Written by Twisted Ideas
One Piece is one of the long running manga/anime whose games often get overlooked. It’s easy to see why. Like movie tie-in games they get a bad wrap often seen as cash grabs. Returning to the Unlimited series of games, will this port from the 3DS be as strong as the Dynasty Warriors inspired Pirate Warriors 2?
What is it about?
A legendary golden age pirate emerges in the eyes of the marines. Redfield aka “Red the Aloof” is a name that’s revered along with Whitebeard and Gold Roger.
Meanwhile, The Straw Hat Pirates find and return a talking raccoon Pato to the Island of Promises. Luffy not wanting to miss an adventure starts exploring Trans town. Shortly after, Luffy discovers that his crew has gone missing and in search for them he finds himself in lands from his past adventures. Disregarding the impossibility of the situation Luffy seeks to find out who is responsible.
How does it play?
One Piece Unlimited World is a third person action adventure game. You can play as any of the nine straw hat crew in a team of up to three. There is two player co-op on PS3 and Wii U and three on the PS Vita. The game is a brawler and has an emphasis on material gathering and item development like Monster Hunter games.
You have two main attacks generally light and heavy matching the character’s fighting style in manga/anime. Light attacks are quick and can end with a light or heavy finisher. Heavy attacks tend to be strong but slower single hit attacks. Either can be used in the air for different attacks. Many characters have unique heavy functions which breaks the flow from normal combat. As you fight you gain SP meter to use for SP attacks or support abilities. Break Rush allow you to deal more damage and stun enemies easily when you complete a list of combo strings in combat. There is defensive mechanic which lets you dodge, guard, deflect or counter enemy attacks defusing potentially bad situations.
Each crew member has their own experience and level. Only members who participate in quests gains experience. As the crew levels up they gain stats and possibly new SP moves. Custom Words are phrases that will increase a characters stats and passive abilities. Items Words are like consumable items but gradually recharge during the level. On the field maps where a majority of combat occurs there are areas where only certain crew members can access. These areas can contain materials or even treasure.
Trans town is the main hub. From here you can start story quests and are rarely prevented from starting them. The game encourages you to gather materials on the field maps and expand the Trans town’s facilities. Materials are found by destroying objects, dropped from enemies and caught in bug nets and fishing. Catching animals starts a minigame where you have to press button inputs to reduce the animal’s health.
The main facility is the tavern as it’s where you can take sidequests. Sidequests range from material gathering, hunting or boss fights. Sidequests are completely optional but it allows for opportunities to gather materials and level your party that the story quests doesn’t always offer. Other stores allow you to buy consumables and materials as well as develop new items, gear and food.
The Battle Coliseum is an arena filled with combat challenges. There are single combat and scramble matches. Successfully completing a match increases you rank in the coliseum league where more difficult challenges await.
How does it look?
Unlimited World uses cel-shading as with many anime based games on consoles. This is a port from the 3DS and I don’t know if the graphics were enhanced but it doesn’t look as good and Pirate Warriors 2. There isn’t as much detail in the shading and shadows giving the characters odd glow and bloom appearances.
The game’s cinematics look great. It fits the style of the anime that this could be a movie or a special to the anime. The in-game scenes lack animation. There is limited animation on the characters as they stand still almost motionless. It feels like reading the manga or visual novels but with the way the camera pans and the lack of lip syncing makes it look really lazy.
The animation for the characters are great. The screen can get busy and make things hard to see but this feels like One Piece. When you beat the last enemy in a wave time freezes and you get action shots of the character. These look awesome and I wish that I could take in-game screenshots of them.
How does it sound?
Like Pirate Warriors 1 and 2 the game uses many of the voice talent and sound effects from the anime. If you’re a fan of the Japanese anime then you’ll feel right at home complete with the “To Be continued” at the end of chapters. Unlike Unlimited Adventure on the Wii, the American voice actors are not present (not the horrible 4Kids voice actors the newer ones). I know that it’s cost saving measure but it’s funny to note. I’m not 100% sure that the American dub is still going on.
What do I think?
Initially, I was underwhelmed with Unlimited World. The front loaded tutorials really shows how simple the game is. The combat is more simplified than Pirate Warriors and in some ways Unlimited Adventure. Once you get into the meat of the game and start some quests then it became much more enjoyable. The combat does get repetitive because enemies can take long to kill but it’s always a blast to play these characters.
The game’s easy if you keep a healthy supply of healing items and stick to your higher leveled characters. Mainlining the story makes the game much shorter. Unlimited World does not mesh the development and expansion of Trans Town with the story at all. The sidequests and material gathering are the biggest aspects of the game; If you dislike that repetitive grind then at least the game isn’t forcing you into it like Unlimited Adventure.
The story is actually well written when all is said and done. As where Pirate Warriors mashed together it’s continuity, Unlimited World took its history and confronted the crew with it. Unlike Unlimited Adventure, it doesn’t feel like a retread by having arbitrary cameos. Ever since the New World these characters have grown. Face to face with their past despair it show remarkable courage. Redfield and even Pato get their moments in the spotlight when they could have easily been stereotypical characters.
Should you get it?
One Piece Unlimited World Red is a fun game but isn’t terribly deep. The combat, quests and material gathering isn’t for everyone and it can get repetitive. The game lends itself better to the PS Vita because you can take quests at your own pace. This is a game for the fans and definitely respects the series but for player looking for a One Piece game with a little kick, I would recommend Pirate Warriors 2.