Nearly all anime heroes are obnoxiously over-powered. It’s such a fact of life that the whole point of One Punch Man is to satirize it. The anime follows Saitama, who is so absurdly strong that a single punch is enough to obliterate his enemies. Frankly, he’s bored by it, and playing as him wouldn’t be all that much fun.
That’s the idea at the center of One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows: it’s more interesting to be a character who isn’t unbeatable.
So, to keep things interesting, you play as an unknown hero, one that you get to create yourself. This is where you’ll realize that this isn’t a game interested in taking itself seriously. You can equip all sorts of nonsense items. Want a horse head on your shoulder? You got it. Want an octopus on your face. No problem! How about bright-orange skin and blue hair? Damn straight.
There are Some Who Call Him, Tim
Your choices in A Hero Nobody Knows will eventually lead the Hero Association to give you a name. Of course, you can change this name, but they’re fairly funny. Mine, for example, was Mole Feet, on account of the mole feet that my character had.
You then run through tutorials that introduce you to the game’s combat mechanics. You’ve got weak attacks, strong attacks, charge attacks, sweep attacks, launching attacks, and special attacks. You can guard and dodge too, just for balance. It’s easy to learn, but it felt as though there is actually a bit of depth to it all.
Part of that feeling of complexity came from further character customization. You can choose to be a different kind of hero; maybe you prefer speed over power or vice versa. Either way, your decisions dictate the moves you can use and your abilities in battle.
You can go even further than that, though; you can actually choose different special moves that are based on other heroes. So, you can take the Consecutive Normal Punches from Saitama while also having a counterattack taken from Silverfang. It’s fun, and it means that you can constantly tweak your character as you go through the game.
You level up too, which means stats… which also means that heroes who outrank you, to begin with, can eventually become child’s play if you train enough.
The combat itself allows for up to three fighters to duke it out against three other fighters — but only one at a time. Things get interesting, though, when it comes to balancing the power-level of these characters.
Due to the sheer, overwhelming strength of someone like Saitama, he isn’t available immediately if you pick him. What happens instead is that he’ll turn up to the fight late, meaning you’ll have to try and survive using your two characters against the other team’s three characters.
It’s a really cool system that allows for some potentially interesting strategies involving picking lower-level characters just to have an extra body. It’s not the only chaotic wrinkle to the battle system, though.
The world of One Punch Man is one of regular world-destroying events. It’s the reason there is a Hero Association. So, to help represent this in the game, these events can happen at random during battles.
You can be just about to launch a massive combo, only to see a warning about meteors approaching the city. You’ve then got to try and dodge said meteors as they collide with the battlefield around you. It’s pure chaos, and, in a similar way to Smash Bros, you can choose to turn them off if you’d rather just have a normal fight.
As of now, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows feels good to play, and I’m really itching to start off the adventure again with my own custom hero, just to see how the story unfolds.
You’re not the main hero of the world’s story, that’s Saitama, but you’re still the main hero in your own story. It’s a fascinating take on things, and the combat felt like a lot of fun. It all depends on pacing, really, although the multiplayer probably won’t have that issue.
We’ll see how things pan out when One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows launches on February 27 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.