One Piece has been going for yonks. It’s one of those Mangas that most people involved in “geek culture” will have heard of at some point in their life, but somehow, I’ve managed to avoid seeing any of throughout my 26 years on this planet. After playing One Piece World Seeker, I don’t think I’ll be looking to check out One Piece any time soon.
See, the story in One Piece World Seeker is as predictable as they come. As always, no spoilers so I’ll be a vague boy for you all, but neigh on beat-for-beat the story is easily guessable (is that even a word?). Man appears at a random place, said random place is having issues, man resolves to fix issues. Naturally, there’s a little more to it than that, like assembling the Straw Hat Pirates and what not, otherwise why make a game using the One Piece license? Though take it from me, it’s very, very, skippable.
Credit where credit’s due, One Piece World Seeker is an open world adventure game and the open world is huge. That’s about it for credit, as you see, the world may be large, but it ends up being a detriment to the game as a whole as the world is large and sparse. While there are materials for crafting (we’ll get to that) dotted around the map, it doesn’t make for compelling gameplay when you’re moving from sparkly dot to sparkly dot.
Gameplay-wise, there’s virtually nothing to One Piece World Seeker. Players control Luffy, the main character of the manga, as he trawls his way across the giant world. You’ll encounter members of the navy as well as other pirates. Neither of these factions is your friends, meaning you’ll be fighting every time you encounter either of the two groups. Fighting consists of mashing the attack button until things die. Does that sound reductionist? Good, that’s what I was aiming for.
See, it feels like One Piece World Seeker was aiming for a more character action feel with its combat. Sure, you can lock on, dodge and weave and wait for the perfect moment to attack, but there’s no point. Simply run at your target and hit them until they die or fall down. Luffy’s also armed with a few special moves, turning his arm into a rocket, or being able to shoot, somehow. Ranged attacks are kinda useful, as you can whittle down enemies from afar which reduces the time you spend fighting.
There’s also a big ol’ skill tree for you to unlock a multitude of various other abilities. While some are tied to story elements, others are there for you to unlock via skill points. Skill points are awarded on completing missions, as well as fighting the Navy or other Pirates, but there’s a huge difference between being awarded for completing a mission, compared to fighting. In some ways, it’s probably better to ignore fighting so that you can just progress missions to get more skills. While the skills will do various things, such as new moves, more health, more damage, you get the jist, the real game changers are the movement abilities.
Holy shit, why these aren’t just unlocked by default, I will never know, but the first thing I bought in the skill tree was the ability to slingshot off everything, cutting traversal in half. I’m being hyperbolic, but it makes One Piece World Seeker infinitely more fun.
After an hour or two, Luffy will have tracked down his crew, which unlocks a few more mechanics for you to “play” with. I alluded to crafting earlier. There’s equipment that raises Luffy’s stats in various ways. While you can find various equipment throughout the world (and some of it’s gifted to you as quest rewards) you can also have a member of your crew, or two members to be precise, that can craft equipment for you. Annoyingly, it’s usually shite for the most part as you’re restricted by getting blueprints to make anything useful. Talking to the chef allows you to give a crew member lunch. Not just a lovely thing to do, it causes the member to go out and collect various materials for you. There’s a real-time time limit on this, akin to that of many a mobile game.
One Piece World Seeker is probably most competent graphically. The character models look fairly decent if a little… dated in design. The world is what you’d expect. The shrubbery is present, there are some trees, a few buildings and they’re all decent looking. While there’s nothing to really complain about here, there’s also nothing to shout about, which is kind of the whole deal with One Piece World Seeker.
Stability is the weakest part of the game. While I was playing on a PS4 Pro, I had the games framerate tank seemingly randomly. While I can understand it dipping a little during some fights due to there occasionally being a lot going on, when you’re traveling from point A to point B and have the game descend into a slideshow, it definitely kills the flow. Though I suppose it’s choppy nature lends itself well to the original Manga source material.
Overall, One Piece World Seeker is a snoozefest. It’s dull at best, coma-inducing at worst. There’s no real flow considering most of your time will be spent traveling to various areas to listen to someone talk, then rinse and repeat. It’s a shame, as Fist Of The North Star: Lost Paradise showed us that you can take a manga and make a fairly decent game, but One Piece World Seeker feels rushed, lazy, and bland.