Important Importables: All about Bleach: Heat the Soul

May 29, 2010 - 2:00 am No Comments

Hot Japanese Imports: All about Bleach: Heat the Soul

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, Japanese Imports, Lists, Handhelds, PSP & PSPgo, Game-Companies, Developers, Publishers, Genres, 2D, 3D, Fighting

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One of the best series, and most prolific, PSP fighting games in Japan happens to be 8ing and Sony’s Bleach: Heat the Soul. As you can guess, they’re all based on Tite Kubo’s world famous Bleach manga and anime series. There have been six entries released so far with a seventh on the way.

Unfortunately, none of the Bleach: Heat the Soul games have been released outside of Japan. All of the entries are fighting games though, and very import friendly. If you don’t mind searching online, or have a Japanese PlayStation Store account, you can even download demos for some of the games. Plus, they all tend to be released in a cheaper greatest hit version within a year or so of being released.

With so many games, it can be difficult to determine which would be right for you. So let’s take a brief look at what’s special about each of the already available entries.

Bleach: Heat the Soul
Bleach Heat the Soul

Bleach: Heat the Soul is the first entry, and isn’t even a contender when compared to the more recent iterations. Yes, it has great voice acting and covers the beginning of the series, but it also only has six playable fighters: Ichigo, Rukia, Renji, Uryu, Orihime and Chad. There’s also only one storyline, not unique ones for each character. It was released in March, 2005.

Bleach: Heat the Soul 2Bleach Heat the Soul 2

Bleach: Heat the Soul 2 is a definite improvement over the first entry. The number of playable characters doubled (technically – there are two versions of Ichigo), and each character has his or her own storyline in the story mode. As for the story, it should seem familiar to North American Bleach fans, as it covers the storyline where Ichigo and his friends go to the Soul Society to rescue Rukia. The six characters from the first entry are joined by Byakuya, Urahara, Yoruichi, Hitsugaya and Gin. It was also released in September, 2005, six months after the original Heat the Soul.

Bleach: Heat the Soul 3
Bleach Heat the Soul 3

Bleach: Heat the Soul 3 is where a potential buyer’s decision starts getting tricky. The story mode continues from where Heat the Soul 2 left off in Soul Society, and goes until the very beginning of the appearance of the Arrancars. It has a massive character roster, with 34 different fighters, and has two unique modes that are the selling points: Soul Road and Karakura Heroes. In Soul Road you pick a fighter and partner character, and go around fighting to try and unlock extra characters and costumes. In Karakura Heroes you go through a whimsical new storyline designed just for Heat the Soul 3. It was released just about a year after Heat the Soul 2, in July, 2006.

Bleach: Heat the Soul 4Bleach Heat the Soul 4

Bleach: Heat the Soul 4 is a decent entry in the series, but personally I’d pick Heat the Soul 3 over it. It has an even larger character roster, with 51 characters appearing. It’s story mode also covers from the beginning of the Arrancar arc, where Heat the Soul 3 left off, to Ichigo and crew heading into Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime. It’s defining mode is the Character Master mission-style mode, where you pick a character and must complete battles while following set instructions to earn points to unlock costumes and other little extras. Again, it came out a year after the previous entry, in May, 2007.

Bleach Heat the Soul 5
Bleach Heat the Soul 5

Bleach: Heat the Soul 5 is sort of like Heat the Soul 4, in that I would probably recommend 3 or 6 over it. It isn’t that Heat the Soul 5 isn’t cool, just that other entries are better. Its Story mode continues the adventures in Hueco Mundo, but doesn’t really have any major resolutions to the whole “Rescue Orihime” mission. It does introduce a Tag Battle mode and tag teams, where two characters work together to fight, allowing you to switch off or unleash special team moves. Sadly, the character roster does take a bit of a hit – there are only 32 characters to choose from.

Bleach: Heat the Soul 6
Bleach Heat the Soul 6

Bleach: Heat the Soul 6 is the latest, and quite possibly best entry in the series to date. It has the tag team feature introduced in Heat the Soul 5, a story mode that covers the entire Bleach storyline up until the Hueco Mundo arc, 74 characters (though many are different versions of the same character) and introduces a Championship tournament mode. The best version for Heat the Soul 6 hasn’t been released yet, but many online stores are taking preorders. The game originally came out in May, 2009.

To wrap things up, here’s the best way to choose among the Heat the Soul games:

  • If you want interesting extra modes: You may want to go with Bleach: Heat the Soul 3.
  • If you want lots of characters: Go with Bleach: Heat the Soul 6.
  • If you want a comprehensive story mode that follows the series: Bleach: Heat the Soul 6 is the one for you.
  • If you like collecting extra costumes/characters/etc: It’s either Bleach: Heat the Soul 3 or 4.
  • If you like tag-team battles: I’d say pick Bleach: Heat the Soul 6 or 5.
  • If you want the newest game out there: Wait for Bleach: Heat the Soul 7.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Hot Japanese Imports reviews Clover by CLAMP.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Hot Japanese Imports was all about the Wonderswan.

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