In a sea of RPG’s, adaptations and open world adventures, can One Piece Odyssey, based on the popular series, can the latest gaming adventure set in the expansive One Piece world set itself apart like an island amidst a sea of competition.
“One Piece will never be finished, Eiichiro Oda will die first.” If you’re a fan of the huge, long-running and insanely popular Shonen manga/anime, you’ll likely have heard or even thought about this at some point. However, as it’s still going, the juggernaut franchise is going to continue to spit out new episodes, and apparently, new games.
With many anime-to-gaming adaptations going down the fighter/brawler route, this is this reviewers first try on a turn-based RPG formula set in this particular anime world, but I’m more than willing to give it a whirl. The story begins with Monkey D. Luffy, aka Straw Hat Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, becoming suddenly marooned on the strange island of Waford.
We are soon greeted by two original characters (they’re definitely new, I checked the extensive list of characters that have featured in the manga over the many years) Lim and Adio. Their originality also helps from a plot point as well, as they manage to steal the powers of Luffy and his crew. For those unfamiliar with the show, or even the majority of Shonen animes and their idea of power scaling, this helps to explain how Luffy & co don’t simply annihilate all opposition on the island.
Obviously, that would make for a terrible game, and what we are instead treated to is a massive story arc that sees Luffy and the crew attempt to escape the island by defeating a set of extra-powerful elemental beings that are the source of the storms surrounding the island. Although this reviewer personally thinks that it’s starting to enter trope territory that there is a feature within the story that allows the crew to journey back into their own memories, and that it’s a bit of fan service – he’s not sad about it.
It’s at this point that it bears noting the game is aimed squarely, bordering on solely, at One Piece fans. The series is so monstrous it’s hard to suggest an entry point, but unless you’ve a mind to start consuming the vast backstory, it’s harder to jump into the story off the back of this game then it would have been to jump into Naruto Shippuden after playing one of its many attached brawlers.
However, I’ll be reviewing and consuming this as a fan, and by no means a die-hard one. Oda’s art style blends beautifully into the world re-imagined within the game, and helps to add even more wonder to the fantastical world, powers and creatures. The fact it’s translated so well into this 3D adventure as opposed to a side scroller with 2D art style is even more impressive that it hasn’t made it lose some aspect of its character.
The turn-based system has been done to death over the years, and unfortunately One Piece Odyssey has done nothing to attempt to revitalise it. 1 beats 2, 2 beats 3, 3 beats 1 is very much the formula here. So those familiar with the system will slip into it with no issue and with very little thought. The fact there’s no set progression of characters like in Persona or Final Fantasy JRPG titles however does mean you can utilise whoever, however you want – even freely swapping characters without losing a turn. This however makes the battles so easy it frustrates me almost as much as Final Fantasy 13 – and I HATED that game.
Thankfully, the story and artwork are considerably better, which does a LOT to rescue a game that can be played relatively passively. If you’re a fan of the game, I am almost certain you will enjoy it. It does little to breathe extra wonder into the franchise, but sits comfortably above cash grab.
If any mention manages to bring you into the fold of viewers that THEN inspires you to buy the game, then you too, will likely enjoy it.
Author: Tom, Cardiff Store