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One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows Xbox One review — Amazing fighting in a bland world

The fighting is sublime, but other aspects need more work.

One Punch Man
(Image: © Bandai Namco)

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is a brawler that takes place in the popular anime's universe. You create a character of your own and fight through various story missions that involve bizarre monsters and other villains. The plot is somewhat basic and essentially presents you with an excuse to destroy monsters. While the fighting mechanics are sublime, other aspects of the title needs more polish. The voice acting is minimal, the animations outside of combat are clunky, and even on Xbox One X there are a lot of performance issues.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows background and gameplay

If you're familiar with the show, you'll immediately recognize many of the characters like Saitama, Tank Top Tiger, and Silver Fang. On numerous occasions, you can call on their help to fight alongside you. However, the ultimate goal of the game is to climb the ranks of the Hero Association and become an "S Class" champion. This isn't as easy as it sounds because you'll have to fight incredibly difficult monsters – and other twisted heroes – along the way.

Ever since One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows was announced, everyone has been asking Bandai Namco if you can play as Saitama. Well, the answer is you can, but it's only during fights. You can make your appearance look like him too, but you won't ever step into his shoes when it comes to life outside of the arena. Saitama's animations, if he loses, are quite hilarious too, and not what you'd expect. Luckily, he's still the most powerful character in the game so taking control of him is a rare treat... when he decides to show up that is. It's a good thing you're fighting in teams of three and can easily switch between characters with the press of a button.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows fighting mechanics

One Punch Man

Source: Bandai Namco (Image credit: Source: Bandai Namco)

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows features your standard fighting moves of punching, kicking, and special strikes, but the game takes it one step further by introducing numerous fighting styles. For example, let's say that you help Tank Top Tiger defeat a monster. He'll teach you how to fight like him so you can use his moves. The more characters you meet, the more fighting styles you learn. They also come with a number of powerful special abilities.

Upgrading plays an important part in the game because you have to increase your attack power if you want to take on tougher monsters or other heroes. Once you level up, you can assign a couple of skill points to a number of attributes that grant you more life, strength, and so on. I would recommend repeating certain fights where you didn't get an "S" rank because you'll need to learn how to block properly to succeed. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way because the game's difficulty ramps up quite quickly after the first few fights.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows exploration

One Punch Man Final

Source: Bandai Namco (Image credit: Source: Bandai Namco)

The One-Punch Man universe is fascinating, and the heroes and monsters are quite creative. Just being able to play as the overpowered Saitama during fights is thrilling. However, that's not all the game has to offer. When you aren't fighting, you'll be exploring the town and its various districts.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows may have role-playing mechanics, but you essentially go from one level to the next. It's definitely not open world by any stretch of the imagination, but the ability to interact with other characters and improve your "relationship" with them adds some more depth to the experience.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows technical issues

One Punch Man

Source: Bandai Namco (Image credit: Source: Bandai Namco)

The fighting animations are amazing, and you feel like an overpowered hero. However, outside of combat, traversal is stiff and feels unrefined. The same applies to the voice acting and hand gestures. While there is some dialogue that is voiced, the majority of it is completely silent. Your character also has a habit of repeating the same phrase again and again, which gets annoying after a while.

I understand that One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is a 3D fighting game, but the combat-free zones didn't have to be this unpolished. I experienced the same problem with Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, but not to this extent. The same amount of care should've been put toward the open levels as it was put towards the fighting mechanics.

My final gripe with One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is that it's not Xbox One X Enhanced. The cel-shaded look would've greatly benefited from an increase in resolution. Unfortunately, even on the powerful console, it fluctuates between 30 frames per second (FPS) and 60 FPS when you're exploring the town. Given the claustrophobic levels and small arenas, it seems like this is a direct result of poor optimization than a problem with underpowered hardware.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows final thoughts

One Punch Man

Source: Bandai Namco (Image credit: Source: Bandai Namco)

Overall, One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows is a great fighting game, but it could've been so much more. I just wish it was on the level of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot with expansive levels and a complex story filled with emotional moments.

If you love the One-Punch Man anime, you should pick this game up because it fulfills the fantasy of climbing up the hero ranks. However, keep in mind that you may be disappointed outside of the fighting. Hopefully, the developer will issue a patch to fix the performance at least, because I don't think the exploration animations or voice acting will get better after launch.

One-Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows was reviewed on an Xbox One X with a code provided by the publisher.

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.