One Piece Burning Blood is thoroughly exhilarating

  • Given that One Piece: Burning Blood is based on an anime that features a large cast of zany pirate warriors, you can imagine that the source material really lends itself to a fighter – the biggest obstacle would be making the battling itself enjoyable.

    Although it would have been thrilling to see Luffy’s quest to become King of the Pirates play out in strategy-role playing fashion, with a Gun-Gun Pistol strike stretching across a gridded battlefield, the developer chose an interpretation that attempts to capture the chaotic pugnaciousness of the sh┼Źnen–driven source material. The result is frantic fighting game that’s frequently fun, occasionally clumsy, and delightfully faithful to Luffy-lore.

    Talking about looks though, even when you’re not pulling off special moves, One Piece: Burning Blood looks jaw-dropping thanks to its stunningly detailed characters and environments. The resulting battles then are undeniably spectacular to look at, but mechanically very scrappy and unbalanced. Too often the best tactic seems to be just to button bash and hope for the best, mostly because of its range of convoluted and inconsistent systems that are never particularly well explained.

    Whilst the simple nature of the fighting can keep combat feeling slightly limited, each character in the game manages to feel unique thanks to their own particular strengths and weaknesses. Some characters might focus on getting up close and personal, whilst others are better used from a distance. Whilst each character doesn’t have a huge move-set to take advantage of, they do at least offer a variety different ways to approach each fight.

    Visually, Burning Blood is thoroughly exhilarating, delivering a 1080p, silky-smooth sixty frame-per-second delivery of Straw Hat goodness. Not only goes the title mimic the thick cell shading of the source material, but subtle cross-hatched shading makes the game look like a manga that’s sprang to life. Coupled with the anime’s bright palette and fantastically detailed character models and battlegrounds, the game is a visual pleaser, rivaling CyberConnect2 work on the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm series. Gratifyingly, the game utilizes the same voice actors as the anime, who deliver their usual high-spirited performances.

    One Piece: Burning Blood is a game full of potential, but ultimately it disappoints. The Paramount War mode is truly the highlight of the package, featuring some fantastically recreated story scenes, but it’s rather brief and is marred by an erratic difficulty level. Other than that, whilst playing against friends either locally or online can be a real blast, it’s just too unbalanced to spend too much time elsewhere without becoming unduly frustrated by it all.

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