Before we begin this review, I am probably obliged to tell you that I am a Bleach fan and have been one since before they started broadcasting it on Adult Swim. That said, Bleach: Shattered Blade is a game that's really only for the fan base, and outside of Bleach fans, it's just another average fighting game from an anime franchise.
The game features 32 characters from the series, including the game-exclusive character of Arturo Plateado, a Hollow who was sealed away by Soul Society some 2,000 years ago, but has now been freed. If you understand what I just said, you're probably a Bleach fan.
As for game modes, Bleach: Shattered Blade has a few. There's a story-driven Episode Mode that features storylines exclusive to the game, as well as an Arcade Mode that lets you fight against eight different opponents, a Training Mode, and of course, a Versus Mode. There's also a Gallery where you can view artwork and listen to character voices, and a shop where you can go to unlock new items, though most of the items, including other characters, are unlocked by going through the game's different modes.
The game's basic game play is a simple fighting game style where you try to beat the stuffing out of your opponent. Every time you land a hit or get smacked around, your Bankai meter (stamina bar) charges up, and when you fill it completely, you enter a sort of hyper-mode in which you're practically invincible. You can survive an opponent who's in this form, but really, once you get a full meter first, you're pretty much going to win the round. In all honesty, it's standard fighting game play with a Bleach shell over it.
Shattered Blade utilizes the Wii remote and nunchuk attachment to battle, with the nunchuk handling movement and the Wii remote handling attacks. The good news is that the game handles well in movement and that the attacks can be done easily with the press of a button and a movement of the Wii remote. The only bad news is that these Wii remote movements are way, way too simple, and that you can win pretty much by blocking at the right time and waggling your controller about. The only saving grace is that there's a stamina bar that keeps you from constantly attacking and tries to put some more strategy into the title, but in the end, it doesn't make a difference. There was a lot more potential with this kind of control set-up, but it seems to have been squandered.