One Piece Odyssey

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One Piece Odyssey review
Jordan Helsley


A worthy filler arc

Not Your 90s JRPG

The straw hat pirates find themselves stranded on a strange island. Frozen lightning rains from the sky, their ship is in disrepair, and someone mysterious is watching them. As they come together from their disparate locations to get off this land, they’re only lead deeper into the mystery of Waford.

You don’t have to be a One Piece die-hard, or even a fan, to get excited about the prospect of One Piece Odyssey. They have made a lot of lofty promises about developer ILCA's partnership with Bandai Namco and how they were going to innovate on the genre while infusing One Piece's identity.

One of the primary mechanics that sees a shakeup is the tried-and-true turn-based battle system. While battles look very familiar from the start, with menus of attacks, skills, and items, they ramp the strategy up a bit with location-based battles. They're calling it Scramble Area Battle, and it's one thing that immediately excited me about the game. Instead of your five battlers standing in a firing line across from many foes, they broke the battle up into areas. Two of your characters versus one in one area, a one on three matchup in another, and two heroes looking to jump in, for example. For a hero to move to another area, there must be no opponents in theirs (unless they can use a skill to target another area). Combined with enemy attack orders, this minor change increases your tactics.

To ratchet things up further, encounters can trigger random Dramatic Scenes. These shakeup fights even more by temporarily disabling one of your fighters, giving you particular win conditions, or giving you a timer, all with the reward of bonus XP for completing.

Then you've got your rock-paper-scissors systems of attack types and elemental types. These systems gracefully layer on top of one another to provide a mental and physical challenge, while also giving you enough tools to overcome them, such as the ability to swap out fighters on the fly. I found these fights incredibly fun and engaging, to the point where I would seek out more just to test out my crew’s abilities and see what the game could throw at me. It is reminiscent of JRPGs of old, but has a distinctly modern flavour. While the combat absolutely shows its limitations as you progress through the game, I never found it boring.


Outside combat is familiar enough to be friendly. While free roaming areas, you'll stumble across enemies, touch them and a fight is on. Gone are the days of invisible enemies propagating battles at random, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I was allowed to be strategic; avoiding enemies I didn't care to fight, or getting the drop on them for an advantage in the fight. It improved the feel of the action sections for me.

There is also traversal mechanics that call back to each character's abilities represented in the anime and manga. Most obviously, Luffy can stretch his arms out to grapple points and pull himself up a ledge, or Chopper can lead your crew through a small hole in a wall.

Most of these unique abilities come into play in the game's dungeons, where puzzles reign supreme. They’re not overly difficult, mind you, but I couldn't help but liken it to a light version of a certain Zelda game in some of them. They were a joy to explore and complete while levelling up my crew along the way.

Possibly my favourite part of One Piece Odyssey is how they handle improving your characters. In the world, you'll find cubes that translate to purchasing skills for a particular character, while levelling up grants purely stat boosts. This allowed me to experiment with a few skills to see how they’d do against a certain enemy, while also allowing an effortless re-spec if I wanted to go a different direction.

Capturing The One Piece

It is clear that manga author Eiichiro Oda had an involvement with this game. They captured the characters well (clear even to someone with relatively minimal experience with the series), and the aesthetic, even in the 3D environment where so many others end up looking awkward.

The story feels at home, too. While it doesn't quite reach the level of a bombastic saga, it feels like a missing arc in the wider story, without being beholden to everything else. It's a mystery that I felt compelled to see through to the end, and though I felt it lacked the emotional punch of storytelling in some other recent RPGs, it had enough to keep me invested, and features plenty of moments for the One Piece faithful to enjoy.

It's The Little Things

One Piece Odyssey both excels and falls short on the little things. The ability for Luffy to stretch his arm out and pick up items from afar speeds up your progress through the worlds, but you’ll definitely find sections that overload you with combat encounters that end before the enemy has time to attack. The ability to speed up animations in combat saves you from having to sit through the same 10-second skills repeatedly, but I would have liked some feedback on potential damage infliction on an enemy’s total life bar to plan my attacks a little better. That said, the number of mechanics continually impressed me as they were further layered on top of the groundwork to surprising effect. It’s those broad strokes that are well executed, even if the finer details are hit or miss.

It was the surprises that kept me invested throughout, and I'm certainly not going to spoil them here. What I can say is it left me with a refreshing RPG that may not revolutionize the genre, but I think starts the year off right for either or both RPG and One Piece fans.

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fun score


Well-considered combat mechanics, quality-of-life improvements to game speed, and a true play-the-anime feel


Story falls slightly flat on the emotional end, strategic layer shows cracks later in the game, and some areas too bogged down with fodder enemy fights.