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- One Punch Man A Hero Nobody Knows
Ever since it was announced back in June, I’ve been itching to get my hands on One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows. If you’re at all familiar with the anime show, you’ll know that the titular One Punch Man, Saitama, is capable of defeating his foes in just a single punch. He’s the most powerful hero there is, able to dish out insane damage, while also withstanding devastating blows from his enemies. He’s practically invincible, making him supremely overpowered, which should be a problem when you’re a game developer looking to create a game around him. Thankfully, Spike Chunsoft has some clever tricks up its sleeve.
When I finally got to try out the new One Punch Man game, at a post-Gamescom preview event, I was given access to a versus mode. In this mode, I was able to choose three characters for me to control, and three characters for the enemy A.I. to control. In the locked down build that I was playing, there was no access to any kind of story mode, and the character selection was pretty limited. I’m sure there is still a chunk of content to be revealed at a later date. Despite the limitations of the early build, I was still able to get a feel for how Saitama was being incorporated as a unique gameplay mechanic.
I first started out by trying to get Saitama to appear. This is only possible when you make the One Punch Man your third and final character. You then have to survive the fight with your two other characters. Endure until Saitama’s time until arrival counter winds down and you’ll finally be able to bring him in. Once he appears, it’s almost certainly game over for the opposition. He is able to OHKO the majority of enemies and appears to take zero damage from their incoming attacks.
It’s an interesting mechanic, as you have to decide whether you want to try and survive with just two characters to get a flashy win, or use three non-Saitama characters to defeat the enemies in standard combat. I feel like certain enemies are better approached with a defensive strategy, where players are best off holding out until Saitama is ready to rumble, while other enemies are better defeated with a rapid, all-out attack with the other still-capable heroes. I’ll need more time with the game to try out different character combinations, but the main takeaway is that blocking and dodging until Saitama arrives is not the only way to play.
Earlier I said that bringing Saitama into the battle was “almost certainly game over for the opposition.” I said this because I actually managed to beat him in one-on-one combat. How did I defeat the supposedly undefeatable One Punch Man? Well, I pitted him against his one true match: himself. Yep, if you time it right, you can make both players’ Saitamas appear at the same time. When this happens, they can dish out big damage to one another. The fight is essentially just a spamming of special moves, but it was a satisfying feat to pull off.
There isn’t yet a confirmed release date for One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows. Hopefully, before it does eventually launch, the basic fighting mechanics can be tightened up a little. It feels a little too clunky when compared to other modern fighting games. I know that the focus of this game is its Saitama gimmick, and perhaps a compelling story mode (here’s hoping!), but tightening up the combat would make it much more appealing to a wider audience.
As it stands, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows successfully introduces a fun gimmick which shakes up the fighting game formula. It captures the humor and style of the show perfectly, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about other modes and characters.