Released in Japan on May 14th 2009, Bleach: Heat the Soul 6 remains similar to previous games in the series while adding extra characters and features. The story mode now continues until the "Turn Back the Pendulum" arc, and this is the first HtS game to include tournament and character customization modes.
Like the third Bleach movie (Fade to Black), Heat the Soul 6 contains a theme song by Porno Graffiti. It is called "Koyoi, Tsuki ga Miezutomo" (Tonight, Even if You Can't See the Moon).
Bleach: Heat the Soul 6 keeps the basic style of all HtS games. It is a fighting game with 3D cel-shaded graphics. In it the player fights (in one of 29 stages from familiar locations in the anime/movies) with the aim to 'KO' opponents - that is, empty their health gauge completely by using any attacks at the character's disposal.
Matches typically start with each character speaking a phrase (introducing themselves, taunting or something similar), and an announcer counting down ("Can you survive? Ready.. Fight!"). Once the match is over (when one person or team is defeated) the winner is announced; a 'Perfect Victory' can even be declared if the victor manages to win without taking any damage. How you win always stays the same, though battle conditions may differ (sometimes there might be a 'no blocking' rule, greater damage output for that battle or something similar).
The D-pad or analog stick moves your character. Hold the opposite direction the character is facing to block, or tap up or down to flash step in the respective direction. The Triangle button makes the character jump, and usually air dash if you double tap it.The Square button will charge the reiatsu gauge (holding this button will charge it faster). This is the bar below the health meter, and must either be completely blue or completely green to be able to execute a special attack. Special attacks are one or more moves unique to a character, and are activated by pressing either Square + X or Square + Circle. Square + Triangle activates Soul Blaze. Soul Blaze lets the player attack the enemy with a quick, successive string of hits (depending on what buttons are pressed during it, and how quickly in succession they are pressed).
X is a basic weak attack, with Circle being heavy attack. Both can be used with directional buttons (eg. X + down makes the character execute a low weak attack, usually a kick).
The R trigger is combo cancel, while R trigger + L trigger powers the character up. This can be achieved once the reiatsu gauge is completely full (completely green). If the character has a Bankai, Resurreccion stage or a corresponding form they will transform into it (and often stay that way for the rest of the battle once the reiatsu gauge has depleted).
The controls change slightly if the player uses a team of two characters in a match. In 'tag team' play there is no combo cancelling, powering up or transforming (though the player can select from a character's various forms to play as before the battle starts). Any team-based actions require waiting for a short amount of time after they've been used before they can be activated again.
L trigger in this mode changes the character for the other character the player had selected. Also, while being hit this button will temporarily switch the 'active' character with the player's 'inactive' one, and this inactive one will take any hits instead during the time they are out.
Pressing R trigger will summon the other character temporarily. This other character will ideally assist the player by performing an attack.
L trigger + R trigger will activate Tag Team mode - for a short amount of time the player will not have to wait between performing any team-based actions.
Some unique special attacks can be used in Tag Team mode depending on the two characters used (these are normally characters that have some sort of friendship, relationship or rivalry such as Jyuushirou Ukitake and Shunsui Kyouraku, or Shinji Hirako and Hiyori Sarugaki). Characters will perform one of their usual special attacks one after the other if no unique attack between them exists.
The entire cast of Heat the Soul 5 return, some with added costumes and forms:
Turn Back the Pendulum - The Visored (Vizard), Sousuke Aizen and Kaname Tousen can now fight in their costumes from this arc. Kisuke Urahara (Captain) is playable and treated as a separate character, and has a slightly different moveset to his regular counterpart. Tessai Tsukabishi, as he is seen in "Turn Back the Pendulum" is playable for the first time as well.
Visored - Mashiro Kuna and Rose Otoribashi join the cast, making all Visored but two playable in this game.
Espada - Three Espada are now playable in their Resurreccion forms:
Tier Harribel and Zommari Rureaux (also with his Resurreccion 'Brujeria'), alongside Dark Rukia (from the Bleach: Fade to Black movie) and Ryuuken Ishida are the remaining new characters in this game.
This brings the total of playable characters up to 74.
In addition, various other characters from the Bleach franchise cameo in the game (such as in the opening or in Soul Championship mode), but they are not usable.
Covering everything from Ichigo's early time as a Substitute Shinigami up until the "Turn Back the Pendulum" arc, this mode consists of 61 stages. These stages are grouped into ten parts according to which anime story arc (or movie) they are set in.
After beating each battle the player will get a rank for it. This is based on performance, with the highest and best rank being an S. Receiving an A or S rank on each stage often gives a 'secret' stage as a reward. More playable characters are unlocked by beating relevant story stages too.
This mode consists of 63 tournament-style scenarios, grouped into 'ranks' of difficulty. The player must complete all (or at least most) of the previous rank scenarios before the next, higher rank is unlocked. These ranks are arranged according to difficulty, with D as the lowest and SSS as the highest.
Some battles are entirely normal, but some have 'conditions' imposed upon them (there may be one where only special attacks damage the enemy, or a 10 or more combo will only hurt them, and so on). Completing these battles gives 'Soul Codes', used to customize characters.
The first HtS game to feature such a mode, here is where the player can customize any unlocked character. These customizations, as well as any Soul Codes, can be implemented just after the player picks a character to battle with (this option is green, while attack, technical and speedy Soul Styles are red, yellow and blue respectively).
Arcade Mode (Arcade Style)
Select a character (or two), and play against various opponents in six successive stages. The time taken to beat a run-through is recorded at the end, and items used in Soul Customization can be unlocked here as well.
Select one or a team of two characters, and play against CPU here. There are three options to choose from:
Freestyle - A simple 'pick your character/s, pick your enemy then pick your stage' mode.
Survival - As the name suggests, the character (or team) must fight one battle after another and defeat as many opponents as possible before they themselves are beaten.
Glotoneria - Named after Aaronieo Arruruerie's Zanpakutou, the player picks one character and faces off against one other character only. This opponent remains the same, however each time they are KO'ed they will get stronger. The player's character will not gain any health, so the battle lasts as long as the player does (or until 100 KOs are achieved). The time taken and KO amount will be recorded, and depending on how many KOs the player gets more Soul Codes are rewarded.
SOUL VS (Multiplayer)
This is where the player can fight against friends via Ad-Hoc (in the first option, Free Battle). There is also a second option called “Pirates Battle”, which is a multiplayer battle to win Soul Codes.
This mode houses both a training option and a tutorial. In Training, a character (or a team of two) can be selected to play as, as well as an enemy (or again, a team of two of them) and desired stage. Before the battle the player can also adjust how the CPU will behave (a level 1 – 5 difficulty scale, or options such as the CPU won't do anything, the CPU won't block but will recover or the CPU will only block). Below this it is possible to turn on/off Infinite Reiatsu gauge, turn on/off Infinite Partner Assist and finally show/hide the Command Panel (which if on will show every button the player presses, in order).
Under Tutorial, there are six of them that can be chosen from. Each has between two and four parts to them, and covers various aspects of the game.
Sound – Listen to sound effects, background music and character voice clips found in HtS 6. A character's voice gallery is available as soon as the player has unlocked and used them.
Character Illustrated Picture Book – A gallery of every playable character. Arcade mode must be completed as each character to unlock that person's image here.
Convert – This is an option to load a save file from an older Heat the Soul game. By doing this the player can unlock most of the cast of characters to play as from the start. However, some characters and versions of characters will still have to be unlocked by completing Story mode.
Fairly straightforward, here the game options (damage level etc.), button configuration, sound options, and save/load can be toggled (in the latter part it is possible to turn autosave off/on and there is also an irreversible option to delete everything).
It is also possible to download a Bleach: Soul Carnival 2 demo in Bleach: Heat the Soul 6. This is accessible before the player presses “GAME START” and reaches the main menu.