Review – One Piece Odyssey (PlayStation 5)

A Straw Hat Pirates JRPG that everyone should try!

One Piece is a very successful manga and anime series in Japan, one that has its following in the millions. I have to say it’s not a series I have followed myself so I was hesitant when this got announced. However, I do love a good JRPG and Bandai Namco promised that it would be a great game for newcomers of the series. Whilst I’ve not completed the game yet, having spent 20+ hours with the game, jumping in to this latest Straw Hat Pirates adventure was one of my better decisions.

Whilst One Piece lovers will no doubt recognise the characters straight away, One Piece Odyssey does a great job in introducing us ‘newbies’ to the main characters. Luffy is the games’ main character and along with his crew of what I can only describer as extraordinary, set their sites on becoming the greatest (good) pirates that there ever was. No spoilers here on the plot, but it takes the Straw Hat Pirates to a mysterious island where all their powers are taken from them by mysterious little girl. You go through the game trying to gradually get your powers back and uncover the secrets of the island, making new and bonding together friendships you already had. I am really enjoying the story and cannot wait to see how it ends, it’s one that has had me engrossed right from the beginning. Would I say it’s a typical JRPG story? Perhaps, but I really encourage you all to take a chance on this regardless of your knowhow of the One Piece manga already. There are parts where if you are new to the series, you’ll scratch your head at, such as revisiting iconic places from the Pirates 25 year history but as I said before, the game does a very good job in explaining each bit to you so you have a good idea of what’s happening and happened before.

The games’ voiceovers are in Japanese with English subtitles, which I felt a little underwhelmed by as I was hoping for English voices. Audio wise, the game does a good job, I never really felt tiresome from the in-game music or battle music. Visually, I felt like the game looked and played very much like a Dragon Quest title. I wouldn’t have said these were next-genesque visuals, more so a PlayStation 4 looking game. It’s very colourful in its design and the monsters you face are pretty extravagant as you would come to expect in a JRPG. Overall, you won’t feel like this game breaks any boundaries with its visuals or sound but does a decent enough job.

A JRPG is only as good as its gameplay and for the most part it plays a really good game. I am a huge fan of turn-based battles in a JRPG (a big reason FFX is my favourite JRPG) and I love that you have time to strategically get each move right and One Piece Odyssey does this perfectly in my opinion. Your squad of three (can be changed in battle) are put in different places of the battle and each player is given a specific block in which they can attack into. Each character has certain type, ‘power, range, healing’ etc which will prove important as certain attacks will be weak against certain enemies. The battle UI will showcase this so make sure you have the right characters in battle. As you get further in to the game, certain characters can also ‘bond’ together and pull out a huge attack. You’ll be using it quite a lot as you get further into the game as I did feel that as I made my way through, the enemies and bosses just became ‘that’ bit harder!

One of the main niggles I did have about the gameplay was the navigation part. The game will usually show you where you need to go, which is fine. However, there are times where you can be in a different zone, and the game will not tell you where you need to be at until you’re in that ‘part’ of the town. It’s quite annoying at times especially when at times it doesn’t tell you how to get to that part of the town you need to be at. I wish that Bandai Namco had put a tad more assistance in the game to make me enjoy it even more that I did.

Overall, One Piece Odyssey is a sold JRPG. It has a great battle system, good story, overall good game mechanics. There are a few niggles that stop it from being brilliant, but this still deserves a really good score. With the side quests on offer and a 25 year of memories to explore, One Piece Odyssey is the perfect place to start your Straw Hat Pirates adventure. Will it entice me to watch more One Piece content? Perhaps not, but this is a JRPG that still stands up on its own right.

A PlayStation 5 review code was provided by Bandai Namco

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