Don your eye patches and ready your hook hands for an exciting pirate adventure. Burning Blood sees developer Spike Chunsoft provide their first real contender on the big three platforms, and with the successful publisher Namco Bandai at the helm, One Piece: Burning Blood has the potential to be another great adaptation from a successful manga and anime series.
Burning Blood takes the form of an arena fighter based on the popular Japanese manga and anime One Piece. The main campaign takes place in the One Piece timeline known as the Paramount War or Summit War. The storyline follows the trials and tribulations of a number of notable characters allowing you to experience and relive some of One Piece’s most memorable moments. Although the cut scenes and battles provide great insight into the One Piece world, the more serious fans may be left a little disappointed with the length of the single player campaign. Fights consist of up to three characters pitted against somewhat difficult enemies. Winning conditions change throughout the episodes where sometimes a straight out victory is required, and other times you need to stay alive for 60 seconds, which to some may sound easy but in reality it can be like trying to survive 60 seconds with Tyson.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Spend your hard earned here!
Although Burning Blood leaves the length of the Paramount War quite short, it does bring a number of different game modes to preserve interest. The diversity of the game modes provides a number of different avenues for players to hone their skills and challenge the best in the business.
In online mode players can test their mettle against others from around the world in ranked matches as well create a private room to battle your friends. The online menu allows players to check their ranking and also display fight statistics for all battle and support characters. Player settings permits a change of both emblem and title which can be unlocked through completing different gameplay modes. I did experience some connection issues in the ranked matches but it is only early days these will supposedly be ironed out in the first patch.
Pirate Flag Battle
The Pirate Flag Battle provides players with the choice of 15 different pirate crews (including the famous Straw Hats and Whitebeards) before taking to the high seas to conquer the world map. Players will get to compete for islands and bases on the map to gain that delicious booty and help your pirate crew become the strongest in the pirate kingdom. Players compete over the period of a season (1 week) by moving around the map and attacking enemy settlements. These settlements can be either AI or other players. The use of the “log pose” imposes movement restrictions calling for tactics and trickery from your pirate crew. In-force rankings allows players to see how they match up against their shipmates and provides a breakdown of your victories. If for some reason you become disgruntled with your pirate crew and decide a mutiny is order do not despair, you can choose to change pirate crews, but beware you will not be able to re-join the fight until the completion of the current season.
The Pirate Base is where you can go to recruit your crew and put together a team that suits your style of play. With the choice of three battle characters and three support characters you can create the perfect balance of skill and power. The base lets you generate five different crews, allowing players to change their style of play at the drop of a straw hat.
Free battle is the only mode that permits local play, with up to two players in either split screen or combined fighting against one another. The training option in free battle also provides a willing foe who can be set to carry out full blooded attacks or stand there and take a beating while you perfect your combo moves.
If you have ever wanted to collect on a bounty or take down a wanted pirate then this is the game mode for you. Wanted mode lets you choose from a number of different options to take on a huge range of characters in challenging battles. Some battles even require special victory conditions to claim the bounty, which challenges players to develop new tactics to achieve the aim.
Burning Blood delivers crisp visuals that ring true to the original manga and anime. The movement and execution of moves are smooth and easy on the eye, some of the fight scenes can be a little overwhelming at first and you might find yourself waiting for the dust to settle and realise that you have been on the receiving end of a 39 hit combo for the last five seconds. The background music and SFX are quite comfortable allowing for continued play without the fear of repetition. Voices are all subtitled so the absence of an English dubbed option may be frustrating for some players new to the series but traditional fans should feel right at home.
Don’t make Luffy angry!
Overall One Piece: Burning Blood is a solid game with a number of different gameplay options, and fans of the series will find enough enjoyment to warrant parting with their hard earned cash. If you are new to the manga/anime adaptation fighting games and are looking for a story to enchant you then this is sadly not the game for you. Hopefully there is some DLC on the horizon to flesh out the single player campaign but until then, unless you are a One Piece tragic, there’s not enough to entice gamers to buy this offering. Most proud owners of NBE’s Naruto Shippuden Ninja Storm 4 or Dragonball Xenoverse will find Burning Blood is not the first choice on a rainy day.
Reviewed on PS4