WHILE One Piece has had a number of video game adaptations over the years, few of them could live up to the grandeur of the series.
It’s the last surviving series of the Big Three shonen franchises of the late ‘90s. Many developers have professed their love for it, and still a satisfactory game has yet to be made.
One Piece Odyssey makes its mark by taking the action out of the player’s hands.
We’ve seen numerous anime fighters based on popular series fall flat when all the action is based on your unskilled inputs.
By switching genre to turn-based RPG, the flashy attack animations are carried out by the experts.
These make a good impression, even if you will likely speed up through them after you’ve watched them a few times.
It’s not just the action that will keep you hooked. Battles are surprisingly strategic and you will have to carefully think through each encounter.
There is a unique range and zone mechanic, which forces you to balance short- and long-range attacks.
Both enemies and allies are sorted into either Power, Speed or Technique, with the classic elemental triangle between them.
To balance this, you can swap active and inactive party members without wasting your turn, allowing for a deeper level to gameplay.
Challenges will appear mid-battle, asking you to defeat a foe with a certain party member, or take them out in a certain zone.
These reward you with huge EXP boosts, and are an interesting extra layer of optional difficulty for those who don’t like the grind.
The rest of the game isn’t as inventive. It carries the usual cliché of characters losing their powers so they can earn them back over time.
Waford, the story’s island setting, also feels very generic compared to the rich array of locations available in One Piece.
You also go back to scenes from One Piece which then play out with some fan-service wish fulfilment.
Luffy will visit a world where popular characters never die, but it’s not really what we want.
The biggest mistake is how simple the gameplay is outside of combat. It mostly consists of walking down paths and talking to various people.
It feels padded out which just emphasises how bland everything is when you’re not in a fight.
With an anime JRPG, you know what you are getting into, and with that in mind you’ll probably still enjoy it.
The story isn’t anything special overall, but will contain the occasional gem.
One Piece Odyssey is a solid game that showcases the cast and an array of their iconic moves.
The battle system carries the experience, and while it’s probably the best One Piece game, that’s not the compliment you think it is.
Written by Dave Aubrey and Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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