Setting sail once again.
There really is no shortage of One Piece games available, which is no real surprise as the anime and Manga have been going for absolutely ages and number the hundreds. So once again we are faced with a new One Piece title, this time from Spike Chunsoft and Bandai Namco, this time offering some arena-based fighting with the crazy cast of characters that One Piece fans have come to know and love.
And it is to the fans of One Piece, and I mean the real fans that have watched or read most of the way through the various story arcs, that this game is aimed. For those who have no idea who the stretchy Monkey D Luffy is or how he became so rubbery, there is not really much here that will make sense. Even for those who have dipped their toes into the pirate infested world of One Piece, One Piece: Burning Blood is set quite a long way into the series and players will still be left baffled as to who all of these new characters are, and why they are fighting together.
Set during the Paramount War Saga, players will find Luffy trying to rescue his brother Ace from being executed by the Marines. It is a mere snippet for the full Saga that players will be participating in, and a mere drop in the ocean of the full One Piece story so far, but is gives a nice setting for over-the-top fights.
The Story Mode is where all of this takes place and it is told from the perspectives of four different characters. While this is great and offers some varied insight into the goings on, it does leave the story feeling a little all over the place and would have benefited from a more linear style. The Story Mode is also slightly short, offering only a handful of hours to work through completely. As already explained, there is a big gap where background should be, so if you don’t really know what is going on in this story arc, the game will do little to further your knowledge.
The core of the game revolves around fighting, and in this respect Burning Blood fares quite well. Standard attacks, combos, ranged and special attacks are all easily achieved through simple button presses. This is not a game where players will have to learn all of the different moves for their chosen character, but it is a small step beyond being a simple button masher. This does make it more accessible for those new to fighting games.
Each of the different characters has their own over-the-top spectacular attacks, all of which are faithful to the anime. Battles can be really enjoyable to watch, with the anime stylings coming through in every way. However, in the story mode, there are some quite considerable difficulty spikes that will cause some players problems, and the balancing of the characters does mean that some are quite simply more powerful than others. Swapping between characters mid-battle allows players to try out different characters and their special skills, and also keeps things fresh. There are also support characters that mix things up. Burning Blood is not a deep fighting game, but despite a few hiccups flows well and offers a light anime combat experience.
There is a huge roster of more than 40 playable characters in One Piece: Burning Blood, and fans of the series will want to unlock each and every one of them. Through completing the Story Mode, a few will be unlocked, but that is when the real work begins as players will have to earn Beli, the in-game currency, to unlock the rest. To unlock them all will take many hours of fighting, which is a worthy challenge for the fans.
Outside of Story Mode, the game offers a few other ways to play. Aside from the usual online ranked and player matches, there are a couple of other modes to note. Pirate Flag Battle Mode has the player join a crew and battle for territory, while the WANTED Versus Mode offers up bounties and themed battles for the player to enjoy. The WANTED Versus Mode is perhaps the most fun outside of the short story, but there are plenty of options available for players who enjoy the light combat and want to earn some Beli.
One Piece: Burning Blood will be a great purchase for any hardcore One Piece fans, no matter what their experience of fighting games. However, for those who don’t follow the series, there is just not much here, and the less involved fighting will prove difficult for fighting veterans to come to terms with. Burning Blood is a great looking game that is faithful to the anime, and enjoyable to play. But it really is one for the fans.