The role-playing game based on the famous manga is the first surprise of this 2023
Bandai Namco has decided to give gamers what they have been asking for for a long time: an RPG set in the world of One Piece. It’s not the first, of course: but in the course of a history made up of more than twenty years of video games based on the franchise, most of which are mediocre, One Piece Odyssey is the title that more than any other does justice to the Eiichiro saga Oda. The master designed the new characters that are introduced in this game, and supervised the story: the crew of the straw hats find themselves in Waford, a mysterious land that hides secrets that stir the powers above. Unaware of everything, Luffy and his friends will be forced to explore the area is to figure out how to repair their ship, both to recover their powers.
The developer ILCA has developed a very classic role-playing game of Japanese style, canonical and orthodox in its turn-based combat, in its use of technique and life points, in its menu for upgrading and equipment. However, the Japanese developers, veterans of the sector with engagements from Square Enix and The Pokémon Company behind them, have spiced up the mix with an original system of deployment on the field: during the clashes the characters are distributed in various areas, and will be able to move in rescue of companions only after defeating the closest enemies. It is a “chess” system which, combined with other strategic aspects proposed by the game, makes the battles always different.
The rest of the game is left to exploration, with fairly simple puzzles but well-crafted environments and a challenging sense of progression. To pay homage to the fans of the manga series, the developers have also included chapters set in classic moments of the original series, albeit with some unexpected twists that even give some unpublished backstory. From a technical point of view, One Piece Odyssey is rich in details, with polygonal models that do justice to the anime counterpart. There is no shortage of uncertainties in the framerate and resolution drops to take advantage of 60fps, in the only graphics mode present on Xbox Series X (on PS5 there are two), but all in all it is the best visual rendering in a One Piece game that has been shown.
One Piece Odyssey is a love letter to fans of the saga, but at the same time it’s an unexpected surprise for fans of classic JRPGs. It is a real breath of fresh air in the panorama of turn-based combat, because the game takes full advantage of giants of the genre and proposes everything in a key that respects the work from which it is taken. Non-fans could get lost behind a characterization with 25 years of history behind them, of course, just as fans of the most famous role-playing games will end up recognizing in this title a certain underlying simplicity, and too many ingenuity in the phases exploratory. Nonetheless, One Piece Odyssey is an exceptional tie-in to be recommended unreservedly to the Luffy faithful, and warmly to lovers of the genre.
Format: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S (version tested), PC publisher: Bandai Namco Developer: THE CA Vote: 8/10