Fight for your life
After years of playing it safe with a plethora of musou games, the One Piece franchise is branching out and trying something new with One Piece Burning Blood for the PS4, Vita, Xbox One and PC.
While the fighting game fighting game has many high points, it’s ultimately let down by some heavy downfalls.
Burning Blood the story of the Marineford arc, one of the most pivotal story arcs in the series, and the point where everything changes. The game tells the story of the arc through screenshots of the anime, while also mixing things up with CG cutscenes. It takes an interesting approach by having the story be told from different perspectives, but sadly it falls flat. It’s not fun playing the same battles repeatedly with little variation for 6 hours.
While The game tries it’s best to tell the story, it feels more like a reminder, filled with highlights of the events that went down during the arc.
It’s a shame that the game has locations and characters from earlier and later parts of the series, and yet the story only focuses on this arc.
Those who know the series will have no problem filling in the gaps in their mind, and will smile at simply the thought of getting to relive their favourite battles from the arc. But those who are new to the series will be completely lost.
But for many, the game isn’t about story, it’s all about the action packed fighting. And on that front, the game delivers. The fighting is a mix between the Naruto series of fighting games, and the Jojo games, having flashy relegated to simple one button combos, and everything is easy to access. There’s no Street Fighter levels of complexity here.
The game’s all about pressing as few buttons as possible, while looking like you’re pulling off jaw dropping combos.
This makes the game wildly entertaining with friends. Being able to all scream and shout when Luffy goes into Gear Forth or seeing Sengoku enter his Daibutsu state is a joy few games can offer.
Sadly the game falls flat when you fight against the computer. Since there is no limit to how many super moves you can have, the computer will often just spam long range super moves. And since guarding has no limit, they will often just guard while you’re up close. (Note: there is a guard break, but the stun time is so short that they can just re-enter their guard straight away). This turns many of the fights into a slog that makes you yawn more than anything.
But by far the worst offender in this case is the story mode. Later on, instead of making the enemies more complicated or tactical, the game buffs their health and attack to godlike levels, meaning a single combo from them can kill you, meanwhile you struggle to dent their health with your ultimate attack.
This kind of game design is prevalent in a lot of anime based fighting games (The Naruto Ninja Storm series is guilty of this too) and it needs to change. More health doesn’t make an enemy more of a challenge, it makes them a bore.
If you’re looking for a fun over-the-top anime game to play and have a laugh with friends, then One Piece Burning Blood is a great time. It’s crazy, bonkers, insane and exactly what One Piece fans could ask for in a fighting game. But as a single player adventure, it’s a complete letdown.
There’s a lot of potential here, but it just hasn’t found a way to tap into it yet. Hopefully a sequel can expand on the groundwork set here, and turn a great game into a fantastic one.