One Piece: Burning Blood
Top Critic Average
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
One Piece: Burning Blood - Fourth Gear Luffy Revealed! | PS4, XB1, Vita, Steam
One Piece: Burning Blood understands what makes the pirate life so compelling in the source material, and is fairly successful in channelling that roguish spirit into its chaotic fights. That flashy, firm commitment to action will feel welcoming to One Piece's biggest fans, but confusing to everyone else. It's great to have something made just for fans, though even Luffy's biggest supporters will be let down by the brief, limited campaign. At its best, this wild and crazy fighter makes for a fun distraction for folks who've been dying for more One Piece games to get localized.
While I do remember shouting, without irony, "I despise this game" during the crazy difficulty swings, looking as critically as possible it's not a terrible way of spending a few hours. (Though for reference, I haven't used that many taboo words in short, angry bursts since I learned the words being used.) If you're a fan of the show or manga, you'll surely find something to like in Burning Blood. If you're only a casual fan or have a friend who is, after some adjustments to the battle system, you should have some fun as well. Just remember that the story is an exercise in abuse: it'll give you a win before pushing your face in the dirt, and not always in the fun, big-kid-who-doesn't-know-their-own-strength kind of way.
One Piece: Burning Blood is a great example of a licensed videogame, and it gets so much right, bringing the characters of One Piece to life in spectacular fashion. It's a shame that the limited and unwelcoming narrative scope and unnecessary difficulty spikes take away from what is otherwise a great arena brawler.