FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
Story image
Game review: One Piece Odyssey (PS5)
Thu, 26th Jan 2023
FYI, this story is more than a year old

One Piece has always been one of the more popular manga-turned-anime franchises that have had a ton of video games over the years. While some are fighting games, one of the biggest genres the series has delved into is the Dynasty Warriors genre.

Personally, I have reviewed several One Piece video games over the years, and most of them have been fun and entertaining. Well, 2023 sees a different kind of One Piece game called One Piece Odyssey.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think One Piece Odyssey is the first One Piece game to be an open-world turn-based RPG. While you are free to explore many different locations in One Piece Odyssey, you will have to overcome the old-school style of combat system.

Before I talk about the gameplay in One Piece Odyssey, I want to speak about the impressive 2D graphics that the game has. If you are playing the game on PS5, there are two graphical modes that you can set it to. There’s 4K and 30fps, or you can choose to play the 1080p and 60fps option.

For those of you who still only own a PS4 or PS4 Pro, the only option available to you guys is 1080p and 30fps. That being said, both versions still have great anime-style graphics, as it looks like you are literally playing a playable cartoon series.

The PS5 version goes even further by providing better textures, draw distance and shadows. It goes without saying that buying the next-gen version is the way to go if you have access to a newer gaming system.

One thing I have to say about the game’s presentation is that you can only play the game with Japanese audio and English subtitles. You won’t be able to hear an English dub version from Funimation if you watched the anime.

As for the game’s story, Luffy and his pirate crew are sailing at sea and they see a strange light. Something draws their ship to the light and then they crash land on a mysterious island. They need to find out how to get off the island and also get back their abilities.

At the start of the game, Luffy and his pirates are overpowered and have all their abilities intact. Since this is an RPG, the game strips the group of all their abilities because a girl that lives on the island thinks they’re all evil pirates.

Stripped of their skills, Luffy and his friends have to now collect cubes to get their abilities back. Aside from the mysterious island, they will also revisit familiar locations that fans of the series will recognise.

One of the great things about this game is that pretty much every member of Luffy’s pirate gang is playable in the open-world environment. For example, Luffy is important because he can use his extendable rubber arms to reach higher ledges. Nami has the ability to find treasure which is important to gain currency. Zoro on the other hand can use his sword to gain access to new areas and more.

Another thing I like about One Piece Odyssey is that there are no random battles whatsoever. Instead, you can see enemies roaming around the battlefield, and when you touch them, only then will you initiate battle. If you are able to sneak up behind them, you will also get the chance to strike first!

While many aspects of One Piece adopt modern gaming features, the one old-school thing it retains is its bulky turn-based combat system. Turn-based combat is pretty much ancient history in modern Final Fantasy games, but many JRPG loyalists prefer this style of combat. You may notice turn-based combat still exists in the Dragon Quest and Persona franchises, just to name a few.

If you are unfamiliar with turn-based combat, it’s best described as a kind of chess match. Instead of dodging and attacking all of the time, the player and the AI will have to take turns during combat. The only major downside to turn-based fighting systems is that you usually cannot move, and you have to be a sitting duck whenever the enemy starts to attack you.

I preferred the combat in Crisis Core because you are free to dodge big attacks, or you can prevent the boss or enemy from unleashing its special moves. Here in One Piece Odyssey, you just have to stand there and bear the brunt of attacks. The only way to make things a bit better is that you can always use items to replenish any lost health.

One interesting aspect of this game is its Tension Points or TP system. Instead of using magic or ability points, in order to use special moves, you have to have enough TP to execute them. You can gain more TP by using standard attacks, although you don’t want to run out of TP if you are up against a hard boss.

Using special moves is really cool because they do much more damage and they can also hit more than one enemy type. As you progress further into the game, you will gain access to more abilities that the characters lost at the beginning of the game.

Most of the battles in One Piece Odyssey are easy, and many JRPG veterans should get through the 30 to 40-hour campaign quite easily. However, I will say there are some annoying bosses in the game, like the Banana Gators! If you’re feeling extra lazy, you can even choose a mode where the AI fights on your behalf.

While some younger gamers might struggle with the turn-based combat system, many JRPG fans shouldn’t have too much trouble playing One Piece Odyssey. The story is unique, and fans of the franchise should be satisfied with its presentation and gameplay.

Verdict: 8.0/10