One Piece is an incredible anime/manga. I myself, after a long time of being intimated by the length of the series, have become a fan in recent years. I love it, for its wonderful world-building, memorable characters and fascinating art style. Having watched 865 episodes, I have countless hours of enjoyment from this story. Today, however, I am not talking about One Piece, I am talking about One Piece Odyssey, the latest attempt to bring the wildness of Eiichiro Oda’s work to gaming.
One Piece Odyssey is a turn-based RPG with an “open world” for you to traverse with the Straw Hat crew. You get to command almost all of the Straw Hat crew in this latest One Piece title. The story of One Piece Odyssey sees the legendary crew marooned on a strange island. Once on the island they meet a strange girl who drains them of their memories, in doing so they lose their strength as well as their abilities. The only way to return their strength and get off this island is by going back into the past and reliving their memories, both happy and tragic.
This gives players the opportunity to relive pivotal moments in the story of One Piece. Several memorable arcs are shown off in stunning current-gen glory, and they look great. There is a polish to the cut scenes that is really impressive. Unfortunately, the memory segments feel hollow and due to the game giving an abridged version of the events, the arcs we visit (in particular the Marineford Arc) are emotionally vapid.
One Piece Odyssey – Nothing to see here
Also, the open world is really just a bunch of open fields that turn into corridors. There is a nice paint job over each environment but ultimately it’s a transition from open fields to corridors with a surprising number of invisible walls. I’d say the best segment of the game is Dressrosa. Getting to walk around that city is easily the most interesting segment of the game. Unfortunately, it comes too late.
The biggest disappointment though comes in the shape of the combat system. There is no joy, no wildness within it. It’s your average turn-based system with a few pointless bells and whistles thrown in. You have the iconic techniques from each crew member at your disposal, unfortunately, you spend the majority of the game earning them back, so for a time you’re using the same techniques over and over again.
After you use your technique you have to wait for your opponent to have their turn. It’s a monotonous war of attrition. The enemy designs are decent, they have the usual flair of Oda’s work. None of the bosses though are particularly challenging or have interesting game mechanics. As long as you stock up on items you can pretty much sail through them all. These include trick balls from Usopp that put status effects on the enemies and food from Sanji that can heal the whole team as well as buff them.
The two original characters introduced in the game, Adio and Lim are interesting. Watching Lim’s affection grow for the crew is well done. Adio is also an interesting if slightly predictable character.
Ultimately, I couldn’t get behind One Piece Odyssey. It sounds and looks like One Piece, however, it has none of the wildness within its combat system to engage gamers, in my opinion. Also for a story all about freedom and living your life, it felt quite restricted and mundane.