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Hoist the mainsail and batten down the hatches, because the Straw Hat Crew are back with their biggest videogame adventure yet! Whilst ONE PIECE is a franchise that has been going strong for over 23 years, this is the first time (at least to my knowledge) that a videogame adaptation has ventured into turn-based RPG territory. But is this a journey worth setting sail for, or is it better left at the bottom of the ocean?

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The story of ONE PIECE ODYSSEY is both an original tale, and a retelling of various arcs told in the anime and manga. The crew find themselves shipwrecked on a mysterious island, and with some of them missing (including Luffy’s hat!) the opening portions of the game see the team exploring the island to find their lost friends.

Once reunited, their time spent on the island of Waford isn’t where the majority of the game takes place. Sure, there are times in which players can explore the tropical paradise and take on many side quests, but the bulk of the time spent in ONE PIECE ODYSSEY will be within Memoria; dimensions that allow the crew to relive their past adventures. In order to regain their lost powers, the Straw Hat Crew will venture to locations they’ve visited in the past, and re-enact the events that took place. This serves as a fun trip down memory lane for fans of the franchise, with arcs such as Alabasta and Water Seven being featured.

Fear not for any JRPG fans amongst you that have yet to experience the long-running series; ONE PIECE ODYSSEY is a game that is fairly welcoming to newcomers. Having some prior knowledge of the characters (such as why Zoro wields three swords, or how Luffy is like a Stretch Armstrong) will certainly help in enjoying this light-hearted tale, but just know that it’s an easy enough story to follow regardless of how much of a fan you are.

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Everything about ONE PIECE ODYSSEY’s presentation is top-tier. The normally 2D characters come to life in this 3D world full of vibrant locations. Everything from the unique monster designs to the stylish user interface really captures the feeling of the anime, and the fact that during my playtime I encountered no frame drops, glitches, or crashes makes it a rare case of a modern game launching without any technical issues.

Music and sound design are equally appealing, with up-beat, bouncy tracks that will be familiar to anyone that has watched the show. Voice acting is just as great as it is in the anime, with the original cast lending their vocal performances once again. There is no English dub, however, so unless you’re fluent in Japanese then expect to be reading quite a lot!

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There were several moments whilst playing ONE PIECE ODYSSEY that I found it reminded me of another JRPG: DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. If you’ve played that gem, then you know that is high praise indeed. That isn’t to say that this title is a copy of Dragon Age XI with a quick ONE PIECE reskin, as ODYSSEY has its own unique mechanics that make it stand on its own.

Whilst not a genre-defining revolution, the combat doesn’t play exactly like other turn-based JRPGs, in fact the battle system has some mechanics that I’ve never seen before. Naturally, you have your standard attack for each battle participant, alongside character-specific abilities that are ripped straight from the anime and look just as stylish, if not more so! In addition, you’re free to swap party members in and out, which, when combined with the rock-paper-scissors style of combat system, can really work to your advantage. Aside from some late game bosses though, it’s an incredibly easy journey for the Straw Hat Crew, and very rarely did I struggle with a particular combat encounter. Some difficulty settings would have been nice for a bit more of a challenge.

Positioning also plays a big part in combat, and you’ll find different areas to relocate to during the heat of battle. Certain abilities will force a character to move, and having the right set-up in each area will make short work of most of the foes found in the game.

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Outside of battles, you’ll be adventuring around various hub areas to tackle quests, uncover hidden corners of the map, and explore the various towns and cities. Although the game doesn’t feature large open-world areas, there is a fair amount to see, and you’ll use each character’s unique abilities (such as using Chopper to navigate small spaces, or Usopp’s slingshot to hit out of reach objects) in order to see everything ONE PIECE ODYSSEY has to offer. It makes tackling side quests that little bit more engaging by having these small puzzles in the way of the objectives.

ONE PIECE ODYSSEY is better than I anticipated in every way imaginable. After some below-average videogames, it’s not difficult to say that this may be the best entry into the franchise, and I’d love to see more adventures of Luffy and crew in this turn-based JRPG format.

9.00/10 9

ONE PIECE ODYSSEY (Reviewed on PlayStation 5)

Excellent. Look out for this one.

ONE PIECE ODYSSEY is a fantastic journey with the Straw Hat Crew, that combines a light-hearted adventure, with a fun and flashy combat system. A must-play if you’re a ONE PIECE fan, though still very much recommended even if you’re not.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Mike Crewe

Mike Crewe

Staff Writer

Bought a PS5 and won't stop talking about it

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