One Piece Odyssey (PS5) review: For both fans and newcomers alike
One Piece Odyssey review: For both fans and newcomers alike
As the best-selling manga series in history, One Piece in both its illustrated and anime formats have delighted millions of fans worldwide for more than a quarter century. However, games based on this much-loved franchise have scored mostly average reviews.
This was why I was initially hesitant about One Piece Odyssey when the game was first announced. After all, the zany Straw Hat Pirates and their quirky, action-heavy adventures seemed ill-fitted to the JRPG genre. I am glad that those worries were unfounded, as One Piece Odyssey has proven itself to be one heck of an adventure and a very good game.
The game’s story begins with main man Luffy and his crew being stranded on the mysterious island of Waford, that is surrounded by strange and powerful storms. There, they run into island residents Adio and Lim, the latter of whom takes away their powers due to her dislike for pirates. The Straw Hat Crew then embark on a series of adventures as they strive to get their powers back.
One Piece Odyssey has a pretty entertaining storyline that includes plenty of references to the main story arc from the manga and anime series. While One Piece fans will no doubt find themselves in familiar territory when playing Odyssey, this title can still be enjoyed by those new to the franchise as well. The Straw Hat’s adventures are written such that it is easy to follow the story as it unfolds, and the funny banter between the crew – that pop up as you explore the many in-game locations can – be appreciated even by those who have never watched a single episode of the anime.
When it comes to gameplay, One Piece Odyssey offers all the features that one would expect in a JRPG title: a turn-based battle system, cooking, as well as accessory and item crafting. With its cell-shaded art style and dungeon-traversing adventure system, One Piece Odyssey feels very much like a Dragon Quest game, just without the grind.
The turn-based battles in Odyssey is one of the highlights of the game, but for many JRPG fans, it may also be the game’s main weakness. Fights in One Piece Odyssey feature a unique rock-paper-scissors battle system, where each member of the Straw Hat Crew and every enemy they face are assigned a fight style: Power, Speed, or Technique. Power is good against Speed, Speed is good against Technique, and Technique is good against Power.
To make the most of each battle, players will have to strategise how to play their characters on the battlefield, such as by swapping them in and out of the fight, or making use of their special skills to defeat enemies. Besides making sure that your characters are battling enemies according to their strengths and weaknesses, you will also need to consider their positions on the battlefield, as characters will start at a different random spot at the beginning of every fight.
To give your characters an extra boost, the game also features a surprisingly complex accessory system that lets you customise a unique selection of stat boosters for each character. Each accessory has a different size and requires a set number of squares on a character’s accessory grid. Characters can equip as many accessories as they like in any combination as long as they all fit within the grid, giving players almost limitless possibilities for accessory combinations.
This unique battle system is seriously fun and will delight players who like to perfect their battles by executing the strategy just right. However, my main gripe is that fights in One Piece Odyssey are almost too easy, which means that spending those extra seconds formulating a fight strategy is really more of a voluntary option than a crucial part of the process in order to win. I found myself easily winning boss-level battles in just a couple of turns without grinding at all. So despite all the effort by the development team to make battles in One Piece Odyssey seriously strategic and fun, it is somewhat let down by the lack of any real challenge.
Like any good JRPG, One Piece Odyssey offers plenty of locations and dungeons for you to explore, and this is where the Straw Hat Pirates have really added so much fun to the game thanks to their quirky personalities. Besides the island of Waford, the game also features a number of locations in land of Memoria, the latter of which was created by the memories of the Straw Hat Crew.
To explore the overworld and solve the puzzles in One Piece Odyssey’s dungeons, players will have to employ skills that are unique to each member of the Straw Hats. Luffy, with his rubber body, can reach and grab far-away objects or swing his way to parts of the map that would be inaccessible by others. Chopper, on the other hand, can be used to explore small crevices and narrow caves.
Exploring Odyssey’s numerous locations will bring up hilarious bits of conversation between the characters. Sanji will often flirt with his love interest Nami, while the cowardly reindeer Chopper would often complain that the narrow tunnels that he was sent to explore are scary, adding to the delightfully comic tune of this game.
It is this ability to play as every character of the Straw Hat Crew that makes One Piece Odyssey a great title for fans of the series, and also a perfect introduction for those new to One Piece. Whichever group you belong to, this game is sure to bring some laughs and light-hearted adventure, all packed into a fun and engaging turn-based RPG title.