Preview One Piece Odyssey: A video game with Luffy and his friends as good as the anime and the manga of Eiichiro Oda?
As the manga gradually enters its final arc, the hype around One Piece has never been stronger. To strike while the iron is hot, Bandai Namco offers a new video game adventure of Luffy and his friends, but this time in the form of a turn-based role-playing game. What offer an experience at the height of the hype of anime and manga?
- An original fanservice-like adventure
- Does turn-based work for Luffy and his friends?
- Graphically at the height of manga and anime?
More than a month before its release, we were able to get our hands on One Piece Odyssey thanks to Shadow, a service of cloud computing which allows you to play games remotely on a virtual PC. The opportunity for us to do a long session of more than five hours, just to see what the new ILCA project has under the hood. As a reminder, the developer is known to have been one of the supporting studios for many big Japanese games in recent years like Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown,
Dragon Quest XI or the titles of the NieR saga like NieR Automata Where Replicant. More recently, they have made a name for themselves above all by dealing with the development of Pokémon Sparkling Diamond / Sparkling Pearlthe fourth generation remakes of pocket monsters.
Our One Piece Odyssey preview video!
An original fanservice-like adventure
On the contrary of One Piece: Pirate Warriors, One Piece Odyssey offers an unpublished story that features the Mugiwaras, the Japanese name given to Luffy’s crew which simply translates to “the Straw Hats”. Thus, while our heroes are at sea, they see in the distance a strange island from which springs a ray of light between ruined towers. That’s when they are swept away by a storm that will obviously land them on this mysterious place. While their ship, the Thousand Sunny, is devastated following this incident, they will meet Adio and Lim, two new characters drawn by Eiichiro Oda himselfand who are also castaways on this land called Wafford. Unfortunately, since the young woman had a bad experience with pirates, Lim uses his powers on the Mugiwara so that they forget how to use their signature techniques. The abilities of our heroes are then represented in the form of a cube with a green aura and the challenge of the adventure will be to recover these powers. Sometimes, we will come across blocks larger than others that will force our heroes to dive into their memories to recover their techniques, the perfect opportunity to visit places well known to fans.
Beneath its original story tunes, One Piece Odyssey therefore gives pride of place to fan-service and offers to browse areas like Alabasta, which we were able to play during our game session, but also Water Seven as we have seen in the trailers for example. However, the small peculiarity in all this is that the enemies encountered along the way are as strong as in the memories of the Mugiwara. A clever script pirouette that explains why these enemies beaten long ago are as strong as our heroes today. With such a scenario, Odyssey therefore offers moments that have something to please fans. In Alabasta, for example, we were able to find Vogue Merry or see Ace again for a moment. Unfortunately, while these are highly anticipated sequences by fans, these passages are often overlooked since they are only the subject of a small cutscene, which is a little disappointing.
Does turn-based work for Luffy and his friends?
The great particularity of Odyssey is above all that it takes the form of a role-playing game with turn-based combat, something rather rare for an anime adaptation. While strolling in the world, one can therefore come across enemies who will trigger a confrontation. During the player’s turn, we can attack our opponents directly or choose to use one of our heroes’ abilities. These consume technical points (TP) that are recovered simply by hitting. To add a little more subtlety, fights are based on a rock-paper-scissors system, with each character having a type that is both stronger and weaker against another. There is a second similar mechanic with elemental vulnerabilities such as fire, lightning or ice. Finally, the last originality of Odyssey’s fights is that our heroes and their enemies are divided between four different areas. We go from one to the other simply by hitting and this system is very practical for sheltering units that attack from a distance. And if you don’t like your composition, don’t panic, you can always change the characters on the field at any time, to make the most of each hero’s unique skills. Because yes, you can imagine it but all Mugiwaras fight in their own waywhether it’s Chopper who heals his allies, Usopp and Robin who attack from a distance or Luffy and Zoro who are much more melee.
Having worked on Dragon Quest XI, we feel that ILCA used some of its know-how for this One Piece Odyssey. Seemingly simple enough, the fights gain in subtlety thanks to the type and elemental weakness system, but also to the zones which make it possible to distribute its units. And then, since we easily recover PT, we constantly use abilities which are one of the great strengths of the experience. To stay faithful to the manga and the anime, we feel that the developers wanted to take care of the attack animations of the Mugiwara, which makes them pleasant to watch. This is especially the case for link assaults which allow multiple units to attack together. If thanks to all this the fights of Odyssey are rather effective, it must be recognized that the clashes against bosses are particularly long given their large amount of hit points. Our advice, use Usopp’s state altering abilities, they wreak havoc! And if you stumble against an enemy, it is always possible to wear equipment that reinforces the characteristics of your heroes or to use cubes collected along the way to improve their abilities. With the power of Lim which materializes the skills in the form of cubes, we therefore recover throughout the adventure new attacks, which gives the feeling of constantly progressing.
Graphically at the height of manga and anime?
On the side of the technical part, One Piece Odyssey offers a fairly nice rendering of what we have seen. We are therefore in front of 3D models of the Mugiwara which are rather successful and which really give the feeling of being in front of the heroes, especially thanks to the presence of the voice actors of the anime. As for the environments, they benefit from a style drawn with a rather effective pencil stroke effect. Nevertheless, the sets often take the form of fairly empty corridors which sometimes just hide a succession of fights. The facial animations aren’t flawless either, with faces frozen during less important conversations. But besides that, this rather static side is compensated by the animations in combat which are really dynamic and recall the cult moments of the manga and the anime.
One Piece Odyssey is a title that has something to please fans of the work of Eiichiro Oda. In addition to its original story, the ILCA game gives pride of place to fan-service by taking us back through cult regions of manga and anime. On the gameplay side, we feel a logical influence of Dragon Quest which allows the title to take advantage of a solid turn-based combat system with dynamic animations, but which has yet to reveal its full potential to us. And if the graphics offer successful 3D models for the Mugiwaras and decors with a nice rendering, certain areas and visuals are sometimes dated. While waiting for the final verdict, we remind you that the title is scheduled for PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox Series for January 13.
This page contains affiliate links to some products that JV has selected for you. Each purchase you make by clicking on one of these links will not cost you more, but the e-merchant will pay us a commission. The prices indicated in the article are those offered by the merchant sites at the time of publication of the article and these prices are likely to vary at the sole discretion of the merchant site without JV being informed.