Ah One Piece, a popular ongoing shōnen anime that’s 650+ episodes strong as of writing this review. To be very vague about it so people have a better understanding before talking about a game based on it, in a nutshell it’s about a pirate orientated land where pirates are trying to find a treasure that Gold Roger hid 20+ years ago he calls “One Piece” before his execution, whoever finding it being deemed worthy of being called Pirate King. There are people with bizarre powers that they aquired from eating the devil’s fruits, the downfall is that they cannot swim at all and become deadweight in the water. The main protaganist Monkey D. Luffy (the one with a big X scar on his chest and the straw hat) ate one of those fruit, making him a “rubber man” and can stretch any part of his body and uses it quite efficiently in battle of course. So it’s safe to say that people with weird powers are fair game in the lore so some characters are indeed interesting.
This is my first time playing a one piece game so I have no previous experience if there was games prior to this so my opinion is unbiased that way but as you can tell I watch the show and quite familiar with it that way so I’m not going totally blind into this.
The plot is standalone and is not a retelling of any part of the show which is a double edged sword in my opinion but it does give them more creative freedom with what happens. Before getting into the actual action of the game, you are introduced to a man called Count Red who is powerful enough to be compared to Gold Roger and Whitebeard who are very powerful people in the lore so you know right away this spiffy looking character original to this game is going to be the main antagonist. Right after it cuts to the straw hats posse’s boat who are with a Raccoon looking character called Pato, who is also original to the game but they are giving him a lift to the forbidden island where he has a reason for going there. It’s obvious that in their time they have gained a rapport of some kind on their travels. The new characters look like they could be in the one piece universe in terms of their design.
Rawr I’m the main villain
There is no introduction to the one piece cast or a brief history of them so they assume that you are a one piece fan and know what to expect which can be seen as a put off for newcomers who would be a bit clueless and feel like they are possibly thrown into the deep end a little, but from my perspective it doesn’t look like the game spoils too much so it would be possible for someone a bit unaware of the series that likes the looks of the characters could pick it up and play, will just need to accept stuff as they go along. For people that have seen it, they need to be quite up to date to know the characters that do show up in your travels, not to give too much away I think you would need to have seen up to episode 630 to know the people that appear but like I said before it’s not a big issue in terms of spoilers. A strong point in the show is the depth of bonds with the characters and how its not really touched on or referred to much does hit a nerve for me but that is just my opinion
Cause we ALL know he’s like that right?
If I had to explain the playstyle, I would compare it a lot with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate but with a much simpler fighting mechanic. You’re in large area’s you can explore and collecting materials in different ways (that I’ll get into later) while heading to your eventual goal. One gripe I have with the way they have set this up is that there’s no form of minimap for the game despite the maps being quite spacious with key locations. Needing to pause the action and get your barrings to find out where to go gets quite tedious after a while but if you don’t, it’s easy to get lost in some circumstances.
You are here, check back in 10 minutes
One other complaint would be while your exploring the landscape the camera is a little close and finicky to your team but it zooms out a lot while your in battle so it corrects itself that way, would’ve been nice to have a option maybe when you out of fights to keep the zoomed out look all the time. There is 2 player local co-op multiplayer in this game which I feel like they’ve missed an opportunity with, a second player can take control of a member of your team while you are out adventuring but the game does this by making a split along the middle and making 2 16:9 views on your tv. It works fine but looks a little strange to me.
The fighting is set up to be mostly a 2 button masher for generating energy for your meter where you can then unleash more iconic moves that you would know the characters to do or a team combo, the list at the side is something that shows up every fight, if you complete the list of combos it shows it gives you a boost to your gauge and for a small amount of time you do more damage til another combo list appears. There’s a button to also jump, dodge and lock onto targets. If you have the option to dodge a move a prompt will show up letting you know you can dodge/counter and will only show up for the time-frame window you have to do so. Because the button and combo setup is quite simple the fight do feel quite repetitive at times but after a while you don’t mind as much. Every character having different combos that look like something they’d actually fight like in the show so I was loving it that way. Boss fights work in the same way, there are no special quick-time events and taken on in the same format as fighting normal enemies but instead you are in a contained arena until it’s over.
Not much to say here, it’s amazingly cell shaded and looks very anime like. There seems to be no graphical glitches I’ve come across yet and the quality of it is pretty consistent throughout the game. At parts it likes to show off a little that it’s fine, doing a freeze of the action in a cut-scene and rotate round and change camera perspectives on it since they used the same character models from the gameplay in cut-scenes as well. The town is a new location but does look like it would fit in the world of One Piece so it’s not off putting, everywhere else are places that Luffy and co. have been on their travels and feel quite accurate for the most part, even having little references to the show as you travel about.
The random enemies you fight in the game are all cannon fodder from the show too, they feel quite generic and their fighting for some are quite copy and paste but it works fine.
The music in this game is a mixed bag for me, some sounds like it could fit into the show and some not but if you ignore that and just enjoy it for music, it sounds fine. Not very strong and epic sounding but fits well with environments. The sound is nicely done, sound effects sound very anime like for moves that are part of the show (Like Luffys stretching sounds very accurate) and attacks sound like they have real weight to them. The have voices in it and its the japanese cast of the show and it’s amazing, everything sounds accurate for what their characters would say and act like in situations and I like to think they were portrayed well.
The main story of the game is in an episode format and I won’t spoil how many there is but if you beast that side of the game it will take a few hours to complete, the characters you control also have a level up mechanic which cap at 50, the only control you have on stat enhancing for your crew is by feeding them food at the restaurant you can unlock in the town hub.
As I mentioned earlier you gather materials in your travels on the large maps you explore in the main game which are used a lot in a mini-game in the shape of a town which is the hub of the main story’s game.
Get used to talking to her a lot about this kinda stuff
There are locations on the maps which can only be interacted with certain characters and you can only select 3 when you set out on your travels so there is a replay factor there to backtrack and see what you missed that way. You can also capture stuff using an insect net and fishing rod, and each have a small mini-game determining if you’ll catch your pray or not. The one thing I didn’t like about this was there was a strong emphasis on needing to upgrade them 2 items as well before you could have a chance to obtaining some creatures, which make sense I guess but early on into the game during a fishing encounter, the timer for catching the prey would run out before the 1st ever button prompt in the minigame showed up, which gave off a bad first impression for me. That said after short while I quickly made the upgrades and it was really quite simple to catch everything from then on.
Press the prompted buttons as they appear, the sooner the more effect it has on the status bar at the top you need to dwindle down
Rockband but catching fishy fishes
Amongst the shops you unlock is the tavern where you can do side quests which are returning to the large maps with a goal in place and most times a predetermined team to venture back out with, these were quite fun and helped making the gathering of materials less tedious since you kept everything you obtained while out on the quest plus the obvious award for completing it which is sometime money and material orientated.
Most of your investment into this game will be no doubt making the town be as glorious as it can be while upgrading things as you go along.
The other mode in the game is called the Battle Colosseum, it has a little scenario that the cast are stuck in and even though its what you’d expect from hearing of title of this mode there is a little meaningless story behind it, which is a nice touch. It’s all contained fights and you pick from a cast of characters that unlock separately from whatever you have done in the main game. Fights in this mode include beating 150 cannon fodder, beating a boss with cannon fodder helping them, a boss rush, 2 vs 2 amongst other things. It treats the unlocks in this mode as challenges you need to complete, some being benefits to the main story like unlocking a bonus quest to be picked up in the town hub, unlocking recipes for use in the main story or simply extra characters to use in this mode.
Quite a long list of challenges to do (for the record)
For an original story game based on an anime series it’s pretty well done except the lack of character introduction. The battle system is easy to pick up and play but it does feel tedious and very easy if you have quick reflexes since you can dodge the majority of moves with the prompt that appears. With the upgrading, levelling characters, challenges and quests there is more than enough to keep you busy while you play this game. You can tell they put a lot of effort into the game and it looks and sounds awesome but grinding materials for upgrades isn’t for everyone and I’m sure after you acquire the majority of the things that way there could be a drop in replay factor. I would recommend this for fans of the series , for people new to it you may be wary about it but you might end up liking it and gaining an interest in the show it’s based on since you see quite a colourful selection of people in this game. Don’t forget this comes with over 50 lots of DLC from the original all included, so its great value!
8 Stretchy Pirate Badgers Out of 10.