One Piece: Burning Blood Review
Extra Features: Local multiplayer (1-2), Online multiplayer (2-4)
One of the best parts about reviewing games based off of an anime or manga is that I get to get a glimpse of what each franchise is like to see if I might like it or not. The Naruto games won me over and I'm now a Naruto anime fan, so I was hoping for the same experience with One Piece: Burning Blood. Burning Blood is my first One Piece game and first overall One Piece experience so everything was brand new to me. Unlike the Naruto games, One Piece: Burning Blood gives you no setup as to what happens before the story in the game, so if you haven't been following the manga or anime up to the story arc in the game, you'll be just as lost as I was once it starts.
Burning Blood is a 3D fighter that takes place during the Paramount War arc. Monkey D. Luffy is out to save his brother Ace during a battle between pirates and marines. The story mode is "The Paramount War" mode and this will allow players to experience the story through the eyes of a few characters. The overall gameplay of Burning Blood is extremely flashy and very chaotic. All fighters have a standard combo that ends with a huge attack. You can mix up your attacks by holding different directions while attacking and each fighter has short range attacks and long range attacks that correspond to different buttons as well. Special moves can be performed by holding the L1 button and then tapping one of the face buttons. As you fight, you'll build up a burning gauge. Once filled, you can activate the gauge to take off more damage for a certain length of time or use your fighter's super attack that will hit for major damage and give you a super flashy animation. You can pick a team of up to three characters that you can switch between during battle and you can choose from a list of support characters that offer a variety of enhancements to your team.
The camera style in Burning Blood uses the same type of style that Naruto uses where you'll have an over-the-shoulder view of your fighter and your opponent will appear in the background. This type of camera causes bigger characters (such as Whitebeard) to take up a good majority of the screen since the camera doesn't zoom out. Arenas allow your opponent to get really far away from your character to where I constantly had to chase down my opponent quite often. The overall gameplay has a lot of techniques to take advantage of, but trying to remember all of the techniques makes it quite complicated to play.
The entire first portion of the story mode serves as a tutorial. You'll go through several stages of fighting different characters and then get rewarded with cutscene in between. The entire game is displayed with a cel-shaded style which completely works for this type of game. The presentation for Burning Blood is absolutely fantastic with its bright colors and heavy black lines that outline the characters much like what you would see in a manga. The dialogue is all in Japanese with English subtitles. The game has a huge cast of 44 characters to choose from. You'll unlock many of the characters from playing through the story mode. Besides normal stages, you'll unlock extra stages that provide an even greater challenge and will unlock an extra character once finished.
Once the first portion (basically tutorial section) of the story mode is completed, you'll unlock every other mode. Strangely, the game starts out with ONLY the story mode unlocked, so you are forced to play it in order to unlock every other mode, which seems very odd for a fighting game nowadays. Even the online mode and free battle has to be unlocked. Anyway, once you have finished the first portion of the story mode, you'll unlock Collection mode, Wanted Versus mode, Free Battle mode, Online mode, Pirate Flag Battle mode and Pirate Base mode. Wanted Versus allows you to pick between wanted posters to engage in battle with certain teams in order to gain more points to unlock extra content. Pirate Flag Battle mode allows you to take command of a certain base from the start then go around the map and invade other bases for extra points that will level up your characters and allow you to unlock extra content. You will fight both CPU opponents and other players, so it has a bit of an online feature to it. Pirate Base allows you to spend in-game money to purchase battle characters and support characters. The other modes should be self-explanatory.
One Piece: Burning Blood isn't necessarily a bad game. I really feel my disappointment in it lies in the fact that the game does nothing to get players caught up with the arc presented in Burning Blood. The characters in the game are very much full of life and many of them seem interesting with their unique personalities, but it's hard to care much about characters that you can't even get any sort of backstory on. The single player aspect of the game has a lot of content, but all of it is basically just single player versus with little variety in between. Fans of the One Piece series will probably enjoy this much more than newcomers, but even then, I bet they will find the game a bit shallow overall. The overall combat gets repetitive very quickly.
+ Overall cel-shaded presentation is very true to the manga and anime
+ Frantic action and tons of eye candy during battles
- All characters feel too similar
- New players will be completely lost with the story
- The camera view during gameplay allows for bigger characters to cover too much of the screen
Final Rating: 60% - Fans of One Piece might find something to enjoy in One Piece: Burning Blood, but newcomers will be totally lost.