Worry not, Namco isn’t removing this from sale this February like Jump Force, just shutting down the online servers for it.. already (game came out in 2020), but i’ve played this this past month, so enjoy this extra anime fighter review of One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows, it’s on the house!
On a conceptual level, i feel pity towards a game like this, based on a popular shonen series that turned heads at the time because of it’s modern attitudine and unique premise of an overpowered superhero that defies his goofy look and can literally one-shot any foe he meets with a single punch.
One Punch Man is also more than a gimmick, but the premise was ripe to do something quite different with it in terms of a videogame adaptations… and instead Namco Bandai did exactly the most obvious, lazy and low effort thing they could with the license, another 3D arena anime fighter, in an overpopulated sea of the buggers, mostly all released by Namco Bandai anyway.
So already the potential of the premise is squashed on the most milquetoast idea possible, instead of taking any risk and doing something interesting with it, like a sim where you have to manage the heroes across the various cities and manage to keep thing in check before the inevitable arrival of Saitama one-shotting the monster dejour.
The basic gameplay is… very typical 3d anime arena fighter that reminds me of Jump Force, since it boosts a DBZ style “power charging” system and it has you create an OC that will interact with OPM character during the story, makes sense since it’s also from Spike Chunsoft, so it’s them retreading their homework…. and somehow managing to make gameplay less interesting than the one seen in Jump Force, that one had many huge issues but not quite gameplay.
It’s not bad or unplayable, it works fine, but it just feels like the developer is sticking to the very basic anime fighter template and changing the way some features work to differentiate a bit the various licensed anime fighters, and regardless of that, gameplay do feel similar to Jump Force, but slighly stiffer and lacking polish or any distinctive strong feature alongside the basics.
There’s no good way to chase-dash or continue fighting while launching enemies, there’s no follow up or air combat at all, despite having the teleporting evasion being tied to the parrying system and its timing. Not that every anime fighter has to have airborne combat or DBZ style air-chases/clashes, but here’s there no proper elegant way or system in place to connect combos into juggling to keep pressure, each character has even less combos and specials than in Jump Force, and it just feels like something it’s missing here in terms of mechanics.
There are some gimmicks attached that draw from the licensed property, as in you can be joined by heroes that will arrive to the scene in a certain amount of time and join the fight as playable characters for that fight (the enemy can receive similar support), and once in a while there are random events like meteors showers, calamities like underground monster rising to the surface to target a specific or random character. And i do mean “once in a while”.
Also, there’s an actually unique feature that involves picking Saitama, as he playable, invulnerable and can literally one shot any character, but if you pick him for your team, he will arrive incredibly late to the scene, so you have to survive until then. But even that comparetively huge timer is ultimately not that big of a problem, as you can decrease the “hero arrival time” by playing decently… at least in the story matches.
Most likely the timer it’s absurdly long in multiplayer matches… so bonus points for effort in incorporating this into the game… minus points because this completely destroys any balance for multiplayer in any shape of competive fashion, unless both players pick Saitama. I think, anyway, i didn’t bother to check it out myself, but that “unique gimmick” in itself didn’t help in making the gameìs multiplayer component even being somewhat attractive and worth spending time on, so i’m not surprised that by 2022 all the online servers for it will be shut down.
it’s also telling there’s NO online based trophies, not a quite red flag but still indicative.
Even Jump Force received more support… arguably because it was clearly WAY more unfinished and because they wanted to squeeze as much microtransactions money from that garbage fire as possible before announcing its complete removal from digital stores.
I mentioned Jump Force a lot already, and i will do again here because OPM: A Hero Nobody Knows is nearly identically structured, with a hub city where to access the various missions, online matches, various facilities, and doubling as a lobby if you decided to go online.
On the upside, the city itself has more life to it, but it’s still kinda laughable as a hub world, not in itself, but because it’s a modern game sectioned in many small areas, each loaded with not much going on or low quality assets… and STILL with some noticeable, absurd framerate slowdowns going on when you so much dare as move the fuckin camera around. To say nothing of the unbelievable pop up of character models, i often go to an objective marker indicating an NPC and there’s just the marker for 3 seconds, as the character has not loaded in yet. COME ON.
And this is true even in offline mode, it’s just so badly optimized and-or poorly put together, a shame because it feels like a city in the OPM world, and you can take quests that often involve also changing into different attires or changing classes to even enter them, alongside random encounter with mysterious monster than pop up to fight you.
Yeah, there are a smidge more RPG elements, including your OC being able to properly allocate exp to improve stats, change and level up a class/type of fighter the roster it’s divided in, as each class gives the OC character a different moveset and class restricted super moves he can learn and equip, even more unlocked by you improve your affinity with the various characters.
This is nice but it’s also a slight downgrade from Jump Force, as you can’t have a character with the Esper class and use Power-type specials, not unreasonable but also kind of a bummer.
i’ll say this though: the character editor it’s pretty good, and the game fully uses it by making you face incredibly ridiculous monsters and criminals and so on, which indeed feels like One Punch Man, going to hulking bootleg Nameks to carboard boxes wearing weirdos and the odd stuff like the “kappa-escque” fodder fighters.
Also, you have a small room similar to Saitama’s you can customize and expose your stuff, like scaffoldings, wall scrolls, TVs, and so on. Pretty cute, and i do i like how both the unlocking of areas-features in the city and how the grading and rankings work, both in structure and in adapting the manga/anime hero rank system and their duties.
But once again, the Jump Force parallels inevitably come back, even in terms of presentation.
It doesn’t look as ugly as that game did, let’s make that clear, but it looks and feels very cheap nonetheless, and it’s full of the same inconsistencies, like lots of cheap cutscenes where the characters model randomly move or don’t move their lips when talking, until you get jumpscared by sudden “gums flapping” and voice acting out of nowhere. Sometimes both.
There’s no way to tell since sometimes it happens for some story missions that are important to the plot, sometimes there is voice acting for random ass cutscenes before a trivial or not-that important mission, no rhyme or reason at all. I was honestly surprised by the fact only by the end of Chapter 2 of the story i heard voice acting, seriously, what the hell? Even more since it has an english dub, i don’t expect it from licensed games like these from Namco Bandai, and the dub it’s alright.
Still, the lypsynch it’s slightly off and the cel shaded models used here aren’t able of any nuance, so they look more like the characters have masks more than faces, at least most of the time, in some cutscenes they look more expressive and are able to emote decently, but to be honest the technical aspects of this game were dated when it launched, it looked cheapish even “back then”.
Shame because i like the way this handles the story and the discovery and interactions with the OPM characters, i would have been pointless to just tell this story from the prospective of Saitama, and the OC character mirrors the main character situation of the titular “hero unknown”.
Speaking of which, the game retells the story of the first season of the anime (basically until the alien invasion), just from a side prospective to Saitama and co, with your crafted OC as a young nobody hero starting from zero and making his way through the top, meeting the important OPM characters in often key events from the manga/anime.
The game makes you fight various missions in order to improve your rank with the city and as a hero by undertaking important story missions given by the Hero Association itself, and while it fits the license, it’s a shame the missions themselves are the bare minimum possible.
Like in Jump Force (take a huge shot) , they’re main point/reward is unlocking other playable characters, and the roster its also pretty good overall,(even if the Season Pass DLC characters should have been in the base game to begin with), but the missions themselves really are there to be there, to have content, just changing how many opponents you fight, how hard they are to beat, if you (or the opponent) have allies coming to help… that’s it.
The arenas change, but there are no location specific gimmicks, so they exist for aesthetic variety, and… come on, you could add extra limitations or rules, like you start with reduced or decreasing health, enemies have higher defense or can’t be juggled. Sometimes you have to decrease an enemy health bar by a certain percentage or just survive a set amount of time, but that’s it.
Soul Calibur 2 had these things in 2002, for fuck sake, how can these developers can NOT be arsed to do at least that? At least the main story fights against notable foes and series characters are harder and will require some effort, but still, even for an anime fighter there’s not much depth or challenge.
So yeah, this means going through the story mode and missions becomes repetitive even faster than usual for story mode battles in a fighting game. Y e s , i eventually DID find a small handful of missions that had the opponent regenerate health continously, made you fight poisoned (so HP keeps decreasing), or opponents with buffed up defenses, but the fact there are so few of these with the dozens upon dozens of missions available,,, well, just proves my point.
Even before reaching the halfpoint mark of the story mode you’ll be more than ready to wrap things up and be done with the game, i know i did, and even if you’re here to have some simple fighter fun and re(visit) the story of the series with the main scenes… you’d be better off just watching the anime again or for the fist time, since there are occasionaly clips of OPM Season 1 used, while usually they just recreate the scenes with the in-game engine, to an okay degree.
In some cases though you can see them being “lazy” as they just use a still screenshot from the anime (not even a clip) and just put text over it instead of recreating it in-engine or reusing a clip from the show, they made some cutscenes tediously long and cheap: in some there are various citizens but they cleverly never shown up to their actual faces, otherwise they would have to animate those and lypsynch the dialogue as well. It’s the “little things”.
Or in some cutscenes you can tell obvious errors, like Boros’ body laying down but not making contact with the floor properly, he just lies defeated 1 inch above the floor.
Seriously, the ranking system it’s faithful but exists just to make the game longer and grindier, and it gets worse in this regard, as the more you progress in the main missions more you’re often forced to reach a certain “hero city score” to even unlock a story mission, often to beat that and immediatly be thrown into the grind again.
To be fair some story events do speed up the ranking progress as you would expect, you can tell this game wasn’t balanced or designed with microtransactions in mind, which is a sad state of affairs for videogames overall when this is a real “plus” factor. But it is.
Sadly i can’t quantify myself how much the story took to beat, but i’d wager around 10/11 hours, roughly, i would say so. I wouldn’t exactly recommend sticking to the game to actually beat it.
Most people didn’t anyway, as – as already mentioned – it quickly becomes repetitive and loopy, and doesn’t feel as long and tedious as Jump Force (you’re drunk now, stop), but it’s due to the plot actually having a structure and stuff like not being a mess.
This is not a bad game, but it’s almost immediatly forgettable, ironically fitting but also disappointing that One Punch Man got such a mediocre, forgettable and unimaginative videogame adaptation, as the series deserved way better.
I guess that’s what happens when make such a boring and milquetoast choice as to make a 1 vs 1 fighter about ONE PUNCH MAN.
Still, if you’re curious and like the OPM series, i’d say pick it up for 15 or less on sale, you can have some fun with it, despite everything… which includes the fact Jump Force had better gameplay. And it’s a fact.