Some people got their first look at One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows this past weekend. The closed beta test for the game appeared from November 1-3, 2019 and, for those following its development, there weren’t many surprises. Like Jump Force, it is developed by Spike Chunsoft and published by Bandai Namco. Also like Jump Force, it has some of the same UI elements and mechanics.
First, the One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows closed beta offered people a sample of things to come. Tutorial, Local Battles where you could fight the AI, Free Battle (Saitama Available), and Free Battle (Saitama Not Available) VS modes were available. You couldn’t mess around with the character creator, though you could choose from two different avatars when you first loaded up the game. As for playable characters, in all matches the avatar, Genos, Terrible Tornado, Silverfang, Mumen Rider, Atomic Samurai, Speed-o’-Sound Sonic, and Deep Sea King could be selected. (Saitama could only be selected as the third character in your crew in two modes.) Only three stages were available, and you could only choose which one you would fight on if you selected Local Battles.
Once someone chose a VS mode at the counter, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows’ closed beta might have started to look familiar. The character select UI has a similar layout, with the three slots for your team members on the right, the highlighted character’s model in the center of the screen, a summary listing their information on the right, and a slider on the bottom that lets you move left and right to pick your party.
Once you head into a fight, the deja vu could continues. Just like Jump Force, every match in the One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows closed beta was preceded by fighters from each party spouting off a few quips. For example, when I choose a Local Battle match and picked Saitama as my third team member, he reacted to the AI opponent’s Terrible Tornado with the quip, “Who is this… sassy lost child?” When an opposing team had both Atomic Samurai and Silverfang, Atomic Samurai started the match by saying, “The tag team of the century, featuring both fist and blade.” As for the stages, they seemed to have the same sort of feel as Jump Force’s Earth-inspired areas, with the Wilderness and Riverside stages being the two that seemed most like real-world locations that just so happened to have the anime characters fighting there.
As for the actual battles, One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows’ closed beta again brought Jump Force to mind. The most obvious sign is the need to hold a trigger button and press an action button at the same time, when your Move Gauge is filled, to perform certain special moves. (The ability to shift a mode by pressing the analog stick is also an option to power certain characters up and is a new mechanic.) But, the general flow of battle is familiar. You are in an open space and not bound to a specific plane. Dodging and guarding is an invaluable mechanic, with dashing, dodging, and stepping all highlighted as means of quickly moving out of the way of standard and special attacks to survive.
While some things felt familiar, there were opportunities to see new mechanics. The inclusion of items that could pop into the field in the Local Battle fights against AI opponents and Saitama appearing about 268 seconds after a 300 second match (when he is available) helped set things apart in the closed beta. In cases where Saitama is available, someone who didn’t pick him will really need to push to finish a match before he shows up, while those who do will need to do some turtling to ensure the match lasts long enough for him to arrive and one-hit KO every enemy.
The One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows closed beta gives people a second chance to see the Jump Force mechanics in a game where there aren’t the same sort of concerns about the character designs and other trappings. Instead, people get to see how these elements work when combined with an art direction that looks like it will be more faithful to the original series and new mechanics highlighting Saitama and other heroes’ special abilities. The One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows closed beta made it feel like this could be a fighting game along the lines of Jump Force and My Hero: One’s Justice, where people come and play due to a love for the source material.
One Punch Man: A Hero Nobody Knows will come to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in 2020.