After One Piece: Pirate Warriors and One Piece: World Seeker, Bandai Namco is trying a new adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s famous manga with One Piece Odyssey. This time, ILCA is at the helm. The Japanese studio has notably worked on the Pokémon Sparkling Diamond and Sparkling Pearl and Dragon Quest XI remakes. And it is this last feat of arms that interests us today, since the game Odyssey is in the vein of the latter: a JRPG with a tactical aspect. Add to that an original story supervised by Eiichiro Oda himself, as well as an experience that seems more complete than ever and you get a game that presented itself as the most successful adaptation. But is this really the case?
Everything happens after the particularly significant arc of Marine Ford, after the timeskip and even after that of Dressrosa, but before the arrival of Jinbei in the crew. Aboard the Thousand Sunny, the Straw Hat Pirates are sailing on the waves when they begin to see a beam of light straight out of a mysterious island. Intrigued, they don’t have time to change their course when they are caught in a strange storm. The Thousand Sunny washes up on the island, totally broken. No choice, you have to explore the island in search of materials to repair it. But the latter is notably inhabited by a certain Lim who will snatch their precious powers. To recover them, a return to the past is necessary. The opportunity for One Piece Odyssey to offer us a rewrite of four important arcs of the manga, while adding a nice handful of mysteries about Wadford Island, Lim and the other new character, Adio.
The Wonderful World of One Piece
The big positive point of this new game is undeniably the universe in which it immerses us. One Piece Odyssey does fan service, and that’s not a bad thing. We find the charming side of Sanji, the quarrels of the latter with Zoro, the childish side of Luffy… From cutscenes to lines, the game exudes a certain love for the universe imagined by Eiichiro Oda. And unlike One Piece: World Seeker, it’s not just Luffy who is honored. It is indeed possible to embody all the members of the crew, and it is even recommended since they all have a capacity necessary to advance. And for anime fans, know that you will be able to find known themes and, of course, the official Japanese voice actors. For immersion, this plays a huge role. Thus surrounded by this beautiful band of happy fellows, we sometimes have the impression of being a real member of the Straw Hat crew, and it’s damn pleasant.
Especially since One Piece Odyssey is a beautiful and enjoyable game. Admittedly, you have to like the style of Eiichiro Oda (decried by some) and cel-shading, but if this is your case you may be seduced. The combat animations are a treat and the environments have a certain charm. This is all the more true of cities like Alubarna for example which are a little pleasure for the eyes. On top of that, the game largely holds up technically. Rendering is smooth overall and loading times minimal on next-gen consoles. However, there are some framerate drops and slight clipping issues on PS4.
The only shadow on this pretty picture: the particularly empty aspect of the environments. In town, everything is beautiful but it lacks life: there is no activity in the streets, the faces crossed are always the same… And for the places in the heart of nature, it’s simple, they are empty. It’s a habit in JRPGs of the genre, but nevertheless we would have liked to walk in more lively areas. The long corridors of One Piece Odyssey therefore quickly become dreary, despite the surrounding beauty.
Yes because One Piece Odyssey is a lane game. Granted, a few areas are quite open and exploration is encouraged. But the bulk of the game consists of traversing a maze of corridors to the new objective. Besides, if you thought you could indulge in a few ramblings during a mission, you will be disappointed. As soon as you follow an objective, the game takes you by the hand and does not intend to let you go. Understand that points of interest and other indications are ubiquitous on the screen, but above all that the title will prevent you from freely exploring certain areas. Very quickly, we therefore understand that the gameplay is above all centered on combat and we therefore suggest that you devote our next part to it.
Gum gum fight
As we said, One Piece Odyssey is a JRPG. This naturally involves team-based turn-based combat. Each member of the crew has his specialty (speed, strength, technique). The system is simple: each specialty is strong against one of the other two and weak against the remaining one. It is therefore necessary to organize his team according to the enemy who is in front. Zones also matter. Usopp and Chopper are, for example, characters to be placed in the second line (ranged attacks and support role), while Zoro and Luffy rush into the heap (powerful short-range attacks). To these specialties and these areas, you can add special marbles allowing you to play on the stats and elemental attacks to weaken your enemy over time. Cherry on the cake : skills that are nicely animated and feature the most iconic attacks from Eiichiro Oda’s work.
In sum, the fights are quite pleasant, with a pronounced tactical aspect and a good grip. Nevertheless, JRPG players may find them a bit easy in the long run. Especially since the experience rises quickly in this game and it is also possible to make the crew members more powerful thanks to the different equipment. The advantage is that there is no need to chain classic fights to level up before facing a boss that is a little too tough. But the downside is that the tactical aspect fades little by little to give way to a boring repetitiveness.
Some bonus challenges come from time to time to spice things up, but not enough to drastically change the gaming experience. Not to help, the bestiary is quite sparse and we therefore find ourselves regularly facing the same opponents. Once the first tactics are in place, the bulk of the gameplay therefore consists of repeating the same actions over and over again until the enemy is on the ground. And sometimes, this can be particularly laborious, especially when faced with the (too) many HP bags present in the game. Thus, the combat system is certainly interesting, but becomes repetitive and laborious over the hours. And to tell the truth, this is the observation that we are obliged to make on several aspects of the game.
Hard hard to be a pirate
If the lifespan (about thirty hours to finish the main story) may seem correct, we would have actually preferred it to be shorter. The game is indeed inflated by incessant back and forth which unfortunately weighs down the gaming experience. And that’s a shame because there are many different and interesting things to do in One Piece Odyssey. Side quests, quizzes, bonuses to recover, objectives to complete… Largely enough to get rid of unnecessary round trips (and also of its dispensable puzzles) while maintaining a good lifespan.
In general, the title of ILCA offers us a rather disconcerting rhythm. A fairly standard mission can quickly drag on for several hours. The gains of new consequences are sometimes widely spaced. And epic, supposedly emotional moments are immediately followed by goals with little stakes and significance in comparison. Even Chopper is ironic about the length or the FEDEX aspect of certain missions with small replicas like “we are not really couriers” Where “it took longer than expected”. With all this, we don’t always understand where One Piece Odyssey wants to take us and this not only weighs down the gaming experience but also the story.
We won’t go into details so as not to spoil you, but be aware that the storyline of One Piece Odyssey can be divided into two parts: on the one hand the mysterious plot surrounding Wadford and on the other the rewriting of the events of past arcs thanks to the world of Memoria. The idea is to offer us a new story while allowing players to relive cult moments from the anime. A risky bet, you will agree. Except that here, the game clearly has its buttocks between two chairs and it shows. The intrigue of Wadford (although supervised by Eiichiro Oda) struggles to measure up to that of the arcs that fans know. Stuffed with inconsistencies swept away with a simple wave of the hand, it also struggles to fully carry us away. The two newcomers, Adio and Lim, indeed lack depth compared to the other characters in the One Piece universe. On this level, the title does not manage to compete with the quality of writing of the manga, and for an unpublished story it is a pity.
- Beautiful immersion in the universe of One Piece
- Interesting tactical aspect
- battle animations
- The sound environment (music, dubbing, etc.)
- Frustration-free xp system
- Too many HP bags
- Dispensable puzzles
- Constant back and forth
- Not the best Eiichiro Oda story
- Redundant and laborious in the long run
As you will have understood, One Piece Odyssey is not free from any defect. Redundant and not very rhythmic, it risks leaving some players on the floor (especially those who are not familiar with JRPGs). But still, thanks to its engaging universe and its ingenious combat system, the game holds up well. Bandai Namco has found the right course with this title, which is, to date, the most complete and daring adaptation of the work of Eiichiro Oda. The room for improvement is great but the formula quite convincing. All that remains is to stay afloat to provide us with the ultimate One Piece experience for years to come. In the meantime, One Piece fans have something to start the year in style and have a pretty good time on Odyssey.
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