I have tried getting into the One Piece anime once before. What drew me to it was all the talk about it being one of the longest running anime shows ever, so it must be great right? But try as I might, for some reason it simply never clicked with me, the characters were too outrageous for them to resonate with me. So when receiving the review code for One Piece: Burning Blood I have to admit I was a little dubious.
It is a fighting game though, this made things a little better, and published by Bandai Namco, and from what I could gleam from the screenshots was it looked similar to the Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm games; an anime series I have been watching since the beginning, and I did find some enjoyment from the games. So I know it is a fighting game, and from the last time I watched the show I remember the main character is called Luffy and he can stretch like Dhalsim from Street Fighter, but that is it.
The only option you can select when you launch the game is “Paramount War”. This is effectively the single player story mode, and after some research I found it is based on the “Marineford” story arc in the anime/manga. You start off in chapter 1 playing as Luffy, whose sole goal is to free his brother Ace. You are presented with a map screen and when selecting each mission. and a narrator recaps events and leads you up to the in-engine animated cutscenes. There are no clips from the anime here, and its all voiced in Japanese I might add! Perfect for you purists out there, but sadly no option for the English dub, just subtitles.
Early battles will teach you the frantic fighting system and how to use the multiple layers of strategy. First of all there is a jump button, a block button and an over the shoulder camera angle, yep, it’s one of those fighting games. Attacking fills up a super move bar for a massive damage move. A second layer of strategy, that is unlocked a little later are the support characters, you can select up to three and they can be activated using the d-pad. These include healing characters or preventing knock-backs. As you progress through the single player campaign you are presented with some branching paths with additional cutscenes and battles, but these aren’t necessary to progress.