The Straw Hat Pirates have once again been sidetracked into a new adventure penned by the famed author himself, Eiichiro Oda. The best part about it? You’re going to lead them to victory!
Developed by ILCA and published by Bandai Namco, One Piece Odyssey sees Monkey D. Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hats stranded on a mysterious island, Waford, and embarking on an adventure to uncover its secrets. They will be joined by new characters, also created by Oda-san, exclusively for this experience.
Before we all set sail, the folks at Bandai Namco have been nice enough to give us an early look at a demo, which is also coming on January 10 and serves as an appetizer before the game’s actual release. We’ve spent a few hours on it, and based on that, here are our impressions of One Piece Odyssey.
Even from the demo alone, One Piece Odyssey will feel like a game that fans of the series will really dig. Not only does it have the original Japanese voice cast, but the game versions of the Straw Hats look very faithful to the source material. They look great and move and act exactly as you’d expect the Straw Hat Pirates to do.
The same can be said of other aspects, like all of the sights and sounds you encounter in Waford. There are no two ways about it, One Piece Odyssey has Oda-sensei’s signature all over it, leading to a really faithful and enjoyable experience.
Early on in One Piece Odyssey, players will be introduced to two new characters, Lim and Adio. While Lim definitely has a mysterious aura about her, the dual pistol-wielding Adio feels too friendly for someone the party just met, and it feels like there’s more to him than meets the eye. Despite not appearing in either the manga or anime, both characters have personalities that players will want to learn more about.
Visually, the island of Waford looks vibrant and pleasing to the eyes, something that could have come right out of an anime episode. While we wished there were more areas to try aside from some caverns and walking around Adio’s hut, it simply means the demo made us want to see more of what the island has to offer.
Gomu Gomu no…
If turn-based combat is your thing, then you’ll feel right at home here in One Piece Odyssey. Like in more recent JRPGs, enemy encounters are no longer random, and you can see your foes in the field, where you can even get an advantage if you get the jump on them.
One Piece Odyssey also employs a simple rock-paper-scissors mechanic in the game. Each character in your party is classified as either a Power, Speed, or Technique type, and exploiting enemy weaknesses will be key to winning.
Something that also shakes up the turn-based formula is the area system, where your party and enemies can end up in different areas of the battlefield isolated from the others, allowing them to only join the others when their particular site is wiped clean of enemies.
Sometimes Dramatic Battles may also occur, where you get more rewards for fulfilling certain conditions, aiding you further as you battle against enemies.
One Piece Odyssey is set after the 2-year time skip and before Jinbei joins the straw hats, so you can be sure they retain all the moves they’ve been using since that time, like Luffy being able to use Haki. All the iconic techniques, like Luffy’s Gomu Gomu attacks and Zoro’s 3-sword style moves, are here and ready to be enjoyed by fans of the series.
An event that happens early in the game involving Lim will have players search for important memory cubes around the island. Some of these cubes will even involve revisiting key moments in the series like the Alabasta Arc. Unfortunately, these parts weren’t playable yet, so we’ll have to see how they are recreated in the final game.
A common theme in One Piece Odyssey will see players use the various members of the Straw Hats to explore the world. Luffy can use his stretchy limbs to bridge the gaps between places, while Zoro can cut debris blocking the way to open up a path forward.
Each Straw Hat will have a specialty that they can bring to the table, and it’ll take a team effort to fully explore the island of Waford to reveal its hidden secrets.
To Be Continued…
Overall, One Piece Odyssey is shaping up to be a solid JRPG that everyone can enjoy. Because the game will introduce an original storyline that’s separate from other properties, newcomers to the One Piece series won’t need to worry about not knowing the source material. In fact, the game may even be their entry point into the manga/anime.
The gameplay is also simple and familiar enough, which should appeal to JRPG fans looking for something to tide them over until the next big title comes along.
One-Piece Odyssey releases on January 13, 2022 for the PS4, PS5, Xbox Series, and PC.