One Piece Odyssey Review
When we last left the Straw Hat Pirates in the One Piece Odyssey demo, they’d gotten themselves into quite a predicament. Apart from being stranded on the legendary island of Waford, they’ve also bumped into one of the island’s inhabitants, Lim, in an unfortunate encounter.
Luffy and company will need to escape Waford to continue their adventure to find the One Piece, but right now, they’ll need to scour the island for Lim. Luckily, another resident of the island, Adio, is willing to lend a helping hand. If anything, the explorer seems all too eager to help a couple of pirates who suddenly got washed ashore.
Is there anything behind Adio’s overly friendly demeanor toward people he just met? What about Lim and her mysterious powers? And what’s the deal with Waford itself?
The answers are all at the end of this adventure when you dive into One Piece Odyssey, and I have to say it’s a worthwhile detour, especially if you’re a big One Piece fan.
The Sights and Sounds of Waford
It’s easy to see that One Piece Odyssey is like an anime brought to life. The Straw Hat Pirates have been beautifully recreated, and their movements and mannerisms feel like they were pulled straight from the source material. The new characters, Lim and Adio, also fit right in with their personalities and quirks, despite being characters created especially for the game.
Of course, one of the highlights of the game are the Memoria cubes, which contain familiar places that were recreated with care and attention to detail. Whether you’re casually walking the streets of Alabasta or frantically trying to escape the dreaded Enies Lobby, all of it will feel so nostalgic because of how accurate it looks.
The island of Waford is also a marvel to behold with all of its scenery and wildlife. The best compliment here is that everything in One Piece Odyssey has touches of Oda-sensei’s influence, recreating the world of the Straw Hats into a playable game.
Fans will feel right at home as the characters of One Piece Odyssey are all voiced by their respective Japanese voice talents, with the same enthusiasm and energy as in the anime. All their signature lines and personalities shine through, whether it’s Brook’s signature YO HO HO laugh or Franky’s “SUPER.”
Aside from the voices, the music and sound effects are also commendable for being fitting and appropriate. The music when traversing towns feels mellow and peaceful, while the catchy orchestral battle music that plays during boss fights sounds so epic and grand, fitting of a glorious battle.
The JRPG touch
One Piece games are notorious for mostly being brawlers, but One Piece Odyssey veers away from the familiar formula and goes full JRPG, and the game is all the better for it.
All the familiar JRPG elements are here – a lengthy main quest, a plethora of side activities, turn-based battles with the locals, and much more. Playing the Straw Hats, as they are, might seem unfair for the enemies you face, so One Piece Odyssey manages a clever way of giving them a natural progression throughout the game.
Despite the familiar elements, One Piece Odyssey shakes up the formula a bit by incorporating “areas” into battles. When you start a battle, enemies and the Straw Hats may end up in random areas in a fight where they’ll need to deal with said enemies before they can possibly join their friends in other areas.
Adding to the randomness are so-called “Dramatic Moments,” where you can fulfill certain conditions for bonus Experience points. It can range from defeating enemies using a specific character to wiping out an area of powered-up enemies before your teammate stuck inside is knocked out. The objectives aren’t complicated but are certainly a challenge if you’re not prepared.
Luffy may be the main character and captain of the Straw Hats, but pretty much every member of the crew is a star here, and the game allows you to freely swap any member in and out of battle depending on the situation. One Piece Odyssey employs a rock-paper-scissor mechanic, translated to Power-Technique-Speed in the game, where characters and their attacks will be more effective against certain types.
While this adds a layer of strategy and quick thinking during battles, don’t expect to breeze through fights too much, as they could get lengthy compared to other similar games in the genre. Thankfully, the game also has a speed-up feature, allowing you to fast-forward through some of the more repetitive sequences and fights.
When Lost, Blame Zoro
The island of Waford is home to many secrets to uncover and challenges to overcome, which will require each member of the Straw Hats to pitch in with their specialty moves to be able to reach the end of their adventure.
For example, Chopper is a small animal so he can walk inside small spaces leading to areas the others can’t reach, Nami has a sixth sense when it comes to money so she can spot treasure lying about, and Sanji is a chef so he can spot ingredients he can use for cooking useful food items.
Luffy and Usopp specialize in more distance-based abilities, with the former able to grab far-away items and ledges, while the latter is a sniping expert who’s able to shoot down items out of reach.
Sadly, this constant switching can get tedious due to the fact that there’s a small loading time between switches, and it can get irritating the further you get in the game.
All of the Straw Hats have their signature weapons and powers, and powering these up will be through equipping accessories that can be slotted into an ever-expanding grid that gives the players the chance to decide whether to focus on offense, defense, or a good balance between the two.
The different cubes Lim has scattered can also be retrieved and slotted to increase the effectiveness of your techniques. If you’re fond of using Zoro’s Onigiri compared to his other moves, you can allocate more cubes there to make it more effective.
Familiarity and Nostalgia
The developers of One Piece Odyssey have also worked on titles such as Dragon Quest XI, so playing through this latest game may remind you of such titles. Sadly, one gripe that I do have is that they didn’t go further.
As a fan of the anime and manga, seeing the Straw Hats on a completely new adventure would have been extremely epic, but One Piece Odyssey has players retreading familiar stories like a trip down memory lane, with Lim tagging along as an observer. While there is a logical explanation to it, it kind of falls into the same pitfall that Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot had, which just simply reenacted a certain saga to the letter.
While players that are new to the world of One Piece may appreciate it, veterans could be rather disappointed, especially with the arcs being condensed versions of themselves, with some characters and events even being omitted. To be fair, the game also took that into consideration, with Lim explaining that things may not progress the same as the Straw Hats remember since memories tend to be sometimes hazy.
Pacing could have also been improved in One Piece Odyssey, which is a victim of numerous cutscenes that even require players to walk a short distance just to be met with another cutscene.
Despite that, One Piece Odyssey definitely has fans in mind with this game, which is a fun outing for the Straw Hats that deviates from the previous tired formula and gives players another way to enjoy an adventure with these iconic characters.
What We Liked:
- Vibrant and colorful visuals
- Faithful recreation of One Piece characters
- Fun and strategic combat
What We Didn’t Like:
- Som tedious gameplay mechanics
- Pacing issues
- Too much retreading of familiar story arcs
Verdict: Buy it!
Despite some of my personal gripes, One Piece Odyssey is a solid JRPG experience starring the beloved characters of the series. Its decision to retread familiar arcs despite having an original story can be tolerated and may even be a reason for newcomers to try out the anime/manga.
By shifting to a JRPG, One Piece Odyssey provides players with a new way to interact with the Straw Hats, and even employs some nice strategic elements during battles that highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each character.
If you’re in the market for another adventure starring the memorable Straw Hat Crew, One Piece Odyssey is an easy recommendation for fans and even newcomers who want to try and get into the long-running series.
*One Piece Odyssey was reviewed on a PS4/PS5 with a review code provided by the publisher.