have to know
What’s it? A turn-based JRPG romp by means of One Piece’s previous.
Anticipate to pay: $59.99/£49.99
Developer: ILCA, Inc.
Writer: Bandai Namco Leisure
Reviewed on: Home windows 11, Nvidia 2080 Ti, Intel i9-9900k @ 4.9GHz, 32GB RAM
Hyperlink: Official site (opens in new tab)
25 years in the past Half-Life hit PC, the primary PlayStation dominated supreme, and a little bit pirate journey manga referred to as One Piece started. Now I am pushing 40, greying, and nonetheless having fun with the continuing adventures of rubberized ruffian Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates. Celebrating a quarter-century at sea, the crew are off on a grand JRPG voyage with One Piece Odyssey: a sprawling, charming journey that creaks underneath its personal scope.
When you’ve no concept what One Piece is, or have solely seen just a few episodes of the anime, Odyssey most likely is not for you. It is set round 750 episodes into the anime, and assumes information of its characters, their skills, and their histories. On high of that, many of the sport is devoted to (loosely) retelling the occasions of 4 main story arcs, these reprised adventures bookended by a narrative written particularly for the sport.
Whereas manga writer Eiichiro Oda had minimal enter in Odyssey’s story, he did contribute some ideas and creature designs, together with some adorably doofy monsters. Odyssey strands Luffy and crew on Waford, a forgotten island inhabited by a pair of recent characters: big-haired explorer Adio and mysterious native lady Lim, who magically strips the crew of their powers earlier than realizing they’re the good form of pirates. Whereas mercifully nobody has amnesia, the Straw Hat crew have forgotten tips on how to combat, in order that they’re off on an journey to get better the reminiscence cubes holding their misplaced battle prowess, after which into the World Of Reminiscence to relive 4 of their most necessary adventures and brush up on their beatdowns.
The black spot
Odyssey is successfully an enormous filler arc—the form of questionably canonical facet journey the anime has to insert to maintain the TV present operating weekly. Whereas Odyssey’s new story and characters are first rate sufficient for One Piece, the place the sport narratively shines is, paradoxically, in retreading previous floor.
Whereas these adventures in Memoria are primarily based on previous story arcs (Alabasta, Water Seven, Marineford, and Dressrosa), the Straw Hat Pirates know that is only a tough approximation of their adventures, and their actions will not change what really occurred. Regardless of this all of them resolve to do issues higher. Even when it is only a dream, they’re out to save lots of everybody they could not, win unwinnable fights and create a happier ending. What may have been a glorified clip present takes on an unexpectedly bittersweet and private edge, with the heroes getting an opportunity to see misplaced and fallen buddies yet one more time.
It makes for a wealthy nicely of character beats in comparison with the common One Piece filler anime, with every member of the crew getting time within the highlight to select aside their emotions and are available to phrases with their losses. The manga ceaselessly has characters crying rivers of tears over misplaced buddies or unhappy farewells, the place Odyssey trades extra in coming to phrases with the previous. Sadly, funky skellington Brook solely joins the get together late within the sport, however the remainder of the crew are given room to breathe. A minimum of once they’re not getting sidetracked.
Odyssey is stuffed to bursting with padding, filler throughout the filler. It is not simply sidequests, grinding and scouring maps for treasure—the principle story usually forgets the place it is going. In a single significantly egregious case, a chase throughout the desert to save lots of a good friend will get delayed by bandits stealing the crew’s meals, a monkey stealing Nami’s pockets, a river of quicksand, a spelunking journey to bypass the quicksand (which fails), after which a giant cartoon crab turns as much as simply take everybody to their vacation spot anyway.
It was exhausting for me to remain irritated at Odyssey—or the enormous crab for that matter. The distractions usually lean into One Piece’s sillier facet, and even these bizarre story digressions result in some spectacular boss fights and enjoyable new monsters. There’s some nice encounters within the non-compulsory side-content too, together with chasing the bounties on rival pirates who’ve their very own comical gimmicks, like a crew that prefer to leap dramatically off cliff-tops, however have not found out the “touchdown safely” half but. However virtually each a part of Odyssey may use some trimming. Quests may very well be shortened, the grind diminished and backtracking excised to go away a leaner, quicker sport.
The primary factor you will be doing in One Piece Odyssey is entering into turn-based JRPG fights, and fortuitously, filler or no, battles are cleverer than I anticipated. I might have been glad sufficient if this sport mimicked Dragon Quest, however the builders put some actual thought into tips on how to replicate the sprawling, messy cartoon brawls of the supply materials in an accessible turn-based fight engine. I took on super-powered naval officers, screen-filling monsters, and plenty of cavefulls of bandits, and I used to be all the time glad to see the Straw Hat Pirates throwing fingers towards usually overwhelming odds.
Everyone was kung-fu dugong
Battles in One Piece Odyssey are initially acquainted—4 of my characters taking turns to commerce punches with a bunch of enemies—however the scale is novel. Every get together member can have interaction with a separate enemy group of as much as 4 enemies in their very own a part of the battlefield. Whereas some assaults are restricted to concentrating on close by foes, others can be utilized to hit distant enemies, or go bowling for meatheads by slamming one mook into their close by buddies. I am particularly keen on assaults that launch enemies towards a distant crewmate, resulting in enjoyable mid-battle banter. A few of Luffy’s crew recognize contemporary targets, whereas others (Usopp) would like much less on their plates.
Shock bonus goals referred to as Dramatic Scenes are an additional twist. Typically the sport will ask you to complete an enemy with a particular character or rescue a crewmate earlier than they get hit by a giant charge-up assault. Finishing these goals can provide a hefty XP increase, and generally the system is used to inject a little bit extra character into the battles too. If Sanji and Zoro are standing collectively, their rivalry would possibly lead to some banter and their Approach Factors (this sport’s MP equal) being totally recharged.
Regardless of all of those neat particulars, One Piece Odyssey lacks problem settings or scaling, that means the primary 5–10 hours are extraordinarily straightforward. Even with out listening to stats and largely ignoring synergies between characters, it wasn’t till 15 hours into Odyssey that I noticed my first character knocked out, and a fast therapeutic merchandise noticed them revived seconds later. The problem does even out a bit after that time, however that is a very long time to attend for any form of problem.
Nonetheless, even once they’re straightforward, the fights are enjoyable to look at. One Piece is superbly replicated, capturing the visible tone of the anime, however channeling a little bit of the manga’s model by rendering shadows as more and more dense shading traces, mimicking Oda’s artwork. It is a deeply charming element that felt so pure I did not discover it at first. It helps the exaggerated, googly-eyed cartoon monster designs work in 3D and slot in naturally with the extra restrained geography.
Whereas largely linear, the dungeons and cities of One Piece Odyssey are enjoyable to wander by means of and poke at. Within the overworld every character has their very own interplay skills: Luffy can cross gaps together with his stretchy rubber arms, Zoro can slice by means of steel bars, Franky can construct bridges over particular gaps, and Sanji can scent contemporary components a mile away. It is usually value taking the time to speak to the NPCs too. Whereas not materially rewarding, they have loads of little gags so as to add—guards who forgot their weapons at residence, bandits questioning their profession selections, shopkeepers haggled into the bottom by Nami, and sassy speaking animals translated by Chopper.
Charming because the NPCs are, they do not get a lot in the best way of animation, with conversations exterior of main plot scenes wanting a bit stiff and awkward. Fortunately, the fight animations are a deal with. Most characters (not Brook—the undead get no respect) have an unreasonably lengthy checklist of assaults representing virtually each notable named method or assault panel from the manga. These animations are quick, clear, and bursting with nostalgia. Fortunately there’s an choice to double the velocity of all fight animations in order that they by no means grate like an overlong, unskippable Ultimate Fantasy summon.
Tech-wise there’s little to complain about right here past an absence of ultrawide monitor help. There is a first rate vary of graphical and management settings, and it performs equally nicely on gamepad or mouse/keyboard. It even helps excessive refresh charges, which appears to be like nice in fight, though some cutscenes solely run at 30 fps. When you’ve received a Steam Deck, you will most likely wish to cap the sport to 30 fps for consistency and battery financial savings, however you shouldn’t have any issues in any other case. (Not fairly a technical notice, however Odyssey solely accommodates Japanese audio. Subtitles or bust, and a few incidental chatter does not get translated in any respect.)
One Piece Odyssey is a high quality new journey with an unexpectedly bittersweet tone, increasing the world of a venerable manga/anime. It celebrates 25 years of pirate adventures, whereas capturing the faintly unhappy vibes surrounding the announcement of its final saga (opens in new tab). Very like the TV anime it is a little bit flabby and a few trimming would have made for a constantly thrilling 30-hour sport as an alternative of a meandering 50-hour one. Nonetheless, should you’ve been following One Piece all this time, the possibilities are you are right here for a leisurely cruise, reasonably than a race to the end.