One Piece Odyssey Review

0

One Piece Odyssey Review

Let's do the Odyssey... 

What a way to start 2023. The One Piece gaming franchise has certainly had its moments, but when talking substance it was certainly polarising to say the least. If you’re a fan of the One Piece property itself, you may appreciate past entries in its video game lore, but I would be remiss to state that they were anything ground breaking, fresh or unique. The same tired formula was recycled over and over, with a multitude of studios being sold on creating the pique interactive adaptation to one of Japanese culture’s greatest ever. It’s not to discredit development groups of past One Piece titles, but they never packed that trademark punch, nor delivered the excitement and drama a manga or anime episode would depict. Sure, we love our bizarre protagonist with his infectious personality, determination and passion but this was never clearly translated or shown in any games prior. Enter ILCA (I Love Computer Art), initially a small subsidiary group that would aid bigger studios in their projects.

Play Video

In recent years, ILCA has promulgated a reputable curriculum vitae, stacked with notable titles including Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, Mario Kart 8, Code Vein, and quite possibly the one to aid this tremendous adaptation, Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. One Piece Odyssey packs that desired punch – no pun intended – with a unique twist on the turn-based JRPG formula, an exciting original tale that adapts loosely to the manga and anime, a landscape that amalgamates One Piece and Dragon Quest XI, and a cinematic experience that enriches the entire campaign. Admittedly, I walked in with a somewhat pessimistic, maybe a critical eye even on the game given my experience and love for the One Piece property outside of video games. I’ve been hoping that one day, we would land the perfect One Piece escapade that would allow us to take our favourite Straw Hat Pirates, and set them on an adventure of a lifetime. I can honestly say that after 40 hours of playing One Piece Odyssey, this is it – this is the one.

Set Sail...

A staple to Japanese entertainment overall, One Piece is held in high esteem for all Otaku’s worldwide, so to take on the task of manufacturing a world that remains connected to its main lore, yet separates it only enough from being canonised can be nerve-wracking. One Piece Odyssey does this to perfection. The Straw Hat pirates find themselves separated after a huge storm wipes out the entire crew, shipwrecking them on Waford, a mysterious archipelago located in New World, across the second half of the Grand Line. Luffy awakens alone on the Island, calling out for his friends which he stumbles upon further along the shoreline. Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin and Franky are regaled by their bumbling and namesake aloof leader, with three of their shipmates still missing. Chopper – the anthropomorphic reindeer – sniffs out Nami’s scent coming from a nearby cave.

Without hesitation, the group trudge through the small cave which leads to King Kong Garden, discovering a distressed Nami, trapped by the area Boss, Del Kong, with the red headed damsel crying for her teammates to help; This is where the fun begins. Traversing through certain parts Waford, you will begin to notice a pattern in how each quest will set you on a linear path toward each goal. Primarily, the Island itself acts as one big sandbox with objectives leading you further into the campaign itself. However, it’s not a base that intertwines paths repetitively. If anything, the title sets itself up like a Persona title more than a Dragon Quest-like RPG, despite the nuances, aesthetic and other similarities that will undoubtedly have fans raving. Running, leaping, climbing and collecting are all part of our primary hero’s repertoire, with Luffy acting as lead protagonist alongside his crew.

It’s later on where you tag out with other shipmates, marking a respective leader that carries a respective skill. Luffy is able to use his arms to swing his way across hazardous pitfalls, Zorro hacks and slashes his way through swarms of menacing foes, all while Usopp takes the comical approach, pick pocketing people for hidden treasures. In the early game, initiation between encounters will have a cinematic to preface a battle, hinting the player to what you may need to learn skill wise. The early game will give the player the base instruction into actioning a party member’s stock standard melee attack, with later battles switching out skillsets akin to what you would see in a modern RPG. Using the D-Pad, you’re able to switch out from simple action, to respective skills that are displayed as close combat, ranged, or group in a variety of manners.

One Piece Odyssey has already primed itself as one of the greatest JRPG's you'll ever experience.

Encounters are tackled in the traditional sense that they are cycled through each group, depending on how the battle is initiated. Advantage paid to whoever strikes first, then it’s anybody’s game. Much like Dragon Quest XI, you will either sneak up on an enemy from behind to begin the battle, or hostile’s will show up with an ‘X’ signalling them as an oncoming threat to avoid. I have to hand it to ILCA, One Piece Odyssey demonstrates a new evolution in the strategic role-playing archetype that’s been the exact same formula for generations. Segregating encounters in multiple groups during one specific scenario is the hook. Engaging different enemies with respective focus on different targets while simultaneously protecting your party may be a little overwhelming at first, but the game manages to slowly introduce the player into this fresh gameplay loop. I was stoked to take care of one horde of enemies on a respective side of the ‘arena’, while taking a character, choosing ‘skill’ on my D-Pad, selecting out a grouped attack that forms both close and ranged strikes, then landing them on direct enemies approaching and foes from afar attacking another party member.

The encounter will recommend you cycle through each character for an offensive attack toward the battle, but using the shoulder buttons on your controller will allow you to freely engage with whichever character you want. Just know you have a limit of four attacks per cycle. Each character has respective stats that include Health Points (HP), Tension Points (TP) which work like SP where each skill attack will cost you a certain amount, Attack Power (ATK) is shown for each melee attack in closed ranged combat, Defense Power (DEF) negates an enemy’s respective Attack Power along with Toughness (GUTS) but negate an enemy’s skill attack. It’s a nice way to pace each fight to your liking instead of the CPU forcing a character to go head-on, despite their lack of offense or health. I liken it to Persona 5 Royal’s Baton Pass, but it gives the player a chance to tag in another character at anytime of their choosing. Each encounter won will reward your party EXP, levelling up attributes and earning cash for use at vendors later into the campaign.

The Grand Line...

SOLID POINTS

✔️ A unique and addictive gameplay loop that bolsters the turn-based role-player to something new and fresh.

✔️ Campaign is a lofty 30-40 hours, filled to brim with everything you love about One Piece.

✔️ Aesthetically insane. An absolutely gorgeous landscape for the Straw Hats to explore.

❌ Static save points are the only downfall here.

Treasures, foods and other collectables are found along the way, and can be collected and stored for use during your battle. Buffs and healing items are available for use so long as your party is able to retrieve them. Certain skilled attacks for and against your party can apprehend the victim, paralysing them on the spot. Electricity, Ice, Fire and other elements can halt a party member from being able to attack, and may slowly deteriorate their HP with each cycle. Rare drops are found when smashing through pots, while items are scattered across the map quite generously. My one gripe I quickly learned with the game was its auto-save feature is not in fact an auto-save for progression. As a matter of fact, I still don’t know what the auto-save feature does?

Save points are found while exploring. They’re represented through idols that glow green, which can be activated by pressing the respective action button (Circle on PS5). I would have thought chapters would prompt a progression point that would save the game for you, but I guess there’s no changing some traditional factors in the JRPG market. You will indeed need to find a Save point before safely shutting down your console. If you put your unit to sleep and somehow lose power without actually saving your game, it will load your file from the last point you manually saved the game. 

There’s an argument that could be made here for freeform RPG gameplay that would allow characters to move freely across an arena, akin to a modern Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, but there’s a certain charm that One Piece Odyssey delivers with its unique turn based combat that may in fact revitalise and inspire a new wave of locked in role-playing battles. It should be noted however, once you’ve learned the basics of One Piece Odyssey’s battle structure, there is a storied event that will impact the way you progress after its opening moments. Being as vague without spoiling the plot point, be prepared to have skills stripped from your party for absurd reasons – again it’s anime logic, so who can argue some convoluted writing? But it’s all part of the adventure as you meet new friends along the way, tagging on new party members that aid you on your quest and familiar faces you stumble across along your journey. It’s a sensational ode to the One Piece anthologies.

Aesthetically, One Piece Odyssey is absolutely gorgeous. In the past, a staled trope of adapting an anime title and immediately emulating its hand drawn style by cell shading a 3D model was the go-to for many developers that had their hands on a property. ILCA have instead torn a page off Dragon Quest XI’s overall design, rendering full 3D models and shaders, creating luscious environments, emblazoned with beautiful monuments and landmarks that are noted from the series and have put in great detail towards a signature aura that’s only can only be experienced through One Piece’s multimedia universe. Sprinting through washed up shores, battling baddies in dusty outskirts, exploring mouldy grottos or surviving nasty mammoths in the blustery storms of Waford while portraying the Straw Hat pirates was astonishing to say the least. In between each confrontation, I would take a moment to soak in my surroundings, a photogenic feature that’s truly a sight to behold.

Play Video

Purists to the Subtitled version of the Japanese animation will be glad to know that the entire cast has reprised their respective roles as each character in the game, while the English Dub team are absent here. It would have been an added bonus to have the title completely localised, but I still appreciate the effort placed by its existing team nonetheless. Musically, the entire overture is orchestrated masterfully and sets the tone for each cutscene, cinematic or turning point in the campaign’s narrative. Again, it’s hard to not acquaint this with Dragon Quest XI, but the vibes that encumber this title are all present. From gameplay, to aesthetics and design, cinematics and music; it’s simply how you would imagine the One Piece cast in a modernised Dragon Quest game – it’s an amazing feeling.

One Piece Odyssey is must play for any and all fans of the property, or the casual that needs their JRPG fix. Stripping the antiquated turn-based concoction on its head, bearing some freedom for its players, mixing in elements from heralded role-playing adventures of the same ilk and mastering a unique formula that may inspire titles for years to come has placed this game on a pedestal. It’s unmissable, spearheading what could be an outstanding year in gaming, with One Piece Odyssey leading the charge with unimaginable perfection. Pique adaptation with original writing that consolidates everything we know and love of One Piece, converging it with the best elements of a Persona or Dragon Quest, then making it its own experience is simply fantastic. Prepare yourself because One Piece Odyssey has already primed itself as one of the greatest JRPG’s you’ll ever experience.

One Piece Odyssey Review

AVAILABLE NOW ON:

0
One Piece Odyssey is an upcoming role-playing video game developed by ILCA and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game is a part of the One Piece franchise, and is scheduled to be released on January 13, 2023.

.

Story
9
Gameplay
9
Presentation
9
Sound
8
9

9

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

More Stories
Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Review