PAX West really stood out by featuring so many of the amazing Indie and AA games on the market, but there were also a few AAA titles up on display. One of the more eye-catching and interactive attractions was Bandai Namco’s area, which included an Elden Ring scavenger hunt, a photo booth for Dragonball Breakers, and my personal favorite–One Piece Odyssey‘s exhibit.
Bandai Namco went all out with the One Piece Odyssey attraction, making it the crown jewel of their exhibit. A gigantic billboard was displayed for everyone to see, but the main attraction was obviously a chance to demo the upcoming game.
Personally, playing One Piece Odyssey was a reward in itself. Despite not having played with the previous titles, the IP is somewhat familiar to me. I was immediately drawn to its JRPG style, especially since many games from Bandai Namco mostly revolve around fighting game mechanics.
Pirate Quest XI: Save Nami From Monkey Business
The demo of One Piece Odyssey is pretty cut and dry, unlike other games you can try out at the convention. You get to play one mission—Save Nami from Del Kong—and an extended tutorial mission. You get to fight a few curated enemy encounters as well as the final boss battle with Del Kong and some of his minions.
That being said, standard gameplay sequences abound in One Piece Odyssey. You can explore the level using Luffy, which allows for the use of your stretchy arms to access secret areas and cross ravines. You can also examine points of interest, collect Berries (the currency) and other treasures, and finally move the story forward.
One of the biggest changes here is its JRPG-styled battles, draped in a simple and easy-to-understand interface that actually reminds me a lot of Dragon Quest XI.
JRPGs are definitely introducing many new mechanics to keep themselves relevant, and I appreciate that, especially with a licensed IP such as One Piece. How would you market this game to newcomers and non-fans? The easy answer is by creating a fun game, which One Piece Odyssey delivers in spades.
The entire gang is here
The biggest selling point of this game is that they’ve added the entire Straw Hat pirates into the roster. Everybody is playable: Luffy, Usopp, Sanji, Nico Robin, Chopper, and Franky. More popular characters like Nami and Zoro could be tried out during the boss battle. So in essence, the entire gang is here.
Attacks work like the typical rock-paper-scissors strategy many JRPGs have implemented. You have power types like Luffy and Sanji. Speed types like Zoro and Nico Robin and finally Tech types like Nami and Usopp. They each deal more damage to the enemies that are weak against them and are weak against enemies of the opposing type.
There are techniques that use up TP (technique points) that allow for really cool animations and highlight their signature moves that fans of the series will surely love. And about halfway into the game, you’re able to switch to other characters.
The freshest mechanic is the in-battle objectives that allow you to gain bonuses when you fulfill certain conditions. Based on the demo I got to play, I saw two instances. The first is when you have to revive Usopp when he’s stunned by these hungry birds, and the second instance is when you have to heal Nami before she is knocked out. You will receive bonus experience or buffs, which will aid you in the fight or quickly level up your party.
One thing I’m weary of is that while it does look fun, hopefully, the novelty doesn’t wear out too quickly. This tends to happen a lot, especially when it comes to licensed games, relying too much on the fan service to take the game further.
One Piece Odyssey will launch later in 2022 on the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.