CONFESSION time: I’ve never watched any of the One Piece anime shows – or any anime, to be honest – but I’ve always been intrigued by the games and different genres they have brought to the table.
That’s when I was excited to hear that the world of One Piece Odyssey was making its debut as an RPG title in the first month of 2023.
Bandai Namco has long been the developer of many of the main line anime series to grace the consoles and PC markets, ranging from fighters to action/adventure games. A few of these I have dabbled in, including the last outing from the One Piece world, being One Piece: World Seeker.
One Piece:Odyssey starts off as any good pirate game should – with protaganist Luffy and his crew, referred to as the straw hats, marooned on a mysterious island with have no way of escaping. It is then established that one of the crew members is missing and this is where the game starts out.
As you discuss strategy with the present crew members, you set out on this adventure. It’s not too long until you rescue your missing mate, but also find another set of mysterious characters, one of whom has managed to find your hat.
It is here that you learn that many pirates become shipwrecked on this island and a new character, Lim, has taken away all of your powers. So you’ll be starting all the way back at level one after the intro area.
Each of the characters are entertaining in its own right and well animated, as they look the part of their TV counterparts (at least based on the promo artwork and memes I’ve seen from the show).
This is a beautiful looking game from the outset, but as you explore further into the island with your quests, One Piece Odyssey shows much of the same area designs, which in some areas look amazing, but in others, such as the desert, manage to look similar every turn you take.
Playing the main parts of this game with combat, RPG fans will be right at home with the turn based fighting style that One Piece Odyssey crafts in this game. It isn’t reinventing the way you will play these games, but it was nice to see them add the ability to switch out characters based on the situation as it takes a rock, paper, scissors approach to fighting, as well as adding fighters taking on different groups of enemies.
There are no random encounters, thank God, as all the enemies can be optional. I feel like I didn’t have to grind to level up my team to make sure they were at a high level to fight big bosses.
But that was another thing with the game; I didn’t feel any real challenge with the battles. Sure, there were a few bosses that took awhile to beat, but I never really felt challenge. Apart from the optional challenges in random battle that would grant you additional XP.
As you area exploring the world that One Piece Odyssey has crafted, you will find many things to do, collectables to be found and ingredients required to make food when at camps.
Each character has a certain skill that will assist you with traversing the areas, such as Luffy’s stretchy arms able to fling you to out of reach areas and sling shots to knock down items. Not all of these area known at the start, but its as simple as pressing left or right on the D-Pad to switch the party leader to switch the abilities.
Speaking of searching for collectables, given you lost your powers at the start of the game, across the island are small cubes scattered that will be assigned to the many crew members to be able to increase their special moves so they are more powerful in battle.
Along with searching for the next objective, the game will add areas across the world which are memories of sorts, but not as the crew remembers. This will tie in with the shows and loyal fans will recognise these places as part of the game and how to advance the story.
Now I did take issue with One Piece Odyssey’s padding of the time spent in the game. On many occasions there is plenty of backtracking across the map. There was two instances at the start of the game where a mission took me to one side of the map, only to ask me to go all the way back to the start. With no fast travel options, this was incredibly frustrating to do. This was also mixed in with the constant stop/start conversations amongst the crew.
Many occasions would have you talking about the mission ahead, so speaking with an NPC, and not 10 steps later, having them stop to talk again. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the over the top and grounded characters in this game, but I didn’t need to have them stop game progression every 2-3 minutes. It was way too much and not really an option.
If you are a long time One Piece fan, you may find this game to be entertaining with the characters of the popular TV show and many nods to said show.
But as a gamer, the time padding and lack of a real challenge make it hard for me to recommend this to the RPG crowd out there looking for a new turn based game to sink their time into.
In closing, the animations are great, along with the cast of characters, but this odyssey is just to long for the sake of being a long game.