When it comes to games based on anime, I have a kind of weakness for them. So I can’t guarantee that I’ll be completely objective with any title related to it (that’s exactly how the highly mediocre Dragon Ball: The Breakers got at least an eyebrow more from me). And the same will be true for One Piece Odyssey, reviewed today.
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This is another title based on the popular manga from Eiichiro Oda, which has been coming out over the past few years. And so far it’s been really good. There was One Piece: World Seeker offering a partially open world and free exploration and combat, and One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4, the latest installment in the popular series.
This time we got something new again, although when it comes to One Piece Odyssey, it’s definitely closer to the aforementioned World Seeker. For we have a relatively open world, quite a lot of characters, exploration elements, and on top of all this also… a turn-based dueling formula. An interesting idea? Definitely! How did it work out in practice? I encourage you to read the rest of the review.
One Piece Odyssey – What does it come with?
The reviewed One Piece Odyssey is the latest project from the developers at ILCA studio (published by Bandai Namco, of course), who, after the Pokemon Diamond/Pearl refreshes of two years ago, decided to take on another brand associated with Japanese pop culture. This time one at which you can afford to have definitely more freedom and at the same time one where you have to be very careful with new elements.
The creators themselves emphasize that we are dealing here with an open-world RPG production. And I could probably subscribe to that with a little distance. There are a lot of elements from games of this genre here, although some of them seem to have only an illusory influence on the development (side quests are not seen here in huge quantities). As for the open world… It’s kind of quasi-open-world. If you’re hoping for a huge world where you can travel freely, you’ll feel disappointed.
Familiar Characters and Plots
In the game, as standard, we take on the role of Luffy and his friends from the Straw Hat crew. And we are thrown into a completely new adventure – at the very beginning, after a very dynamic introduction, we land on the mysterious island of Waford, where very quickly all abilities are taken away from us. I do not want to go into how this happened, for I would not want to give anything away.
Nevertheless, the rest of the adventure is largely based on recovering abilities that have materialized into the form of magic cubes. We find the smaller fragments by walking around the map and defeating enemies encountered everywhere, and the larger ones. Well, this is where the fun begins! The larger ones fall out after defeating bosses – colossi wielding various elements.
And we can’t just absorb them. In order to get the powers that were enchanted in them, we have to “relive” the memories. And in this way, although the main place of play in the reviewed One Piece Odyssey is the aforementioned Waford, through strange magic and something hooked on dreaminess, we return to well-known places like Alabasta or Water 7. The important thing, however, is that the events themselves are different from those that took place in reality.
So it’s great fun and pleasant stabs of nostalgia, which at the same time don’t beguile with the monotony and duplicity of the adventures that many of the fans have already experienced with the manga, anime, and several other games treating One Piece. This works very nicely in this case and ensures that there is no overkill. And this should definitely have been taken care of, for at times even the biggest fans can feel overwhelmed by the intensity of the story. It is true that in some stages there is more talk than action.
There is no shortage of interesting mechanics
On the one hand, the game world itself sometimes seems more reminiscent of paths between destination points, but on the other hand, the team at ILCA has effectively made sure to give us variety. There is no shortage of items to collect (in the form of ingredients, not collectible items), fun interactions with NPCs, or interesting mechanics assigned to each Straw.
Thus, for example, Luffy can pull himself up to high places and use Observation Hooks, Sanji is sensitive to food ingredients, Usopp can shoot down hidden objects, and Chopper will cut through very small crevices. Small things and add some flavor. Just as the automatic gear, which can be activated by pressing L3, adds flavor. I’ll admit that if I had to operate the left analog all the time, I’d end up getting annoyed – especially since at times you’re running almost in circles.
As for the battles in the reviewed One Piece Odyssey, on the other hand – it’s hard for me to write more here than I did with my text that appeared on the occasion of the pre-release playthrough behind the game itself (invite me here). The difference is one – when I strengthen my character from scratch, everything seems to be more fun for me. I enjoy each new attack and the increased damage it deals with. I’m motivated to “farm” and then defeat enemies with just a shot from a rubber band (and that’s not a figurative statement).
I think that in the long run, it’s hard to get attached to anything here. There are no revolutionary changes or anything that could define the genre, but it managed to include all the elements that should be. In terms of mechanics, it is correct. And even with a small plus for the variety of the journey. And maybe even with a second one for the ability to freely change the controlled character.
The audio-visual layer in One Piece Odyssey
Graphically, it’s hard to complain about anything here. Despite the partially open-world (although I would rather describe it as something between “corridor” and “open world”), which I have already mentioned, the developers avoid showing us distant views. Rather, everything takes place in close-up, so the problems of loading the world are not felt here.
On the plus side, the designs of the enemies and the characters themselves, which were developed for the reviewed One Piece Odyssey, are definitely deserving. They even seem to scream that they belong to the universe from the popular manga. They aren’t over-the-top, and there’s no trouble at all to believe in their actual participation in the adventures of Luffy and his entire crew. And contrary to appearances, this is not at all so easy to achieve.
It also fails to mention the musical layer, although there is no room for argument here when it comes to dwelling on the subject. It is simply good. The melodies playing in the background as we explore successive levels offer the atmosphere known from the anime, and at the same time match the character of the areas we move through. What’s more, after a while even the repetitive themes don’t get boring, so it’s fun!
A Game Not For Everyone
From all this, however, a picture emerges that needs to be outlined straightforwardly to leave no doubt. One Piece Odyssey is not a game for everyone. I’m not even sure that it’s a suitable game for people who are not attached to the brand but simply like turn-based games. For the fact is that, as a representative of the genre, it presents absolutely nothing to distinguish itself from others.
The key advantage of the reviewed production is that it takes place in the world of One Piece. For those who have not had contact with the adventures of the Strawmen, it would be very difficult to catch the flavors here, which are not lacking. Besides – even the basic aspects of the game itself, which include, after all, the audiovisual layer mentioned a moment ago, as well as humor, dialogues, the attacks themselves, and the relationships between specific characters.
As a production treating One Piece, it is very good indeed. In the context of being simply one of the representatives of the genre of turn-based adventure games, One Piece Odyssey does not have enough innovation in it to captivate players outside the bubble of fans of the Japanese pop culture classic. The battles would quickly become repetitive, the jokes probably unbearable, and the storyline boring and monotonous.
One Piece Odyssey – Lake Shore Cave
But does this mean that at the end of the day, the reviewed One Piece Odyssey is a bad game? Not at all! It’s a really successful project that once again throws the pirate team into a completely new genre. Once again we can interact with a completely different feel, and despite some – in my opinion – shortcomings, it still defends itself with many of the solutions used here. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, many of them will be seen primarily by fans of the original.
So if I were to write to whom I would recommend the title in question, I would direct myself primarily to the fans. After the hours spent with the production, I find it hard to imagine that “outsiders” could derive enough pleasure from it. Certainly not at a launch price that would beguile.
There is no revolution in the genre, but neither are there mistakes. One Piece fans will be pleased, and if you are additionally a fan of turn-based games, you should definitely reach for this production. I had a good time – much better than I had with the pre-release tests. And I’ll admit that I was eager to see some DLC adding something new. Remember, the road to the greatest treasures is always challenging. And in the case of One Piece Odyssey – the further into the woods, the better.