As an uber One Piece fan I was excited to hear that there would be a fighting title for the series called Burning Blood. I was a little skeptical whether it would be any good considering that many of the fighting games that have recently come out based on anime have been rather disappointing or somewhat tedious. Bandai Namco did a very good job for its advertising by essentially releasing very little, then a little more and then a lot about the game and just exactly how large of a roster it would be (which is big). Good to know that One Piece: Burning Blood is still rather tedious like the others, but is far from disappointing. Will this anime-inspired title be as good as some of the other of the same genre out there such as Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4?
Great cutscenes: The style for the cutscenes in between the combat levels matches up closer to the manga more so than it does with the anime. Although they use a lot of images from the anime in other areas, the animated sequences use heavy lines, cel-shading, and light lines to represent anger or fast motion. This detail input into the animation makes it feel more authentic and downright cool, not only bringing a nostalgic feeling for the manga readers out there but also helping them understand what mood the character is in even more.
Lots of Detail in Moves and Styles: The detail put into the game is one of the things that fans of One Piece will be looking for, and Burning Blood has it. The selection of fighters all remain true to their manga/anime counterparts down from the stances they take to the moves they pull off. Not only that, but they pull off their moves in style. When the player is able to use the character properly, they’re able to pull off a combination of heavy hits that manage to do damage while also remaining cool. From time to time, when the player lands a heavy hit or is ending the foe’s health with a finisher they will knock them into the background stage in epic, anime fashion which is extremely gratifying. Not to mention that the controls in general for the title are easy to grasp, being able to pull off some wicked combinations many times by accident!
Lots of Wanted Posters to do: After you’re finished with the Paramount War story arc, there’s still a lot of missions to do on the side including beating various combinations of characters in certain circumstances known as Wanted posters. There’s a basic ladder system that goes from weak difficulty to higher difficulty, but then there’s Wanted posters that are set to super tough conditions. Eventually, the enemies’ HP and AI are raised significantly enough for only the most skilled players to beat. This offers a lot of challenge and play value to the title which any completionist can get behind.
Online Works Like a Charm: The multiplayer versus online is pretty solid, with no frame-rate drops or hiccups in connection during battle. You and your opponent’s responses from controller to character react well and shows during the match. It feels good to play a fighting game online with people and have everything based on your skill rather than who has the better connection. Mortal Kombat has chugged so many times during online play, while after playing consecutively for twenty matches, Burning Blood runs perfectly every time.
Large Character Roster: They pulled some of the best fighters from the series to join the fray, including some smaller figures like Mr. 2 Bon Clay and Koala. This adds a large amount of variety and ensures that the player can have a whole bunch of choices whilst going online or picking unique teams. Appeal Events add to the fun of this as certain fighters have special dialogue when either are on the same team or facing one another. This, coupled with the 3-on-3 gameplay matches, allows for players to make the perfect combination of OP characters that compliment each other with their specific moves/powers. Each character is divided up among Speed, Power, All-Round, Technical, and Tricky so to combine one from each of three categories is a good way to keep the opponent on their toes and makes it entertaining to see what players online think are the best three to put together.
Blocking Mechanic is Sluggish: Blocking seems pretty logical in the game but needs a lot of time for preparation, which makes it not available in a pinch. It’s so slow with some characters that the enemy will already get a hit in during the two seconds it takes to initiate the block. This can get increasingly frustrating when the AI difficulty spikes (or they just randomly choose to be an absolute ass) and run over you, not leaving any opening for your blocking. Low and behold, however, as the AI is able to pull off blocking with flair and style, turning the match on you in a second.
Tough Gameplay for Unfamiliars: Many players unfamiliar with anime fighting games such as Pokken Tournament and the Saint Seiya series will soon become flustered when approaching the gameplay right off the bat. Though there is a tutorial at the beginning, there is still more mechanics that the game presents as you progress but other “side battles” with different characters that are very different from Luffy’s fast-paced gameplay. While trying out these other battles they were significantly harder than the main Luffy Missions, causing frustration when you’re pitted by yourself against two fighters.
No difficulty settings: The difficulty spikes throughout the Paramount War story, and it’s not fun ups and downs. Gradually through the game the opponents you face off against get more intricate in their playing style and know exactly when to block and dodge your moves; not only that, but they also tend to pull off the most extravagant combos that you will never be able to. It would have been nice for a difficulty setting to be put in place in order to get a better hang of the gameplay before moving up such as in Mortal Kombat or Killer Instinct. However, the Wanted posters do a good job in offering you more or less difficult bounties based off of how much Beli ($) a poster is worth. The higher the bounty, the harder the match by a significant amount.
To wrap things up, One Piece: Burning Blood is a title that’s not meant for people unfamiliar with fighting games to get behind as it doesn’t have any remorse. It’s a tough fighting game, that’s for sure, but it looks beautiful. The cinematic cutscenes are visually amazing during the Paramount War along with all of the characters’ finishing moves. This is definitely a game for fans to get behind but I wouldn’t say it is worth spending money on for people unfamiliar with the series or fighting titles.
- Graphics - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Controls - 8/108/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Replay Value - 8/108/10
Get It Now
One Piece: Burning Blood was developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It was released on May 31st, 2016 in North America and June 3rd in Europe. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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