One Piece Odyssey review – the pirate adventure manga fans deserve

One Piece is a pop culture giant that inexplicably never gets attention outside of Japan. Officially the best-selling manga comic series ever, it now celebrates its 25th anniversary, and One Piece Odyssey honors that milestone. Previous attempts to expand the story of this fun-loving pirate crew beyond the comics have lacked believability, but with this game, Bandai Namco goes a long way towards correcting the balance.

It’s simply the One Piece game that fans have been clamoring for all this time: a classic, over 40-hour Japanese RPG that brings all of the genre’s favorite elements (and some less loved ones). It features turn-based battles embellished with retina-eroding special moves that highlight each character’s style and abilities; bizarre, often puzzling terminology; layers of side quests and subquests interspersed with puzzle sequences; and obsession with cooking and food. The only thing missing is a fishing minigame.

In terms of the story, in keeping with the comic, it’s insane. Forget consistency, but expect quirkiness. The main character, Luffy, and his band of colorful Straw Hat Pirates are stranded on the mysterious island of Waford and deprived of their powers by local resident Lim. Quickly realizing that Luffy and his friends aren’t like other pirates (they’re too good for one thing), he helps the crew regain those powers with epic missions set in recognizable locations from the One Piece canon recreated from their memories. .

This narrative conveniently lets you build your characters from scratch, shaping them to a great extent, and one of One Piece Odyssey’s strengths is that the characters’ signature abilities are fueled by both combat and puzzle solving. Luffy has a body made of rubber so he can rain punches on distant enemies, or stretch out his arm to reach inaccessible areas or hurl enemies across the battlefield. The game divides battlefields into zones, giving characters close-up and ranged special attacks that can be applied to single or multiple enemies. It brings a nice, fresh strategic element to what might otherwise be too familiar.

One Piece Odyssey isn’t perfect: It takes a while to make its way through, and it’s hard to ignore the poorly dressed, anatomically unfeasible presentation of two of its female characters. This contrasts with the overall air of purity and sweetness of the game, which at times follows the kind of territory occupied by the Zelda and Ni no Kuni games. Its overall theme is an examination of the nature of friendship, but fortunately, it’s too funny and weird to ever twee.

This is a distinctive, compelling example of the JRPG genre that also highlights the essence of the One Piece universe. Fans from both worlds will love it, and I found it to be the perfect snack while waiting for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom this year.

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