It’s time to talk about Strawhat Luffy and the gang in their latest adventure. I remember thinking that Odyssey sounded like a lot of fun with how you would get to relive the old adventures in a new way. It was also bringing in the turn based combat system which is fairly rare for One Piece games as they usually go with a 3D action/beat em up style. It definitely does work well for this title even if I have some issues. Ultimately this is a great game but they really dropped the ball on the story itself which is unfortunate.
The game starts off with Luffy and the gang having a good time at sea as always until a storm knocks them off their course and they land on an island. A girl named Lim shows up and steals their powers with her cube abilities. In order to get their powers back they will have to defeat 4 legendary colossuses on the island and additionally they must relive some of their most dangerous adventures. Lim will help them do this by unlocking the memory world and her friend Adio is also glad to help in any way that he can. The whole thing feels a little suspect but the heroes figure they can get stronger and have some fun so it’s a win/win. Are they embarking on their final adventure?
The story’s a bit forced there but hey it’ll be fun to see Luffy and friends utterly demolish all of their old opponents like Lucci and Crocodile now that they are so powerful…right? Well to get around that the film says that the villains have all gotten way more powerful in their memories and of course the heroes have lost all of their new abilities thanks to the cube. So what that means is…every arc basically plays out in the same way. It felt like the laziest way possible for the writers to not have to think of any new scenarios which was unfortunate. What’s even the point of not just making this a direct adaption then. It just felt like the biggest cop out imaginable. The only arc with any real differences is the final one in Dressrosa and even then it was just a small change by adding 2 characters in there.
So the game really didn’t deliver on its premise at all. In a lot of ways it’s sort of like the bait and switch that Sonic Forces did back in the day. The present storyline with the Colossuses and the mysterious Adio was good at least. That’s the part where you can at least get invested in. If the gameplay weren’t so good I would definitely get a bit more annoyed at that though. Odyssey tried to fumble the bag there a bit that’s for sure. We did get a full cinematic fight near the end which was cool though. For a minute there I thought we were going to get another phase to the final boss fight but when it was all a cutscene I thought that was cool. It’s not every day that you get to just watch a pure fight like that after all.
The game is fairly long too and took me over 25 hours. There are 9 chapters here but they each have a lot of battles. Each battle can take a while since you can’t skip cinematics and all special attacks have a full cutscene animation to them. It can make the fights a little longer than they need to be but I’m guessing the devs wanted to show off what a good job they did. I totally get it even if I always love how the Asdivine series lets you turn off attack animations for that exact reason. One mechanic I liked a lot here is that using normal attacks fills your special attack meter. It’s something I don’t recall any other RPG doing so that was cool. It’s better than having to use ethers every turn.
The game also has a customization aspect to it as you can power up your attacks and skills using your level up points. You can also reset the points at any time if you want to distribute them in another way. Additionally you can equip items to improve your stats and make foods/smoke bombs to get stronger or make your opponent weaker. There’s a good amount of options within the game and so you’ll find that unlike most titles it starts out rather difficult and gets easier as you go. This is because you unlock more and more items to use as you go through the game and they easily outpace the enemies you’re dealing with. For example a level up may improve your stats by 30 but then you can by an amulet that increases your attack power by 1400. It’s like you suddenly jumped up tons of levels. Whenever I would see an item like that I had to grab it.
Then later on you gain the ability to merge two equipments together to keep both of their effects in one shot. That made things even better. So there are lots of ways to power yourself up. Finally there is the old fashioned way of leveling up by fighting enemies. The final area has minions that each give you close to 200,000 exp points which is enough to level up twice in every battle. It was crazy how the exp skyrocketed since that’s more than just about every boss fight in the game. You could say the game wasn’t very well balanced by the end.
That leads to one of my issues with the game which is that there actually seem to be “dead spots” where you are trapped in a place with no enemies to fight and no way to escape. So in theory if I couldn’t find a way to beat the boss then I would be permanently stuck. Any good game always needs to leave you a way out so you can go and train so that was surprising here. I could see that being a real big issue if I played on hard mode or something. It’s something any RPG needs to really be careful of because that would just be incredibly disheartening. I’d probably have to put my controller down right then and there.
Meanwhile the graphics are very solid here. The character models can be a bit stiff but we do get fight scenes with them so the game does know how to use this pretty well. Then you also have the soundtrack which is rather limited but still good. What this all tells me is that the game’s budget wasn’t super high or anything like that but they still did a good job in making the game fun so I have to give them credit there. That isn’t always easy. With an even greater budget I’m sure there is a lot more they could have done here.
As it is there is still a good amount of replay value here. There are plenty of bounties to be completed and collectibles to grab. At the end of your journey you can even grab the Platinum trophy which would certainly be fun to have. I’m not sure just how difficult this one would be to grab but if it’s not too high then I may go for it. I have already gotten the platinum for a few One Piece games in the past after all. Either way you can see how the game gives you a whole lot of content for your purchase so you can definitely buy the game at full price and feel good about it.
The game’s original characters in Lim and Adio do a good job of being very memorable. Lim may not be much of a fighter or anything like that but she has a classic character arc of slowly learning to enjoy the journey with Luffy and friends more instead of always being so analytical. Adio’s mystery gradually unfolds as you play through the game but ultimately he’s not really someone I liked all that much. Maybe in part it’s because the game was too obvious with where his story was going to go but whenever the guy was on screen you knew that nothing good was going to happen for him at least.
Overall, One Piece: Odyssey is a great game. At times the lack of budget starts to seep through but ultimately it’s a good chance to hang out with Luffy and the gang again. I think it did have some ambitious mechanics within it like every character having their own special ability. The game just could have done a little more with it. Mainly I’d just like them to follow their own premise a bit better and not just sabotage it right away. It’s just a very strange move narratively. Still, if you like One Piece or want to play a fun RPG, this one should be right up your alley.