I’ve been waiting for this One Piece Odyssey for months. I was able during Paris Games Week to get my hands on the demo, which left me with mixed memories. The H hour has come, Let’s embark!
I won’t insult you by explaining One Piece, the 104 volumes and 1047 episodes of the TV series. Know that it is part of the holy trinity of the manga of the 2000s Shonen (manga for boys) with Naruto, Bleach and therefore One Piece.
To put it simply, Luffy is a hero who ate a devil fruit making him elastic and he will build a crew in order to find a treasure that will allow him to become the king of the pirates. All the ingredients of good Shonen are there: self-transcendence, camaraderie, code of honor, charismatic villains… which explains its worldwide success.
On the home console, One Piece games are mostly Musos like Dynasty Warriors or Hyrule Warriors, a genre where you have to knock out enemies in packs of 50, without great storyline depth. Here, we have the right to an original story by author Eiichiro Oda, placing after 900 episodes.
Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Chopper, Nami, Brook, Usopp, Franky and Robin are sailing the Grand Line when they spot an island and find themselves catapulted into the air. Stranded miserably on the island, their boat is almost destroyed. They will therefore travel this island in order to unravel its mysteries and repair their boat.
The game comes in the form of a classic JRPG but with some nice little subtleties. A notion of our character’s attribute, either speed, technique or strength, which will allow us to apprehend the enemies of combat in a tactical way because of course the enemies are more or less sensitive to this or that attribute of our heroes and an ingenious system of area. During the combat phase, the enemies do not occupy a single plane but a “cluster” system where each member of the combat formation will have to eliminate those present in his area before going to help his teammates or use his skills to interact with the neighboring area. Well thought !
The JRPG side will put some off but it’s the best possible choice for this license which combines humor, fight, relationship between the characters and scenario. For a role-playing game, it’s not at the beginning of the Final Fantasy saga with random fights. Here, the enemies are visible on the screen in order to approach them as well as possible in the manner of a Grandia for example.
The main script element of this game is the discovery of the island but above all an encounter with the couple of characters from the island Adio and Lim. The latter will make you lose all your powers and memories: a pretext to go through the key events of the series, Crocodile and Arabasta or even Don Flamingo and DressRosa with a few changes because our memories are rarely an exact reflection of reality. A bit like a forty-year-old who thinks back to his first loves by idealizing them.
The game is rich, beautiful and respects the work of Oda despite the obligatory passage by 3D (in my opinion more successful than the 3D OAV in pursuit of the straw hat which took the bias of a cel shading not necessarily successful), long and essential for any self-respecting One Piece fan.
On the other hand, for all those who would like to enter the universe in this way, I would advise against it. The game is long and slow. While this may pass for insiders and fans, JRPG enthusiasts will be frustrated. Quests interspersed with other quests, Fedex adventures galore, an open world where exploration is clearly impossible. You move away from the guideline and hop: a Cut Scene that puts you back in the direction of the quest imposed on you. We have the impression of not moving forward, of always being at the mercy of what the game asks of us, of being held by the hand and therefore never having control of our destiny. That’s a shame.
I would add to that music that really goes everywhere that does not capture the epic spirit of the adventure. We have the impression of being in a good compilation of a clone of Rondo Veneziano than of Shiro Hamaguchi. But if you like One Piece and the Mugiwara, this is a Must Have. For the others, just a JRPG with its qualities and its faults but which will not go down in the history of video games and even less of piracy. And don’t forget… We Are!