Set sail once again for One Piece, with Bandai Namco’s latest video-game adaptation of the wildly popular One Piece franchise, One Piece: Unlimited World Red. The latest installment looks to expand upon many elements present in past One Piece titles all the while taking it in some different directions. For this review we received a copy of the game on PlayStation 3 and as such our views are based upon that particular version of the game.
The first thing that struck me with One Piece: Unlimited World Red was how much inspiration it takes from the Monster Hunter series.
It was hard not to be reminded of the epic clashes and quests of Monster Hunter when tackling the Punk Hazard Dragon in an arduous battle. The game incorporates a lot of RPG elements that are highly reminiscent of games like Monster Hunter and the quest elements of the game definitely do mirror those seen in that series.
One Piece: Unlimited World Red does have a story mode, but like most One Piece games, the story is ultimately a moot point. It generally just tasks you with regathering the Straw Hats and then taking out a series of big bads and ultimately the final big bad. It is nothing new and to be honest it is rather poorly paced in Unlimited World Red, dragging far too much in some portions, leaving the player hanging to just move on already.
The core of the story mode is its hub world, an island called Transtown. In Transtown you are given quests and missions to take on, some utterly silly and others highly engaging. You get the sense that the whole hub world thing is a bit of a crutch for Unlimited World Red, especially considering the nature of the series, but it does make sense for the game to have a place to serve as a launching pad for the actual stages of the game.
While the game is technically considered and adventure game with RPG elements, it lacks a lot of adventuring, rather its story is highly linear and just has you roll through missions to progress forward through a level based on settings in the One Piece world. On the flip side of that, the RPG elements do really shine through in a big way, with leveling and character building having a strong focus here.
The battle system is rather different in comparison to the previously released One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, which was a more traditional beat-em-up styled system. Rather it is more influenced by a mix of the Tales Of series and the Monster Hunter series. There are a lot more attacks available in this game compared to past One Piece games and while Pirate Warriors 2 had you effortlessly destroying hordes of enemies, Unlimited World Red has you choosing your actions more wisely. Running into a horde will likely see you winding up dead in a hurry, the same applies to confronting bosses with little more than brute force (the general solution to all combat scenarios in Pirate Warriors 2).
Through this combat system the game adds a level of strategy that hasn’t been seen really in a One Piece game before. On top of that you throw in character stat building and equipment and you have a whole other layer of strategic planning that can come into play here.
Worth noting with One Piece: Unlimited World Red is its huge cast of playable characters. The game features nearly every One Piece character you would hope to play as or fight against and it may very well be the biggest cast in any One Piece game to date. There is so much variety between the characters as well with no two characters feeling quite the same. That variety really adds incentive to unlocking characters and perfecting their play styles.
The game does feature a multiplayer mode which is playable on and offline. There is something strange with it though. While the PS Vita and 3DS versions of the game allow for 4 players in multiplayer, the PlayStation 3 version only allows for 2 players. I don’t understand why it is this way and it does limit the game’s multiplayer aspect in a rather disappointing way.
One of the most anticipated modes in the game is the newly introduced Coliseum mode which is of course inspired by the Dressrosa battle tournament story arc currently ongoing in the series. This is your standard fighting mode and allows you to duke it out with enemies and progress through ranks with the ultimate goal of fighting Doflamingo. Do not be confused however, this is not the much requested VS mode, rather it is simply just a series of battles in Doflamingo’s Coliseum. It is a fun mode, but it does grow tiresome after a while. Which is honestly the game’s biggest problem overall.
For all of its vibrant visuals and upbeat plucky audio, the game can’t help but grow tiresome after a while. It does come jam-packed with content and it will surely satisfy hardcore fans of the series. However the game is just missing that addictive element that hooks you in and holds you. The combat is somewhat clunky at times and the story mode is basically a long filler arc that you can play for some reason.
In spite of its flaws, the game does provide some enjoyment and for those with an interest it will no doubt entertain them for quite some time. This is really just a game for the fans and ultimately they are the ones who will be able to find a lasting experience in this game. Anyone else however is probably best off setting sail for different shores. One Piece: Unlimited World Red limits itself in more ways than one, yet it still will likely prove to be a new world of fun for One Piece fans.
You can purchase ‘One Piece: Unlimited World Red‘ at any good video game retailer or through the PlayStation Network. For more information you can head to the official Bandai Namco site by Clicking Here.