One Punch Man fighting game, how is that possible? This was one of the reactions of many fans of the character with the announcement of One Punch Man: A Hero, Nobody, Knows, who in concept suffered the same type of problems that many game developers have faced with Superman: you have such a strong protagonist named Saitama, who simply leaves no room to play; if you weaken it with any trick in history it loses its essence, and if you maintain its strength it defeats its enemies without batting an eye.
Who is Saitama? It is the protagonist of a manga published in 2009 that made the leap to anime in recent years with considerable success. Its starting point is entirely original within the seinen, with action and many doses of parody. Basically, it presents us with the ideal world full of monsters and villains who torture the population; To defend the weak, the Hero Association is set up, which employs superheroes according to their level. And we have Saitama, a literally self-made hero who has trained with so much discipline that he pushes all limits and can defeat any opponent with one punch. Hence the name of the manga. But of course, being so powerful makes his life bland, and he finds no emotion in combat. In his adventures, he will meet new companions, other superheroes and villains, and will face the cyborg Genos.
One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is half RPG, half 3D fighting game very similar to many and many anime adaptations as we usually see today, all inspired to a greater or lesser extent in the success of Cyberconnect2 with the Naruto. However, nobody has matched the production and quality values that this studio achieved with the Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm. But Spike Chunsoft has at least managed to get around the main problem: how to make a fighting game with a character who defeats his rivals with a blow? Well, telling the adventure from the perspective of an original character.
In story mode, we will edit our hero, both physically and in special techniques. At first, it seems a bit basic. Still, later we will get new options to delve into clothing and skills, so everything is a constant evolution from the lowest hero level to that of a true star, the most famous and powerful superhero. Everything takes place in a city that acts as a central world and that we will gradually open up as we progress in the missions, which can be main or secondary, of the citizens or other heroes that the fans will know.
One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows approach is easily the best of the game, at least for manga/anime fans. It gets you fully into the universe, thanks to the license – specifically in the first season – there are many winks for the fans so that no one will miss the humorous tone of the dialogues with some of the enemies or the objective of the missions. There are stores to acquire objects, we have a room to decorate, the relationship with other heroes is improved, and ultimately, it is not a mere fighting game. Inside what are usually anime adaptations, and more of an anime that is not as popular as One Piece or Dragon Ball is a pleasant surprise. Of course, nobody expects something with the ambition of a Yakuza or similar.
Of course, this is a fighting game in its core, and this is where One Punch Man is no longer as solid as we would like. Spike Chunsoft has faced the dilemma of many other studies: to make a deep game that tries to rival the kings of the genre, or something more affordable that even those who do not usually play fighting can assimilate? It is almost always the second option, and that is what we have here, with a little touch that sets it apart from other games.
On one hand, we have a 3D fight with a handful of basic movements that are linked without difficulty; There is no need to learn complicated combos, and they are not too demanding either. It is based more on dodging attacks taking advantage of the races and the area of the stage, or on dosing our special attacks, than on playing with strategy. We will quickly start causing damage to the terrain, blows will be activated with a small sequence that crushes the rival, and even special events will appear that add advantages to collect on stage or bring some cataclysm that damages the fighters, such as meteor shower. The game looks for that chaos and free spectacularity over technical combat.
Depending on the mission or even the online mode has a small hub to see other users and multiplayer combat options, although you must first unlock the characters in the story – we will not fight alone. Up to two more characters can accompany us, interchangeable with the press of a button, or perhaps these reinforcements arrive at the beginning of combat, after a few seconds that can be shortened with combos and good defences. This is especially curious at the times when Saitama arrives because his punch ends the game, so until then, what we must do is resist; What do you prefer, two characters and the wait until the arrival of the protagonist or three fighters?
Although the struggles of One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows are not bad and fulfill the objective –attracting newbies-, they do sin in all aspects of simplicity. The game reverses the strengths and weaknesses of Kill la Kill the Game: IF a bit: the APlus Games title had a powerful playable base, especially with the two protagonists, but it came with little content of characters, settings and modes. Game One Punch Man brings an RPG wrapper slightly rising levels, missions, a lot of heroes -Genos, Silver Fang, Moumen Rider, Spring Mustachio, Mosquito Girl, a version of Saitama without immunity to attacks and so almost 30-. Still, when it comes to dealing blows, It does not improve much compared to what was seen in other anime adaptations to 3D combat.
Saitama and the rest of the classic characters look good in A Hero Nobody Knows, always talking within the possibilities of an intermediate production like this. The character we edit falls into something more generic, the animations a bit stiff, and the scenarios suffer the usual failure of the genre: areas a bit unfrozen, saving certain exceptions, not much real interactivity and invisible walls that reduce the real movement through the sand. During combat, the performance is stable, but in the city – which is not a big deal – it seems that it suffers in small moments. We did like the music, sugar cane when it should be, but there are many dialogues without voices – in addition to which the protagonist does not speak in conversations. The option of listening to the characters in English or Japanese is contemplated.
One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is the typical game thought for fans of the anime, and not saying it as a negative aspect. Yes, it will be challenging to attract the gamers never heard of it because it does not delve too much into the heroes, and of course, the fighting system has very tough competition. Still, One Punch Man wastes humour, charismatic characters and curiously the most difficult aspect – the presence of Saitama- is has settled. In short, a light-hearted fighting game that will entertain fans who are more interested in seeing the adventures of their favourite characters than in a competitively oriented title.
We have prepared this review with a digital review code for the PS4 Pro version provided by Bandai Namco.