One Piece Burning Blood - PS4 Review

The Straw Hat Pirates are back for some fast paced Devil Fruit action. Going straight in for some 1v1 instead of 1v1000, One Piece Burning Blood is an arcade styled fighter that plays host to several versus modes both online and offline alongside a campaign that covers one of the biggest moments in the series.

One Piece for anyone not familiar with it is a Weekly Shonen (Action-Oriented Plot (think Dragon Ball)) that revolves around the conflict of both Pirates and Marines on the high seas. This would have been normal enough except that some people have extraordinary abilities that are granted by eating what are known as Devil Fruit. The Devil Fruit can grant some pretty crazy things such as the main character Luffy who’s body was turned to rubber making him rather resistant to lightning and bullets. For the power that they grant however, they do come with a drawback. Marine or Pirate, if you eat a fruit you sink to the bottom of the ocean like an anchor as you’ve given up your ability to swim or even float.

Burning Blood is the type of fighter that has a bit of something for everyone. Lovers of single player events will find themselves challenged by: a campaign mode that adjusts itself fairly well to the events that it is telling; and a series of challenges known as Wanted Posters that only increase in their difficulty. For those that love a good proper versus there’s: an offline two player versus mode; an online versus mode; and a mode that made me think of Grand Kingdom’s and Mortal Kombat X’s factions in which any group on the high seas may be joined for a season of glory or defeat over a network of islands to fight either other players or beefed up CPUs. Regardless of the chosen mode all the action comes down to a very smooth formula.

Unlike a lot of other fighters that I’ve had the chance to play over the years Burning Blood does not have a system based on High, Middle, and Low punches and kicks. It also doesn’t work on the actual basis of X, X, Triangle, Circle, Square, Semi-Rotate the Left Analog Stick Thirty-Two Degrees North by North-East (very largely exaggerated) in order to launch a devastating attack. Instead of these the One Piece characters have use for a slightly more simplified system that decided to add in more elements for complexity without making me want to merge my head and the coffee table into one.

Instead of following a grueling, mandatory, and unavoidable tutorial session, learning the basics can be done by starting off in Campaign mode with the first few stages doing a great job at explaining everything that can be done. The real fight in these cases does not start until the instructions have been followed but it’s not as boring as “Square to Punch”. It tells you to use “Square to Punch” as the enemy is in your face trying to punch you back after you’ve read the instructions. It felt a bit more alive instead of stale waiting against a non moving target. Following on the tail of the basics are three forms of advanced moves that can be used in order to turn any bad situation around.

The basics to combat are rather straightforward. Hitting Square will launch a standard attack and Triangle will perform a move unique to the character. Holding the movement stick downwards while performing either of these will use a variant. Blocking is easy enough in which is a full block will not take any damage which is where they’ve put in block breakers that require a bit more time to wind up but are generally worth doing. Side-stepping can also be done in order to launch a quick counter-attack as your foes pass right on by. Having gone with a bit more of a basic system for the, well basics, it allowed for more creativeness in other departments including the movement system which is not bound by a straight line but instead much more flexible allowing movement around an arena type map.

On top of the basics there are four types of advanced moves that can be done. The first is a hybrid between partners that can be substituted in and partners that lend either passive or active abilities to the battle. Partners work just like your main character and have their own special abilities and health bars. Battles can honestly be any combination that totals to a 3v3. The second set of partners can modify the group’s attack or defense power for example. Using one of their abilities could also heal up the fighting group or simply just the active character. These abilities can be used when the moment is right while the passive abilities are turned on at the beginning of battle.

The second is Burning which can be done after filling up a meter which makes any character much more powerful. At any time while burning and just making your opponent’s day miserable, a massively powerful attack can be triggered to make that day even worse. The nice touch with these attacks is that while they can be considered the “be all, end all”, they have to hit first. Missing with these attacks is entirely possible from either a dodge or a proper block making them rather useless and adding insult to injury especially if they were being used in order to attempt a comeback. Learning what each character’s Burning attack does is recommended because not everyone launches into an attack but some like one of the Admiral’s launches a rain of magma missiles allowing the opponent to kick him and knock him right out before the magma comes down.

Next is a combination of the previous two in which parts of the Burning gauge can be used alongside switching characters out in order to either save yourself or simply take the advantage. Saving yourself can be done by using portions of the burning gauge to bring in one of the partners on standby to stop an enemy combo in its tracks. This works fairly work. Similarly if you were attacking, by using parts of the gauge a partner could come in to continue raining blows down. Finally there’s a clash of the two in which either you or your opponent decides on bringing in a partner which is countered by the other doing the same and continuing as if nothing happened as they have the upper hand.

Finally, to add to the basics is the ability to use either the Devil Fruit’s hardercore abilities or simply charge up for a bit more of a kick. Fire characters for example can turn on their actual flames to burn their enemies or melt off the abilities of an ice user. Some are much more defensive such as the ability to turn their body to diamond which acts like a block but still allows for them to attack. Others who are made of sand can simply let the attack pass right through them. This gauge can be used on and off but if it is emptied then it will take some time in order to fully fill back up and can’t be used until it does.

With all of the fighting accounted for what you did with it came down to you. Versus matches can be fun but what impressed me the most was the Campaign. Telling events through the use of anime screen captures and Burning Blood’s CG, the awesome narrator from the Pirate Warriors was back to tell the tale. Campaigns take a character’s point of view and can branch into secondary scenarios if the conditions are met. If you didn’t make them the first time don’t worry as they can only be seen after a stage has been completed once.

Now what impressed me about the campaign was the modification of character’s power output against one another was modified depending on the situation. If the events had them near empty for their stamina then the fight would reflect this making it either easier or harder depending on the point of view. It would have been easy to simply keep things as is but instead it shows that time was taken to get things right even if that meant that some fights would feel almost impossible at first.

One Piece Burning Blood was awesome. Hours could honestly go by while playing simply the campaign mode before even starting Wanted Posters or joining a faction online. What impressed me the most was that it has a fast paced system that was not overly burdened by needing to perform combinations in order to do anything but instead added different layers creating a much smoother experience that was much easier to enter and enjoy over longer periods of time.

Game Information

PlayStation 4
Spike Chunsoft
Bandai Namco
Single Player
Online Versus
Other Platform(s):
PC (Coming soon)
PlayStation Vita
Xbox One

Article by Pierre-Yves
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