal graphic lags except at points where there are many people converging.
I think the music and sound effects though make up for a lot of the shortcomings I see for this game. While in the “main city” you will hear piano instrumental playing in the background while you might hear Japanese Rock when in battle, which does add to the flavour and ambiance of the game.
The game itself is pretty good for a standard anime-based game and will definitely have its following. This game definitely is for a niche market. Which isn't entirely a good or bad thing. It won't be for everyone but there will be many who love it. Where will you fall in that? Only time will tell.