Boy, do we have a treat in store for you. We were – once again – kindly invited behind closed doors into Bandai Namco UK HQ for a sneak peak at not one, not two, not even three, but four upcoming games, releasing on Xbox One in the first half of 2020 – One Punch Man, My Hero One’s Justice 2, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 and Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris . Whether you’re an anime fan or not, there are some huge franchises with new games on the horizon and there’s most likely something for everybody. Take a look and see for yourself.
4. One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows
One Punch Man is a fairly young but well established franchise in the anime world. It started out as a webcomic and quickly went viral, and has since spawned an equally popular television series. Believe it or not, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is the first video game in the series to be released on any console.
Saitama is the titular “One Punch Man” who has gotten bored due to his pretty impressive ability to overcome any enemy with a single punch. You, however, get to create your own character to play as and the results can be… interesting. In fact, someone not too far from me was having lots of fun designing what can only be described as an utter monstrosity. This is a roundabout way of saying that the character editor is in depth, varied and allows those to show their creative inner flare.
When you’re all set, you learn you are a beginner hero and at the moment won’t be getting to take on the bigger jobs. To prove your worth, you’ll need to pick up the more menial stuff, and climb the ranks before you progress to the big leagues. Alongside this you will be able to constantly improve your character’s stats and abilities, giving a further sense of individuality to your creation.
The game is most certainly based around fighting (more on that in a sec), but there are open world elements here too. The hub world you start off in will allow you to explore (albeit a limited area to start with), take on side quests and view achievements you tick off as you win battles. You will then be rewarded with plenty of gold for your efforts.
As I say, it’s mainly about the fighting in One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows, and this is where the game shines. Anyone who is a fan will be aware of the zany comic edge to the franchise, and I am delighted to report the game is no different. You’ll be fighting in 3v3 battles but often your backup will be late, racing to the battlefield as you scrap, popping up in the corner of the screen.
The vast majority of fighting is done hand to hand, with lots of variation in punching, dodging, dashing and executing special moves. During your battle, “events” will randomly trigger that disrupt all those involved. During one of my battles, a local TV outlet broke the news that a meteor shower was incoming, and as luck would have it balls of rock started to rain down from above.
With over 20 characters from the franchise confirmed already, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows looks to be a faithful, plentiful debut for Saitama and the gang. It’s a fighting game peppered with some simple RPG elements and it’s coming very soon, on 28th February in fact.
Check out our exclusive battle footage here
3. My Hero One’s Justice 2
Also known as “My Hero Academia”, this is an anime that is truly huge. Whilst not necessarily on our shores,worldwide it is similar to Naruto or Dragon Ball Z in terms of impact, but for the current generation. The game is a sequel to My Hero One’s Justice and is aiming to be bigger and better than its predecessor.
In the same style as the first game, My Hero One’s Justice 2 is a pure fighter. You control one character, and have two sidekicks who assist you throughout the battle. As well as each fighter having their own distinct style, there are special moves available too, as you might imagine. You can also team up to perform “plusultra” specials which get all three characters involved when executed together. These are beautifully animated, if a little on the blindingly colourful side.
Each stage is a destructive environment, meaning it will change throughout the battle. You might fall through the floor into a different room or smash through several walls as you attempt to knock seven bells out of each other. The fighting is done on a 3D plane too, so the battlegrounds feel generous in size.
The game boasts over 40 playable characters, with new ones added straight from the series since the last game was released. You’ll also be able to play through memorable scenes and moments from the anime itself. My Hero One’s Justice 2 is bonkers and over the top, but most of all loads of fun to play. Just like an anime fighter should be. Grab it on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC from 13th March 2020.
Check out some battle footage over on our YouTube channel
2. One Piece Pirate Warriors 4
One Piece is another huge franchise, in fact there have been over 900 episodes of the anime series made to date. It’s been a while since the last game in the series was released, that being over four years ago.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is, um, absolutely crazy. There was a limited amount of the game on show at the Bandai hands-on, but I was lucky enough to play through a mission as “Big Mom”. Big by name, and by nature, she is the leader of the “Big Mom Pirates”. My aim was to rampage through the forest, and capture each area by wiping out hundreds and hundreds of enemy minions, along with their leaders and elite units.
Your on-screen map helps you keep track of the carnage, and you’ll also be able to rescue allies along the way. Be careful though, because as you wander around the trees will close ranks and box you in to certain areas, forcing you to dispatch all the enemies lying in wait before you can move on.
There is some method to the madness however. Before you go to battle, you can equip four skills to aid you. Each has a star rating depending on how powerful it is, and each also takes a short while to charge up again after use. Timing is very much the key here.
This action/adventure game will no doubt have legions of fans eagerly awaiting its release with bated breath. As someone who isn’t overly familiar with the series, the game is lots of fun to play even though I hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on. One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 releases on 27th March 2020.
See my playthrough below…
1. Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris
Based on another incredibly popular franchise, Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris links to the 4th arc of the anime series. This RPG is set specifically in the “Underworld”, which is just one of the mysterious virtual worlds from the series. The game will contain story segments from the anime as well as brand new strands for players.
You’ll be in control of a party four strong, and can switch between playing as each character at any time. This means that if you believe your allies can support you more effectively, you have the power to make it happen. You’ll have to balance using weapons and magic, with many skills at your disposal.
As with any RPG it’s a numbers game, and there are some vast figures you’ll be dealing with here. Of course, I’m talking hit points, so combining your party’s skills effectively is absolutely crucial to safeguard your group. Not only that, but timing your blocks well is also important, as you’ll be facing down some pretty fearsome attacks. Expect to be battling both humans and monsters alike in the open world environment which is shaping up to look very pretty indeed.
Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris is scheduled for a May 22nd release.
Check out how I fared against one of the bigger foes below.
Plenty to get excited about there, I’m sure you’ll agree. Thoughts? Feelings? Let us know on all the usual socials. And obviously we have to give Bandai Namco a huge shout for running such an awesome event and allowing us to get some hands-on time with these mammoth titles.