No sooner do we get anime beat-'em-up Bleach: The Blade of Fate here in Europe than Sega reveals when we can expect its sequel, Bleach: Dark Souls.

The game, developed by revered Japanese developer Treasure, promises to feature a multitude of enhancements hoping to improve the most recent Bleach experience. Which, seeing as we gave that a Gold Award (that's 9/10) when we reviewed it, should translate into one jaw-dropping game.

Added to the current roster of characters are several more, taking the total to over 40 and including, for the first time, Evil Hallows (other playable characters are Rukia, Kon and Ichigo).

The multiplayer game has expanded personalisation features, new special Bankai moves, 30 new Spirit Cards, power-enhancing crystals and an impressive seven new gameplay modes.

Individual character stories are all unlockable as you play, which should be plenty of incentive to put in more than a few hours' gaming, and an exclusive story has been created especially for Dark Souls.

The anime scrapper allows players to build customised Spirit Card Decks, and this time around with the addition of power-enhancing Reiju Crystals to boost characters' health, attack strength and defence power.

Other than that, two-player battles are enjoyable over wi-fi, while up to four can get together for individual or tag-team battles via DS Download Play. There's also a newly included encyclopaedia which should keep fans happy with its character descriptions and glossary of Bleach-related goodies.

Onto the most important information, then, which is when we can expect to be getting it. Well, it's due here in early 2009. A little way off, true, especially considering it's already out in Japan and imminent in the US this summer. But at least now we know it's coming. Which, if it's anywhere near as good as Blade of Fate, is top news.

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