One of the great novelties that we are going to have at the beginning of 2023 is the arrival of One Piece Odyssey, a classic turn-based Japanese role-playing game set in the universe of Luffy and his friends. Eiichiro Oda’s eternal work has had playable proposals of all kinds, from beat’em ups to open world adventures, going through options closer to fighting, but now it delves into the JRPG genre with a style that is inevitably reminiscent of Dragon Quest. We have been able to play at the start of odyssey and we already know where the shots are going.
The first thing is the location: One Piece Odyssey It is located on an unknown island, outside the main manga and anime canon, and has its own story to develop. luffy and his crew end up in this place without knowing exactly where he is, and we must regain contact with all our friends before we can continue. In our progress, especially looking for a Nami who is in trouble before a major enemy, we will meet two new characters created entirely for this work, and we will see how it works as a tutorial (several character levels, all skills unlocked) He ends up disappearing to start from scratch with the protagonists.
You will already know the reasons for this change, but here we will focus on what we have learned from these first stages of adventure, which are separated into two very different approaches: exploration and turn-based combat. In the first case, we control Luffy while we discover everything that surrounds us: from characters that will tell us something to places to observe some element of interest. There are also some simple mechanics such as hooking ourselves to places with our abilities to jump from one side to the other, climb stairs… All in a fairly marked and linear way.
At this point, each character has their own particularities. luffy can reach impossible places by extending his arms, Sanji you can find secret ingredients that you can then cook to get better power-ups, Zoro he can break some obstacles like doors, while Nami can detect hidden money. All with characteristics similar to those we know in the original work.
In this exploration phase, almost without loss, we realized something that we already saw in the trailers, and that is that on the screen we only see one character and not the entire team or part of the one that goes with us. A curious decision, taking into account the current times and that being able to show three or four models should not be problematic. Naturally it is not something dramatic, but it is something that surprises us, since at a visual level we would have liked to have the presence of the main team on the screen.
A classic combat, with its peculiarities
The combat system is that of the classic turns of the most traditional JRPGs, such as the one mentioned Dragon Quest. We have the option to attack as normal, use abilities and objects, but with some peculiarities that make the title have its own personality. The first and most notable has to do with the zone system of the game: each confrontation places our characters in one of the four zones, doing the same with the enemies we face.
This means that we will have characters fighting melee, others at a long distance and the possibility of exchanging positions or advancing in them according to our actions. The system is designed so that we can exchange the place of the characters, use attacks that are more effective from near or from afar -according to each one- and all this contributes more dynamism and more strategy to what we are doing. With normal combat against various enemies it is not so relevant, but before the bosses we did see the importance of having certain characters in the rear to avoid depending on what attacks and to be able to surprise from a distance.
To this is added the classic triangle of strengths weaknesses, here indicated by strength, speed and technique. Each character has a different style, so depending on the enemy’s style, he will be more or less effective when carrying out his attacks. This, added to the positioning on the board, gives a series of interesting options and possibilities, which in the first few hours is a simple approach but which we believe can be exploited intelligently as new enemies and final bosses appear. To all this are added small challenges in combat (dramatic scenes) where if we meet the requirement that is asked of us we will get experience enhancers and other rewards.
The opening bars of Odyssey They present elements to take into account. The character modeling looks good and faithful, as well as their characterization and dialogue, and the cast of enemies is visually appealing. The world and the places we explore have seemed much simpler, quite empty at times. But it is the combat, the equipment system, and the character options that make us hope that we are facing a well-resolved One Piece-scented JRPG. We will see if what he proposes in the first hours is developed throughout the title.