Of course, they didn’t listen to me until it was available on Netflix much later, but that’s not the point. The point is that I love Saitama. I love the caped baldy and his wacky adventures in a slightly dystopian world of heroes and villains. He’s one of the first anime characters I’ve seen that is both bald, and still powerful. He inspires me in many ways, and I would like nothing more than a game that gives me the same insatiable grin that the anime adaptation does.
Unfortunately, One Punch Man: Road to Hero 2.0 is more like One Punch Man season 2. A rushed, unfortunate cash-grab that attempting to ride on the momentum of the original series, without actually being anywhere near as dynamic or interesting.
So, now you know that I’m a huge fan of One Punch Man, but I’m a discerning one. ONE’s webcomic is filled with incredible humour, Yusuke Murata’s manga redraw is an artistic triumph, and the anime’s first season is some of the best made-for-TV animation you will ever see. And everything else just falls short.
The strongest hero
The reason for this is simple: everything that made One Punch Man so beloved was exceptional. The anime, webcomic, and manga have all been truly exceptional at times. But the manga industry demands constant content, and the manga’s story hasn’t progressed all that much. The anime debuted five years ago, and it was not able to keep up the momentum, but despite that, it was demanded that more One Punch Man content exist, so games and a second, sub-par, anime series was put into production. And everything since has been a mess.
I still love the manga and webcomic, but when playing a game like One Punch Man: Road to Hero 2.0, I do find myself wondering why. This is one of the most rote and tedious ways to “enjoy” any anime story, and a story as good as Saitama’s is absolutely worn down to nothing here.
Made by the same studio as the recent disappointing Bleach title, Immortal Soul, Road to Hero 2.0 is a reboot and a global release of OPM’s mobile title, and it’s very similar to Immortal Soul. In fact, these might as well be exactly the same game just with the music and characters swapped out.
All you will do in Road to Hero 2.0 is grind your characters against an overlong and incredibly dull story, featuring battle after battle after battle, until you get an incredibly brief – and always visually disappointing – story sequence before you go straight back to fighting useless enemies again.
One Punch Man’s story is so exciting and action-packed that I didn’t think it’d be possible to reduce the content to any form where it was boring – this series is incredible whether drawn by an amateur, a professional, or animated and yet somehow the game is just utterly diabolical.
The weakest adaptation
It’s a gacha RPG. You collect heroes when you have enough currency, you will very rarely get rarer, stronger heroes, and you can combine repeat heroes to upgrade them to a rarer rank. Your characters do not level up automatically, and you have to apply EXP to them outside of battle individually. Tedium and busywork.
And that’s all that will keep you engaged. The battles themselves will barely keep you awake, let alone interested. You will tap enemies for basic attacks, and occasionally a special attack will appear. There are three lanes you and the enemies can stand in, and you may hit multiple enemies with attacks depending on their position.
You can change the formation of your team before each battle, but you’re better off just having strong allies and not messing around with formations until much later in the game. After all, strength is more important than strategy, as is the One Punch Man motto.
But that just means there will be nothing else to keep you playing. The game gives you 12 hours of rewards when you go idle, and it’ll prod you to enter other challenges in the game, but these are all just the same battles over and over again. Stick it on auto, hit the 2x button, and don’t waste your time.
I so badly want an amazing One Punch Man mobile game, I truly do, but Oasis Games has a habit of making what I would describe as gacha shovelware. It’s the same formula again, the same art style from Bleach: Immortal Soul even, and there’s no justifiable reason why you should play this rather than do absolutely anything else. Please anime fans, you deserve so much better than this, and frankly so do I.