Leaving the stale Pirate Warriors franchise behind, developer Spike Chunsoft finally moves the digitalisation of the One Piece franchise into a new direction. Burning Blood passes on the Dynasty Warriors tradition of battling multiple weak enemies at the same time and offers traditional brawler gameplay. Will the new title meet the demanding fans’ expectations?
To the New World?
Everyone who associates One Piece with the vast ocean and an epic journey should know that Burning Blood only covers a small part of the series’ long-ongoing storyline. The game allows you to reenact the Paramount War pretty detailed from different characters’ perspectives, but doesn’t take much time to make you accustomed with its happenings. It almost feels like jumping into one of the anime’s episodes, only without watching the first minute, where the narrator gently allows you to catch up with what happened before. People who are familiar with the anime might enjoy the detailed presentation of this important arc, especially since Burning Blood tells it accurately and presents it with wonderful visuals and supplementation of the anime’s imagery.
Naruto-esque, but not quite
While One Piece: Burning Blood knows how to shine visually, gameplay is kind of a mess. Instead of clever use of combos it mainly consists of button mashing. Thus, battles are mostly decided who can pull the mashes off more quickly. Once caught in the attacks of an enemy, there are very little options to turn the tide in your favour. Even though Naruto also had problems of this sort, it did a better job dealing with them accordingly. Burning Blood, on the other hand, feels more than a quick downgraded version of a Ninja Storm game. It feels like having a Vita version held Spike Chunsoft back from developing a decent, more complex battle system.
Shorter than Chopper’s legs
Since the last One Piece games all offered content en masse, you might be surprised by the length of this particular one. The campaign feels monotonous and can be beaten in just a few hours, as it only covers the anime’s Marineford arc. Yet, 42 different characters allow you to have quite some fun in the game’s other modes, like the online multiplayer or the splitscreen versus mode. Performing all the characters’ different signature moves is an enjoyable pastime – just as in other anime games – but there’s certainly a lack of long-term motivation to be felt. It was kind of difficult to sit down for a while playing this game. However, for a quick match in-between Burning Blood comes in quite handy – especially when playing it on the go with your PlayStation Vita.
Fighting a war isn’t easy
One Piece: Burning Blood is a truly faithful homage to one of the anime’s most emotional arcs. Yet, it disappoints in terms of gameplay and fails to deliver newcomers a proper introduction to the amazing story of the anime series. Fans who want to revisit a crucial point of One Piece‘s history will still get their money’s worth – fighting game enthusiasts should probably look elsewhere.
What we liked:
- Faithful to the One Piece universe
- Appealing cel-shaded visuals
- Huge roster
What we didn’t like:
- No proper introduction
- Short of content
- Rough and slow combat
This review was written using a PlayStation 4 review copy provided by Sony PlayStation. Are you excited to dive back into Luffy’s adventures? What is your favourite One Piece game and why? Tell us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter!