What They Say:
A brand new RPG set in the world of the popular anime, ONE PIECE! Play as members of the Straw Hat Crew in a fantastic adventure set in the ONE PIECE world!
I’ll admit right from the start that I am not a One Piece fan, at least not before playing One Piece Odyssey. I tried a few times to get into the anime but the older style just didn’t stick with me in today’s present animation state.
That said, the popularity of One Piece Red and now Odyssey has gotten me into the series for the first time ever. One Piece Odyssey takes two things I love: anime and turn-based JRPGs. Given the gameplay style of this game and the gorgeous, I wanted to give it a try as a newcomer.
Without a doubt, Odyssey expects you to know these characters as it takes place heavily into the middle of the manga (we’re talking 700+ chapters in). Even still, the notoriety of these characters and the beautiful camaraderie between all of them immediately captured me without knowing too much about them.
This was helped, too, by the structure of the game, taking place in a side story that involves the Straw Hats crashing into a remote island with many secrets abound. The two new characters that the pirates meet along the way act as nice stand-ins for newcomers like myself, while having fantastic designs and intriguing backstories.
The story itself in One Piece Odyssey is a tale of two different formats. First, there is the overarching plot about what is happening on this mysterious island and how the Straw Hats will get off of it. On the other hand, there is a return to four of the core arcs from the One Piece series and retelling them with some new touches.
In the middle of your adventure, you’ll visit a memory area where you’ll relive arcs like Alabasta, Water Seven, and more. Even though these took place in the middle of the adventure, the welcome exposition and cutscenes were able to catch me up to speed.
It didn’t lose out, either, on the emotional weight of everything and being able to explore these fully-fleshed towns and locations from the One Piece world. I honestly feel a little too spoiled, being able to experience what is clearly some of the best that the One Piece series has to offer in terms of characters and story.
While One Piece Odyssey shines in the unique story ideas and gorgeous locations, it falls flat a bit in the gameplay perspective. Even with the sprint constantly on, exploration feels rather slow and the character-based puzzles throughout the island and dungeons are far too easy.
The same goes for the turn-based combat, too. Outside of boss battles, I rarely, if ever, turned the auto-battle system off. It made the fights lightning-fast and grinding a breeze. Before I knew it, I was already overleveled from side quests and grinding out areas for a couple of minutes and remained that way for the duration of my playthrough.
When I did engage in the combat, I found that it was at least exciting in the form of the beautiful animations. You can pick up to four party members at a time from the Straw Hats and they each have their own elements and skills.
Some characters like Zoro are solid at both single-target and multiple enemies at once, while Nami has an overpowered skill that can demolish all enemies in battle at once. This is especially useful given the area-based system that I wasn’t a fan of.
Basically, each character randomly starts out in a circle with possibly other teammates and enemies in tow. You have to move to other circles to attack enemies in close-range or rely on long-range attacks. This complicates battles too much, which only further gave me reason to auto-battle most fights.
The ease of difficulty, too, meant that I never felt challenged even in the boss battles, especially since there are no difficulty options. That said, this wasn’t a gripe honestly as it was somewhat refreshing to have a laidback game that let me finally dive deep into the One Piece world. And I imagine veteran fans might appreciate this stunning take on one of their favorite manga and anime series, too.
If anything, One Piece Odyssey gives me hope for the future as it is perhaps the best turn-based JRPG anime adaptation that I’ve played, even triumphing over the great Fairy Tail game in the past. I would be happy to see a sequel, perhaps in an open-world format, with better exploration and combat options.
One Piece Odyssey made me a One Piece fan. Even as a newcomer, I was able to come in and enjoy the gorgeous world that was created, bringing the manga and anime to life in such a way that it could finally appeal to someone like me. Though the game is far too easy, both in its turn-based combat and exploration, I didn’t mind the relaxing nature of grinding out the story, memory areas, and side quests.
It also helps that One Piece Odyssey is anchored by the phenomenal Straw Hats which are the reason so many people love this franchise. I was finally able to enjoy characters like Luffy, Ace, Nico Robin, Chopper, and many others for the first time through what is likely the best turn-based JRPG anime game adaptation to date. Especially on the Steam Deck where it looks fantastic, runs well, and perfectly fits the form factor nature of the handheld computer.
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Age Rating: 13+
Release Date: January 12, 2023
Platform: PlayStation, Xbox, PC (reviewed on Steam Deck)
This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.