The adaptations to the video game of licenses of the manganime seem to have stayed in recent years in two types of titles: musou, fighting games and low-budget action adventures. A couple of years ago, Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2 changed the trend by putting in the hands of gamers what some had been demanding for years. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, an action RPG starring Goku and company. East One Piece Odyssey has the same objective of putting on the table a role-playing game with substance that for many is the best shonen ever created.
ILCAwho have participated in the development of titles as disparate as Dragon Quest XI S, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Y Pokémon Shiny Diamond / Shiny Pearlthey have been working in a own story starring the Straw Hats molded into the structure of a classic JRPG. That is, with turn-based combat, relatively linear and with different areas to explore instead of being an open world. At gamescom 2022 we have been able to try a short demo from which we highlight the interesting system of its confrontations.
One Piece Odyssey tell us the story of how Luffy, Zoro, Nami and company shipwrecked on a strange island and they must reunite to get away from her. Things will not be so simple, of course. The Thousand Sunny is going through yet another hardship, and it seems that the ship’s disaster was no accident. Thus, the most famous pirates of the Japanese comic will have to Collaborate with new characters, battle new monsters and unravel a mysteryall supervised by the Eichiro Ode.
The demo, however, does not delve much into the narrative, although it is clear that it does not take place at the beginning of the plot, since the group is already quite large in the absence of Zoro and Brook. The objective of Luffy, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin and Franky is to help Nami, who has been kidnapped by a kind of gigantic gorilla, one of the many strange animals that inhabit an island as exuberant and heavenly as it is dangerous.
The story unfolds linearly through successive levels, as in the most classic JRPGs. Although there will be dungeons to go through and predictably get lost in, the central part of the exploration will be based on advancing through the combat scenarios in combat, and from narrative sequence to narrative sequence.
However, each character will have their own skill for exploration. In Luffy’s case, he uses the powers of the Gomu Gomu no Mi and uses his elastic hook arms. It is an automatic action when pressing the button: we cannot swing freely through the environment. It looks more like a simple mechanics to add some variety advancement so that it’s not simply based on tilting the stick forward, though perhaps other character powers or scenarios in later sections will go deeper into this.
Where there seems to be a lot of substance is in the turn-based combat system, even in these first confrontations that work as a tutorial. Yes ok it’s nothing groundbreakingI know that it has wickers for, in more advanced stages of the adventure, offer battles that make us think our next moves.
On the battlefield, no matter the number of enemies, there will always be four members of the Straw Hats. On a character’s turn we can exchange it for one of the other pirates that are in reserve. This is useful for using a status change or a powerful attack that another of Luffy’s companions has, but mostly it will be used to take advantage of the system along the way. Rock-paper-scissors with which basic attacks work, to do as much damage as possible to the opponent.
Those basic attacks replenish the PT gauge, the points needed to use the skills. There are those that hit the same enemy forcefully, that affect several opponents at the same time, that inflict some status change such as burns (there are also elemental weaknesses and strengths), and that they can even affect different areas of the battlefield.
The latter is what makes us say that the combat of One Piece Odyssey may have more juice than it appears. The battlefield, especially in larger engagements, can be divided into several areas. Normal attacks can only target opponents in the same area, and if an enemy is targeted in another area, the character in question will switch to that other area.
It’s not hard to imagine combat against several enemies with different elemental resistances, with an interesting combination of that “rock, paper, scissors”, and with some other very powerful adversary, who force constant attention to movement between zones. They have the base, another thing is that it ends up being put into practice. We would also like, by the way, tweak the interface a bit to more clearly communicate turn order and other key information.
Speaking of interfaces, we cannot close the text without commenting, albeit briefly, on the artistic section. Of the music by Motoi Sakuraba (Dark Souls, Tales of) little complaint we have. The visual style chosen will have its defenders and its detractors; It is something subjective, of course, but we would have liked a style cell shading more faithful to the comic or to the anime instead of this look so three dimensional.
That’s right, the characters are very expressive both in the sequences and in the combats, especially when performing special techniques that fill the screen with colorful effects, which already give off very bright colors, at least in the small scenario that we have been able to go through. However, at least in the PS5 alpha version that we tested, the quality of the textures has seemed quite poor even for an intergenerational title, and certain environmental effects don’t measure up either. But as we say, it is a development version of the title.
One Piece Odyssey wants to adapt one of the great sagas of manganime to a genre as deep as the JRPG, in the same way that a few years ago it did Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot with the action RPG. Of the most important in this type of titles, the history, we know rather little; but the other pillar of the genre, the combats, have the basis to offer an interesting experience to say the least. We’ll find out (if there’s no shipwreck along the way) sometime in the future. this year when Bandai Namco releases the title for PC, PS5, Xbox Series and PS4.
We have written these impressions after trying a demo on PS5 at gamescom 2022.