Bleach Las Noches Review â By Masterdan
The first thing you see when you log in are two sets of very well done Bleach title screens. It gives you a really strong first impression of the game and what your going to see. I see a screen for Skin|Hair, oddly Village is not present. You can tell Buster made this game! Its forgivable since out of all the hundreds of games that do this currently, Buster made the game that did it first. I still think however that character creation could be so much more and really showcase all the graphic work they have on one screen instead of going through input boxes that dont do icons justice. I noticed unlike the same system on most games, there was no preview of yourself. This upset me, some games have a nasty tendency of making Tan skin color east Indian or something, and all I want is to look healthy! So I do the old boring R G B entry which really isnt exciting but hey, I know what I like. 100 100 0, blonde hair. After being on byond so long you get to know your way around RGB values, but im sure a newcomer would be super upset to see these prompts. I find out that the name Masterdan is defective, im guessing because this server has very strict roleplaying rules, my name offends people. Fine! I continue on as MDanster and continue on to glorious victory. I fluked out! My character looks pretty decent, sweet. I was really starting to sweat bullets when I couldnt see a preview of myself, ill keep an eye open for some option to change up your appearance, but till then lets check out this game. Base icon is original, its pretty tiny compared to the buffed out Dragonball icons, and I can appreciate that. Id love for it to capture the bleach lanky legs thing but oh well. It looks pretty good! Theres some Rpgmaker graphics for like the bed and stuff, but this is definitely forgivable. Not only that but I think its kind of cool to start off in a residential house like this. They give you a shirt, pants and shoes at the beginning, when you try to wear them you get to pick the RGB values, I like this and I think its a neat way to get past the boring part of dressing your character up considering hey, these are just normal person clothes! Why should I have to go earn a pair of pants! Also it lets you shake the whole noob look right off the bat, no more walking around without a shirt, I now am a blonde guy with a red shirt and black shoes. Swish. I click the relations button in curiosity and I see that there are roleplay relations you can set to players! This is neat!! Set rival, set family member one, set girl friend etc. I do like roleplay and its something I dont get to do since I usually focus on PvP (and so do most games). Theres a storyline too, you can access it and it seems that this server has a good roleplay element to it.
Seems theres 3 major stats here, Power-Speed-Abillity. I figure I want to be a speed user with a minor interest in ability, I dont really know if this is GOOD or not, mind you. Im sure the oldbies all have a better idea of which things are worth buying, but im gonna stick to just roleplaying who I want to be. I figure those 3 stats represent bleach pretty darn well. However I get kind of stuck at the skill screen, theres no exit button, thats a little frustrating:
-(OOC)- MDanster: how do i get off the skill screen?
-(OOC)- Leon: Click the verb again
Crisis averted. Lets continue on. So I try to leave the bedroom that you start in and I get a:
You cannot leave this area until you use shadow sparring and hit each spar atleast once when it tells you!
Well I feel kind of stupid now, SOOORY, snooty little door. I dont really understand what this means yet, so I press the button. I do Shadowsparring, which is basically 2 verbs, shadowspar1 and shadowspar2 and it makes a graphic of a 1 or a 2 come up and you have to press the right verb. After doing it twice im allowed out of my room. The game flows pretty smooth, it asks me to eat food, so I go up to a table full of delicious looking food and I eat. Then I go up to a stump that looks rather interesting, and I initiate hit sequence which apparently means parts of it light up (left right bottom top) and you have to walk to face that part and press Hit. Its a pretty cool training method comparatively on byond, probably the best one if you dont like pure PvP or monster killing. So after doing this once it breaks out of the mode and congrats me on finishing the tutorial.
Your short tutorial is finished! It's now up to you to learn the rest using the forums and whatever guides the game's players may prove to be, don't be stupid! This is a roleplaying game and most actions require a legitamate Roleplaying reason, if you don't know how to roleplay or don't know what it is, look it up on the forums, roleplaying is fun when everyone does it, and this is going to strive to become more strict to enforce roleplaying rules.
So ill be honest, im not a very avid roleplayer. So I figure this might be hard to guage from now on, and people on BLN tell me that as soon as I mention im reviewing the game. It takes time to get into the roleplaying, to be accepted and to build up a character and stuff. Apon leaving the tutorial im told to get my little arse to school, which did me no good because I went right, and after missing class I find out it was in fact south. So whatever, theres no map and it doesnt tell you were to go and its kind of a piss off because apparently going to school gives you some sort of temporary level gain speed increase. Oh well, life goes on. Outside the graphics look pretty darn good! And the thing is when your on byond you dont expect to see original turfs, and they do the Urban look quite well. The only problem id say is the big tower buildings because the perspective is a little wonkey, but it could be just me.
Now my goal was to be a shinigami, because like most noobs im either going to want to be a shinigami and try for captain or Vaizard. Or ill go for being a hollow to become an arrancar and finally an espada. That is the dream for a bleach game participant. How to do this is not included in game, however it is made obvious that they make extensive use out of the FORUM, so you have to go there. Which is fine, forums are great for distributing information etc etc, it just kind of takes some form points away because its always kind of interesting when the game is self contained and you feel like your playing on the DS. This is serious nitpicking, so I read.
WE ARE NOW A RP GAME. That means you have to RP to get various roles, such as a full shinigami, or even to get Certified to get your Shikai. If you don't know how to rp, please refer to the guide on the forums This kind of scares me, but you know I can see how much good this would do. The problem of course is to people who speak other languages, people who want to play the game as a loner etc. You cant get your power ups, and I dont think the owners care. They dont want morons playing here, they dont want people who cant interact with you in an intelligent manner. This game is NOT for everybody and for the people who cant play by the rules, you cant get your Shikai which as you should know would doom you to being a complete freaking fodder shinigami for your entire life. So dont mess with the RP Gods. Now personally I have a completely different game philosophy, I like that players play the game, and the interact with each other but I prefer it when the game plays like a game! Where you dont depend on other people to continue on. This is the only time ill complain about this, theres lots of RP enforcement power gained by this move, I think it fits and it definitely allows the game to squeeze out more fun out of every little bit of content they have. I think if you intend on playing a game and really want to get into the community, this is how youll do it. It comes at a cost though, people who are in a silly mood or dont like to follow orders will definitely have a hard time, and I know that in the past when I tried to play the game I got turned off of it because I didnt have the attention span to bother going to the forum. To get to soul society to try to become a shinigami you need to either die (I hate when death is the easier way of accomplishing your goals, but it fits into bleach damnit) or you can talk to a shinigami NPC which arent that easy to find but ill go exploring.
I would like to note, that the community is Awesome/Ridiculous (depends on how you like your community):
-(Admin)- Goukei: ok i jerked at li,ke 9 once
-(Admin)- Goukei: 9 pm
-(OOC)- Shimory Kurane: I laugh at my mom cause shes poor.
So what can I say, Graphics are pretty good and the game hits at an audience that honestly has nothing else on byond these days. Roleplaying + Anime is something you never see done right, and the games that do it besides BLN are all ripped Swill typically. Now something that annoys me a lot, the cities look quite good and im sure they make wicked roleplay environments, however theres some houses you can enter but for the most part the doors dont open. There should always be some indication of which houses have interiors and which are decoration, instead its fairly arbitrary, as if the houses had intended to have interiors but never were finished. The combat is pretty good, the icons are fantastic for the skills, for a byond game its above what you come to expect. Theres no targeting system but a lot of the skills are controllable after you fire them while others simply are linear attacks. Regardless the combat works, and it fits the style of the game. Roleplaying games need to have skills that are evadable, linear attacks work wonders at this. Regardless its hard to evaluate much of the game such as the shikas as it seems this game requires a pretty substantial time commitment to get into. Ill definitely invest more time in it though, Just like I had wanted from the last game I reviewed, there was no choice of class at all. Instead you start off as a human and the choices you make from then on determine what you become. If you die you can end up a hollow, or a shinigami. Its a great system IF your in to that type of thing. If you dont like roleplaying and you dont like other people having authority then your going to get really pissed off playing here, so play something else. This is not a game that caters to ranks or to the players, the game caters to its core community and doesnt really wish to be overly mainstream. Roleplaying works better in small communities, BLN has the graphics and code to be a more mainstream bleach game, but it doesnt try to do that.
-Any stolen content? No, unless your going to scrutinize for the few RPGmaker items, there are very few and they do clash something fierce, I would recommend things like the bed at the beginning get redone because it really lowered my expectations when it was the first thing I saw.
-New Concepts? Im pretty sure BLN was the first popular Bleach game on BYOND, and im proud to say its still going strong, BLN is also a roleplaying game and the enforcement is made priority. If you really want to roleplay bleach, this game is going to scratch that itch.
Drawbacks: Character creation feels like WOTS/NBOTLS/Insert every other game on BYOND anime here, this is not the fault of the owner because I know it was his system in the first place. However its hurting in originality and it really is fairly weak functionality wise. Creating your character is supposed to be a really fun and important experience, without a preview of your character and without a more appropriate way of figuring out which hair you want and what color you want, it really lacked and didnt do justice to the array of well iconed choices you had. That being said, the base is great and animated well. (Also im not a huge fan of Verbs for everything, and its basically how 99% of byond games play, which is fine but its a drawback in originality, I remember the most confusing thing coming to byond was the expectation that youd be able to figure out how to bind your own keys.)
-Easy to get into: Could be easier, there could be more actual instruction and explanation of long term concepts instead of teaching you shadowsparring and post hitting then sending you off to read the forum. Besides that the forum was pretty easy to find the gameplay guide, I couldnt find the shinigami NPC but im sure I could have died if I wanted to. 4/5
-Combat: Theres justice done to the bankais, the graphics are great and I love how much there is to choose from. Id like to see more done with sword fighting as its such a huge part of bleach, but more of an emphasis has been made to the bankais and kidous.. and thats fine but theres room to improve the basics. 4/5
-Leveling up: Its a good system they have in place, its monotonous but its EZproof, and thats important to the players. There is also Sparring with other players and fighting enemy monsters. Good variety, the only concern when you have lots of methods is that the overall best one tends to be the only one used, so I would hope there either isnt a best method or that it is one of the more entertaining methods. 5/5
-Player Builds/ Variety: Seems you can be a Vaizard, a Shinigami with all the most popular bankais, a inou/chad wannabe, a quincy or even an arrancar. In a bleach game this is pretty much a wicked variance. Player building could be a lot more spectacular though, its not the highlight of the game lets just say that. 4/5
Good! RPGMaker placeholders not so much, the game has been out forever and these remnants should be thrown out. They clash with the scheme of the rest of the game. I love the bankais and the mapping is done very well. On BYOND you wont find many games with competent original graphics, and BLN is a few turfs away from being a subversive experience. It really is its own game because of the unique graphics. Youll wake up and realize your playing a byond game when you see a Pot or a tree that doesnt fit the style of the rest of the game. However ill let that slide.
-GMs? Yes, Theres a lot of strictness about BLN
-Rank Benefits? No, Buster is a strong anti-rank benefits advocate. Good.
-Nice? Not overly, I know this community pretty well and they dont really listen to a thing you say, they dont answer questions and they are immensely rude. Im used to it, and I like the community, but a noobie will have a ROUGH time.
-Hardcore reliance on the Community is part of the games basic essence, you cant play this game without getting involved in the community, because of this I wont penalize for the strict amount of rules and regulation. Its to be expected
-Login Screen: Broke my heart really, I know this was something that was not revised after it was implemented, and it should be. Character creation and all that was pretty much directly ported from Busters last project WOTS and I didnt like that either.
-User Interface: None, this is a game for BYOND oldbies really, your expected to prefer setting your own macros. Thats understandable, I know the type of people who prefer that.
-Bugs: None that I saw, I didnt stay too late but you can tell the stuff thats been established has been polished.
The game runs smooth too, I didnt notice any lag spikes or anything. Keeping in mind the server wasnt too packed when I did this review, ~30 people . Still Ive seen the CPU profiler myself and I can say that the Coders have done a great job keeping this thing efficient.
-Nothing too revolutionary in the code though, I dont see anything im overly intrigued with, which doesnt matter to most people anyway. So I wont weight that too hard.
Overall 51.5/65 Currently this is my favorite BYOND Anime game (That I havent made of course, /Bias). If I had time to play BYOND games and not simply slave away at making them, this is the game I would be playing. That being said there is so many things that could be added and fixed up to cause drastic improvements, and my preference of PvP competitive games might cause me to conflict with the community and overall theme. Im a binge player, I dont like wishy washy player decided ranks and thats a personal thing. It annoys me when I see anything unfair, and when you make everything manual and player run you can expect those flaws to exist. You gain a great deal when you involve the community so much though. So give it a try.