Is One Piece Odyssey the best video game of Pirate King?

17.01.2023 0 By admin

One Piece Odyssey is the latest entry in the long line of videogames made for this widely beloved manga as well as its most ambitious title yet, having been in development for over 6 years with the scope of being the best One Piece gaming experience yet.

But does it manage to deliver on that promise,especially for hardcore fans of the series like you and I?

Or does it fall flat due to some poor design decisions?

Let’s find out!

One Piece Odyssey stands out among previous entries, which were usually more focused on action adventure, by being a very traditional turn-based JRPG.

So essentially gameplay is split up between
exploring very lineal levels and interacting

with characters to advance quests and turn-based
strategical combat.

Particularly, a lot of DNA from Dragon Quest
XI can be very evidently felt, as Odyssey

was developed by a team that assisted with
creating that title.

In case you haven’t played it, Dragon Quest
XI is considered one of the best JRPGs of

recent times, so there’s certainly a lot
of promise for a fantastic system here.

For starters, let’s get this out of the
way, much like Dragon Quest XI the game looks

really gorgeous.

While it may not seem at first glance, seeing
it in action this is undoubtedly the most

beautiful One Piece game to date, especially
with its environments, which make it a joy

to walk through iconic locations of the series.

Praise should also go to the UI and menus,
which look incredibly stylish, as well as

the fact that most of the game is fully voice
acted by the original actors.

Enemy monsters also feature a fantastic selection
of creatures from across the series, especially

from Strong World, as well as even some designed
by Eiichiro Oda exclusively for this game.

Characters generally look great too, in spite
of some slightly janky animations, but I have

to address the Zunesha in the room: unfortunately
yes, you are stuck with the ugly Fishman Island

outfits for the entire game.

You can unlock and change to pre-timeskip
looks, but that’s about it, and this is

is only for battle and field, meaning that
all cutscenes will still play with the same

generic outfits, which absolutely overstay
their welcome.

That said, special mention needs to be given
to the soundtrack, composed by legendary game

composer Motoi Sakuraba.

While at the cost of not feeling as One Piece-like
as the anime’s OST, if anything it made

me feel like I was playing a “Tales of”
game at times, having one of the best composers

in the industry made for a fantastic selection
of pieces that resoundingly succeed at making

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you feel immersed.

But beyond that, surprisingly enough, from
a purely gameplay perspective the game does

deliver fairly well, at least at first glance.

Exploration is incredibly fun thanks to very
meticulously crafted level design, and the

combat also presents a fairly interesting
set of mechanics: Odyssey stands out from

other JRPGs with what it calls an area-based
battle system.

Essentially, all your party members and enemy
units are scattered across different areas.

You can only attack enemies from separate
areas with limited ranged attacks or by defeating

all the enemies in your area first, and because
characters are assigned a weapon triangle,

you have to strategize on which areas to liberate
first to help move characters to other areas

where they can help.

On paper this is a really cool system, and
while it’s still fun, it unfortunately fundamentally

falls apart by some glaring oversights.

For one, while the system is fun for normal
battles, it doesn’t feel like it was particularly

designed for bosses.

Because there is no real area mechanics to
play around with, boss battles essentially

boil down to spamming your strongest attacks
on the boss and nothing more.

But beyond that, the entire area system can
be broken through the fact that you can swap

party members at any time.

This sounds great in theory, but you can do
it an unlimited amount of times with no turn

cost, which basically trivializes the entire
system.

You outright need to avoid using this mechanic
if you want any sort of challenge, but unfortunately

that’s already quite a struggle as it is.

Even running away from most encounters and
never grinding, I was simply always overleveled,

and it took me several worlds until I even
saw a party member faint once or had to start

using healing items.

There’s several ways to easily break the
game, especially through its accessory system,

and plenty of other mechanics that easily
trivialize any challenge.

For example Luffy later unlocks Conqueror’s
haki, which insta-kills all enemies in one

hit, which is really fun… but there’s
literally no limit to it, so at that point

you can end all battles in a single move.

I’d much rather take a JRPG that is too
easy than too hard, especially as that makes

it more accessible, but this only helps illustrate
not just how poorly balanced the difficulty

is, but simply how shallow the battle system
really ends up being in the long run.

While the mechanics are fun, the area system
is pretty much all there really is to it,

as the game lacks the depth of strategy that
defines a great turn-based battle system.

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Regardless, I don’t think that’s even
the game’s biggest problem, because what

unfortunately really sours the experience
is the decision to center this game around

exploring old One Piece arcs.

Essentially, thanks to the powers of the young
girl Lim, the Straw Hats relive previous adventures

in their memories, centering most of the game’s
stages around old One Piece stories, a gimmick

that was already used in several previous
games.

The issue comes in the fact that these aren’t
accurate retellings, as not only are all areas

you explore geographically and visually inaccurate,
feeling completely different from canon in

some cases, but so are the stories, removing
entire characters, story sections, and events.

This is justified through the memory world
being unstable and changing things, but it

doesn’t alter the fact that these simply
feel like lesser adaptations than their original

counterparts, sometimes deviating so much
that they feel like borderline fanfiction.

And it’s a massive shame, because the main
plot of the story that takes place in the

real world is actually the best that a One
Piece game has ever had.

Without going into spoilers, it’s made very
apparent from the start that it connects into

lore of the main series, including the technologically
advanced ancient kingdom, the D. clan, and

the ancient weapons, and adds lore to a certain
location of One Piece’s story that was fairly

unexplored in the original manga.

It doesn’t reveal anything new in canon
like Film RED would, but it’s still a great

way to complement existing lore, and the way
it slowly unveils its mysteries and how the

characters grew on me over time made me engaged
to push forward to unravel the secrets of

its narrative.

But that’s only about 10% of the actual
plot, because 90% of the game is spent reliving

awkward adaptations of the original manga
that simply put just drag on.

Odyssey is unfortunately plagued by a lot
of the problems that JRPGs tend to suffer

from, including excessive linearity, padded
storylines, and a lot, and I mean a lot of

dialogue.

Expect a lot of a cutscenes playing, then
you walk for 2 seconds, another cutscene plays,

then you are stopped again with some redundant
dialogue telling you where to go, over and

over.

And every single time anything happens, a
brief 2 second black loading screen plays,

which really add up very fast.

There’s also a ridiculous amount of obligatory
sidequests and filler content that are required

to advance the story, forcing you to go on
menial tasks like helping Nami find her lost

wallet, or helping a kid find some plants,
or cooking soup for someone, which coupled

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with the excessive amount of dialogue and
constant interruptions, just constantly brings

the pace to a halt, even for JRPG standards.

Some of the worlds are actually very short,
but others are long, and can keep on going

for well over 10 hours.

And it doesn’t help that these are all stories
we’ve experienced so many times, which makes

the padding feel all the more tedious and
uninteresting because we already know what’s

going to happen.

Not to speak that because these are all just
memory worlds, none of these people really

exist, which makes helping out villagers with
their sidequests or helping the people in

these worlds feel utterly redundant.

Characters constantly acknowledge that none
of these worlds are real, but then proceed

to help out the locals anyway, completely
ignoring what they just said.

And that’s fundamentally the issue with
One Piece Odyssey, because at its core this

is a really good game, it’s a mechanically
solid JRPG with fantastic presentation as

well as fun exploration and a solid battle
system.

But its combat mechanics quickly show some
clear oversights in balancing and a lack of

depth, and the game is unfortunately marooned
by a lot of the warts that come with poor

JRPG experiences, especially in how its pacing
painfully drags on at points, which is simply

aggravated by the fact that you are experiencing
poorly recycled retellings of old storylines

that simply don’t do justice to the original
stories, instead distracting you from what

is otherwise a much more interesting main
plot.

One Piece Odyssey is still at its core a great
time, and I can’t deny that I still had

a lot of fun with it.

But alongside that fun also came a lot of
tedium and boredom, as its flaws hold it back

from being a truly immersive experience.

Fans of classic JRPGs like me might still
find a lot of enjoyment in the title as I

did, but if you don’t have the patience
to push through such a long and tedious experience

that requires a lot of investment, then One
Piece Odyssey may not be enough to hold your

attention.

One Piece Odyssey gets a 7/10