One Piece. An anime I’ve never really delved into. I watched the first two episodes before realising that there’s about 300 more to trawl through. Here at n3, Josh Young and I reviewed the game in a video from two perspectives – a longtime fan of the show, and a total newbie. I was the newbie.
So I thought it’d be best to get a bit more in-depth in a written format on my opinions of the game, with a heavier focus on elements that I enjoyed without actually knowing who half the characters were, or the overall plot.
One Piece Unlimited World RED is definitely a game that relies on the player to already have some knowledge of the characters. There really isn’t much of an explanation beyond their names and overviews of their abilities. As I played the game alongside a fan, I had the assistance of him explaining the rough plot up to this point, but I feel like I wasn’t as attached to the characters as he was. However what I did understand of the plot was very entertaining. The characters are all likeable and have their own charm that shines through, especially during combat. You can swap between your party of three mid-battle and experience all their different battle styles, including skills and combos that are fully animated and bursting with personality.
Combat is simple at heart, but gets complex as you unlock and use more combos and skills. Your skill meter (underneath the health bar) goes up as you fight, enabling you to do a skill that uses half of the meter, or the whole thing, depending on how much you let it charge up. The highest charge is a combo attack with all three characters, whereas the lower charge is a character’s signature move. You can block, deflect, counter and dodge attacks by a context-sensitive press of the A button at the right time during an enemy attack. That is about as complex as the combat gets, but the combination of characters is where the fun and strategy is.
The game features two gamemodes: A Campaign mode and a Colosseum mode. The campaign mode, of course, is the game’s main story and features a variety of extra features, such as the town building elements, fishing and bug catching minigames and ability to level up and upgrade your team. Colosseum mode allows you to pick one or two characters and fight all-out in several different modes, with the end goal being to rank up, unlock more characters and defeat the final boss of the mode.
There is a loose story for this mode, but honestly it’s irrelevant. Essentially, the main character (Luffy) and his crew enter the tournament to get to the top and win the prize of “anything you want.” I found the Colosseum mode to be a lot of fun as being thrown into combat repeatedly really appeals to me – sometimes, I just like to beat the crap out of enemies and not think about exploration or plot!
Graphically both gamemodes look fantastic, especially the ocean views in the campaign mode. The game features a cel-shading style similar to The Legend Of Zelda: Wind Waker HD but without as thick black lines to distinguish colours, resulting in a bright and vibrant style that is really appealing to look at, and makes a nice change from most other modern games.
The game’s soundtrack and sound effects all suited the game perfectly, and gave off a pirate-y feel throughout. The combination of audio and visual effects really remind me of what I’ve seen from the anime, which I can only assume is a good thing.
The only real downside to the game for me was the co-op mode. Not only was it a pain to figure out at first, taking us at least 30 minutes, but the split-screen looks squished and awkward. Player 2’s health bar also ends up shrunk down into a smaller version of it, which seems really strange in comparison to Player 1’s normal UI. Despite these issues, co-op mode is still fun but a little underwhelming for the second player. It feels more like Player 2 is just along for the ride rather than actually engaging with the game.
This game is a lot of fun, but I definitely recommend picking up the anime first, especially if you’re like me and don’t know anything about One Piece. Hey also, if you want to check out some sweet gameplay you can check out our video review featuring Josh Young and myself here: