Fighting games and manga go hand-in-hand (or should I say fist-in-fist) so let's see if this fighter adaptation holds up in the ring.
I don't know much about One Punch Man but I'm pretty sure that my niece is a fan of it and I understand why. She has a silly sense of humour like I do and One Punch Man definitely has a ridiculous premise. It follows the story of Saitama who has become so good at fighting that he can defeat his enemies with a single punch. Unfortunately, with great strength comes great boredom because no fighter is anywhere near a suitable match for him. This goofy plot is translated well to A Hero Nobody Knows and it is genuinely funny at first. However, the humour starts to wear thin as soon as the novelty of it all begins to subside. Thankfully, the visuals are decent and represent the world of One Punch Man well yet the music is okay albeit generic while the English voice acting is quite muffled and tinny.
Of course, none of this really matters because what makes fighting games enjoyable is their gameplay. On the plus side, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is incredibly easy to learn with intuitive controls that make combat easy to pick up and play. With that in mind, the combat itself is downright monotonous and requires very little skill to master. In fact, I was so bored with it that I played it on a second TV while I watched shows on my other TV and I found myself winning battles without even looking at the screen. That's right; if you just mash the attack buttons and perform special moves once in a while then you'll probably end up winning. There are even battles where all you do is try and survive but it's so easy to avoid your opponent within the large arenas so what's the point?
The main campaign of One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is basically set within an open city where you run around, talk to people, and carry out quests that involve either going from point A to point B or fighting some enemies. I immediately felt that this wandering aspect of the gameplay was out of place for a fighting game and after playing for a handful of hours, I can safely say that my initial impression was fully justified. Some fighting games incorporate adventure-style campaigns in brilliant ways but this just feels like they slapped it together to extend its play time. You don't even unlock online multiplayer until a couple of chapters in and once you do, you'll be incredibly disappointed to experience how unbalanced it is. I don't know if it's the fact that your character stats carry over or what but you'll either get your ass brutally kicked or beat your opponent to a pulp with ease. There's little happy middle-ground.
Finally, there are RPG and character customization elements that are enjoyable to tinker around with. For starters, you actually create your character at the beginning which is cool and after that, you can unlock and purchase loads of clothing and accessories which can make you look pretty cool or goofy; whatever you're aiming for. Anyway, you can assign a battle type and a few killer moves as well as set skill boosts and exchange growth points for base stat increases. Doing so does make you more powerful but the campaign is set up in a way that you don't feel like it. Specifically, it's as if you merely grow with the challenge incline which in my opinion, simply feels like a flat difficulty curve. All of this makes me wish that it was set up like some sort of arcade tournament fighter instead.
It's difficult to recommend a game as bland as One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows to anyone; even hardcore fans of the manga. It definitely has its charms but underneath the surface, an incredibly hollow experience resides.
- + Gameplay is easy to pick-up-and-play
- + Lots of character customization options
- + It's fairly funny at first
- - Flat combat that severely lacks any sort of skill-testing challenge
- - Extremely tedious campaign
- - Unbalanced multiplayer