If you’re an anime fan and a gamer, I’m sure you already know all about One Piece Odyssey, the brand-new JRPG based on popular manga and anime. There have been plenty of One Piece games over the years, but lately, fans have been craving a new, excellent game set in the wonderful and quirky world of One Piece.
Well, I’ve got good news for you. One Piece Odyssey is mostly great. It all comes down to if turn-based fighting games are your thing because, for 90% of the game, that’s precisely what you’ll be doing.
The story goes something like this: The Straw Hat Pirates are stranded on a mystical, magical island after their trusty ship sinks. On the island, they encounter two new characters, Adio and Lim, the latter of which causes them to lose all their special powers.
Thankfully, there’s a way to get them back. Lim instructs the crew to dive into their memories and relive some of them to gain back their abilities.
Yes, you’ll get to revisit some of the most iconic moments from the franchise, but in an insightful twist on it, they might not be quite as you remember. See, memory can’t always be trusted. This also stops One Piece Odyssey from becoming just a greatest hits compilation and allows new players and old fans to reconnect with the series in a completely new way.
Shall we start with the good? Visually, One Piece Odyssey is very cool. It’s colourful and vibrant, and the creature design is excellent. You encounter a large variety of creatures which you can either fight or you can sneak past without having to engage in battle, but beware; they’ll have the upper hand if they sneak up behind you.
The combat is surprisingly clever. Rather than brute force, One Piece Odyssey forces you to really think about how to approach each battle. The field is divided into different areas, and your crew is separated into different areas. They can often move around, and this is advised as different enemies go down faster with specific attacks.
The game starts you at level 40 skills, but after you encounter Lim, takes you back to one, and you can start levelling up. In between the frequent battles, you have a chance to explore the island you’re stuck on, but this is where the game fares less well.
The characters run ridiculously slowly. This might be a minor gripe, but in a game that takes anywhere between 30 to 40 hours to complete, it becomes a big thing. One Piece Odyssey is one of those big, sprawling games where opportunities lie around every corner, and side quests await the player, but it just seems to take forever to get to those because you’re running at a glacial pace.
You can and must also swap who you’re playing as. Luffy is helpful with his big, stretchy hands when you have to get somewhere high or across things, while Chopper can squeeze into tight spaces and Zoro will get rid of metal doors for you like they’re made of butter.
The gameplay is still, at times, a little jarring. The turn-based combat obviously makes you wait for the enemy to hit you, but even during exploration, you often can only run a very short distance before a cut scene or another battle. The dialogue also moves really slowly, and maybe I’m just impatient, but for me, One Piece Odyssey lacked pacing and flow.
Although One Piece Odyssey is based on existing, beloved material, it’s still a little disappointing seeing it give the female characters unrealistically tiny waists and enormous breasts. It feels like in 2023, we could tone that down a little, at least, even with characters we all know and love. After all, we don’t love Robin because of her rack, but her abilities and nature.
The combats are fun, even if the stakes aren’t very high, and the threat level never seems to rise much, and overall, One Piece Odyssey represents turn-based battle games at their best. It’s a fun game that seems accessible for all ages and difficulty levels, but more hardcore gamers might find that this lacks challenge.
One Piece Odyssey is out now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows and Xbox Series X/S