One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows on PS4
Anime games run the gamut in quality, but most tend to fall into a comfortable niche of being passable enough for fans to enjoy. One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is one such game, presenting interesting ideas for an adaptation of the iconic anime series but never fleshing them out enough to achieve anything worthwhile for those not interested in the One Punch Man universe.
Set during the events of One Punch Man’s first season, the game sees players take the role of their own created character. As said character, they’re tasked with completing jobs for the hero association, which run the gamut from fetch quests for characters in a small over-world to battling created characters who play the role of villains, monsters, and thugs.
After completing enough tasks for the Association, players are allowed to assist in missions tied to the series’ plot, encountering villains from the show and teaming up with iconic heroes like Saitama, Genos and Mumen Rider to take them out.
It’s a pretty standard set-up for an anime tie-in game, and as far as story modes for fighting titles go, it gets the job done well enough.
In execution though, this approach leaves something to be desired. For every one mission tied to the game’s plot, or fight which really gives players the chance to flex their skills they’ve gained with the game, there are a slew of side missions the player needs to complete first.
This leads to brief moments of really enjoying the game, and loving the fact that you can immerse yourself in the series’ universe, cut short by a progression wall you can only get past by grinding through battles with steadily harder versions of the same stock characters, over and over and over again.
Which is a shame, because One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows has some interesting ideas it brings to the table, especially in how it plays.
The game is an arena fighter with a slant toward more traditional fighting mechanics, with the ability to execute combos, grabs and guards as they see fit. Players enter one of several arenas with either one character from the show or their created character, or a team of up to three characters from the game’s roster of 28 combatants.
Each combatant also has a fighting style that falls into one of nine different fighting styles, with different styles proving better against others in a Rock, Paper, Scissors fashion.
Hellish Blizzard and Terrible Tornado’s Esper battle style can make quick work of Genos thanks to their ranged attacks; Genos can demolish heavy hitters like Puri Puri Prisoner and Tank Top Master thanks to his superior speed, and Puri Puri Prisoner can smash through the guard of Silver Fang, Amai Mask and other Standard fighting types with his Power attacks.
Each of these fighting styles can likewise be unlocked for use by players’ created character, allowing them to experiment with each one to either gain a good understanding of them all or master whichever one meshes best with them.
Admittedly, this can make the game feel unbalanced at points, and leave players struggling if their style of choice is weak against their opponent’s. And yet, it adds a bit of depth to fights that wouldn’t be found in other arena fighters based off of anime.
Again though, the story mode’s flaws interfere with letting these bright points shine. You only gain access to these different characters and fighting styles by playing through the story mode and unlocking them at a snail’s pace.
As a result, players are left slogging through repetitive side missions in order to unlock the full roster and suite of fighting styles, dragging down the experience as a whole for what feels like an attempt to pad the game’s overall content.
And then, there’s the presentation. At its best, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows runs well enough to not have any slowdown while players are engaged in matches in both the game’s story mode and multiplayer matches.
The graphics are likewise are passable enough, and provide fairly clean digital versions of the anime’s characters and locals.
But that’s only when it’s at its best. Fairly often, players will see the game chug and sink into lower frame rates, especially when exploring the overworld as part of the story mode.
The audio is also a huge issue. While not as prevalent with the Japanese audio, the English audio is plagued by a swath of issues from improper balancing to a grainy quality, making some of the more important lines and deliveries from characters painful to listen to.
It all serves to bring the game down even further, and make it that much harder to appreciate what the title manages to do right or even exceptionally well.
One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is not a bad game. It clearly has ideas it wants to bring to the table, and with some patience, players can find those ideas and have a blast seeing how they can be applied to a fighter. Overall though, its flaws make it hard for those ideas to shine, and hold the game back from being anything other than an offering for die-hard “One Punch Man” fans to dig their teeth into.
- Solid fighting game mechanics
- A wide array of different fighting styles
- A large roster of characters
- Has repetitive, mandatory story mode
- Graphical hiccups and slowdowns
- Abysmal audio issues
February 28, 2020
Spike Chunsoft, Chunsoft
Bandai Namco Entertainment
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC