Bleach is one of the most popular anime/manga series in the western world to come out of Japan. It has a huge fan base, drawn in by a deep and rich universe. There are a number of notable titles using the Bleach license on Nintendo DS, Playstation, iOS, and Android. Bleach Online is a 2D, free-to-play, browser-based MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) set within the Bleach universe.
You’ll play as one of six pre-made characters utilizing one of three combat techniques: Ghost Sword, Spirit Blade, or Kido. You will meet and fight alongside or against many of the popular characters from the anime show, including Ichigo Kurosaki. Together with their aid, you will carve your own story. Who are you going to be? Let’s find out…
The basic story of Bleach Online is that you’ve been awoken after a 1000 year sleep and are to investigate the Earth world. The rest of the story is filled in as you play. Fans of the show will obviously pay more attention to the story and may want to get more involved than a casual gamer would. There are some translation issues on the text, but on the whole it is understandable and a fun story to enjoy while playing.
You will first choose a male or female character from one of the set schools of combat and then customize your appearance ever so slightly. There aren’t too many customization options here so just go with what you like the look of!
The game will mostly consistent of of talking to NPCs (Non-playable Characters) and accepting quests from them that involve you fighting another character or a boss. Don’t despair though, as this is the usual make-up of most MMORPGs. Though most of them have larger realms to explore than is to be found in this game, you also have to remember that this is a free-to-play title so is a little bit smaller than other online worlds.
There is plenty for you to do, and you will unlock more content and game modes as you level up! The main emphasis of the game is on the single-player quests, as these are your bread and butter to earning experience points. There are PvP (Player versus Player) elements that also come with their own benefits to aid in your progression, such as enslaving those that you beat in the Arena! Doing this will have them work for you to earn you more experience points. How cool is that?
The progression of the quests will see you encountering many of the show’s famous heroes and villains. You will partner up with some of them on the more critical quests when the enemy is really tough! Most of the quests will be solo, with you and your followers taking on a random assortment of enemies. You will, at a later date, have to choose whether you wish to be an Arrancer or a Quincey. The story progression remains much the same, but some of the references will change based upon your decision. So choose wisely!
The battles are beautiful to watch. You have a little bit of control over the outcome through your equipment and selected abilities, but the game will take care of everything else. The system is fully automated, so you cannot do anything in the battle except watch. Whilst this may be a negative point for some people, it does allow you to fully appreciate the special effects and the similarity of the moves when compared to the anime show.
The more advanced your items are and the higher your character’s level, the faster the fights will be. Some fights will require some technique and equipment swaps for you to be more efficient, so you do have some input there. Equipment makes a huge difference, so you will want to make use of Soul Stones and other usable items that will advance your character stats, abilities, and chances of surviving!
GRAPHICS & SOUND
The 2D graphics are pretty decent, with a lot of attention paid to the special effects. Colors are as vivid and bright as you would expect from a Bleach game. The game’s user interface is quite cluttered, but a lot of what you see on-screen can be minimized and removed from view. This opens up the window a lot more with a more “cinematic” view of the game.
There is a full screen mode available, but it doesn’t expand the viewable area. It just adds a larger black boarder around the playable area and removes the window from view. You’ll want to use the full screen mode if you don’t want the extra distractions that come with a windowed view. Personally, I find it hard to concentrate if I know I can open another window and procrastinate a little in-between fights!
For more screenshots, click here.
Let’s get this bit straight immediately. I have never seen so many different rewards systems and enhancement features in a game as there are in Bleach Online. The sheer number of them can be quite daunting at first, but the quasi-tutorial takes you through the basics one by one, so you won’t be too overwhelmed if you take it slowly and learn each feature one at a time. Some of the more unconventional ones can be explored by yourself, or will require you to buy some Gold (premium currency) before you can use them.
There is a lot of content within Bleach Online that does require Gold to be spent in order to access it, such as better equipment. You can get by without spending any money, but if you want to win in the Arena and have the best of everything you will need to be prepared to part with some real money.
Among the many features available, there are plenty of ways to upgrade your items, level up companions, increase your battle proficiency, and even a bikini mini-game. I’ll leave that last one for you to discover for yourself!
As a free-to-play title Bleach Online has far more content than you would expect. Sure, some of it is gated and will require a real money purchase, but the bulk of what’s on offer is free. The game has a certain charm to it that may appeal to people who may have never heard of Bleach — though if you haven’t, I have to ask where you’ve been for the past few years?!
Bleach Online is incredibly simple to get into, as the basic elements of the game don’t require that much skill. You can easily get by knowing the bare minimum. The rest of the more adventurous content is introduced slowly and at a pace that anyone would be comfortable with. The developers have clearly marketed the game to teenagers as their core demographic, but even if you’re in your twenties, or even thirties and beyond – there is plenty you can enjoy here.
Bleach Online is free to play.