LifeIsXbox’s One Piece Odyssey review | One Piece and JRPG fans rejoice! If you were waiting for a faithful representation of the One Piece manga & anime in a sprawling 3D JRPG adventure, then One Piece Odyssey will deliver exactly what you’ve been looking for. This is the best-looking title from the IP we’ve seen yet and with involvement from the author, Eiichiro Oda himself, it’s actually rooted in the One Piece canon and could be referenced in upcoming episodes.
For players of Dragon Quest 11, wondering just why this game shares such a resemblance, it won’t be a surprise to learn that both games share the same developer in ILCA. Furthermore, the legendary JRPG franchise has always used character and monster designs by Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball and Oda has made no secret of being inspired by his colleague manga artist.
I personally haven’t read the One Piece manga, but I did watch about 800 episodes out of the already 1000+ released anime episodes and it just so happens that One Piece Odyssey takes off right around the part where I stopped watching, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by Bandai Namco, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Solid JRPG systems | If you’ve ever played a JRPG, you’ll know what to expect here. It’s a by-the-books turn-based combat system where your position also plays a role, but mostly for using attacks on a group of enemies. You’ll also be able to equip items to raise your stats, but with a nice “fit the slots into the grid” system that makes you think about optimal combinations. and I also enjoyed the EXP boost challenges in some encounters, where you get rewarded for following a rule like “have Luffy deal the finishing blow” or “kill all enemies before they use their special attack”.
- Exploration is rewarded | There is plenty to discover if you keep your eyes peeled. From cubes that will upgrade your powers to ingredients for Sanji to use in his mouth-watering recipes. Later on, you can even use Nico Robin’s ability to fuse equipment together, and that’s when the tactical possibilities really open up. Each world also has optional bounties to hunt or side-quests to complete and the reward is usually worth your while.
- No random encounters | Enough said. I guess no one really likes these, so good riddance and a great evolution for the genre.
- Autobattle & Speed-up | Ever since Bravely Default (at least I think they started it) there has been a trend in JRPGs to include the option to speed up the turn-based battle animations, saving the player from having to see the same special attacks at regular speed again and again. You can also turn on auto-battle and let the AI do the decision-making, speeding along the game even further. The AI is adept at making the right choices, with the only caveat being that it likes to use the most effective healing items a tad too generously. The other downside is that I did catch myself grabbing my phone to scroll on social media as soon as a battle commenced. Not that the combat isn’t enjoyable, but when you can let the computer take the wheel, it’s very tempting… (I reckon this will mirror our near-future with self-driving cars…)
- Visuals look great | Some of the environments are still a bit too bland and NPCs get copy/pasted too often, but that’s where my critique on the visual end for this game. One Piece Odyssey looks amazing and has fantastic animations that truly bring the anime to life. One little touch I noticed that I have gotten to appreciate, even though I don’t really get the reason for it, is that every single texture in the game, down to the characters’ skin, looks like it has a gridded pattern. It’s a peculiar style choice for sure, but it does lend the game a unique visual aesthetic, especially in close-ups.
- Very faithful representation of the anime | One Piece Odyssey delivers the best 3D representation I’ve seen so far of the crew including their characteristics. The original voice actors all lend their Japanese voicework, they are faithfully recreated in-game and it’s nice to see how Usopp has a funny walk, Sanji & Zoro bicker all the time and Nico Robin opens chests using her Devil Fruit ability to conjure some extra set of hands wherever she likes (this all won’t mean a thing if you never watched a single episode or read a single copy of the manga, but I think that if you’re going into this 100% blind, you may be doing yourself a disservice.)
- Interesting new characters and locations | The brand new part of the adventure takes us to Waford, an island surrounded by dangerous storms that traps any pirates that dared to sail close. Upon crashing their ship, Luffy and his friends get touched by Lim, stealing their powers and setting the rest of the narrative in motion as they will have to revisit their memories to earn their powers back.
- Mix of old and new | I don’t know exactly which target audience they were aiming for here, because as I already mentioned in the intro, the new elements of the story will be considered canon in the series, but at the same time you’ll be forced to relive a lot of old moments from the manga, starting off in Alabasta where they help princess Vivi fight off Crocodile, a mobster who schemes to overthrow the government. For people who didn’t watch the anime or read the manga, this makes the games the perfect stepping stone for the next episodes to follow, but that seems like a very narrow demographic. If you’re totally new to One Piece, you’ll be lost in the plot it throws at you and if you’re a longtime fan, you may not want to relive those moments another time.
- Japanese voice acting | Personally, I’m a big fan of the subbed version and never watch the dubbed alternatives, but I’m including it in mixed because I realize a lot of people will be used to hearing the English voices and there is not option in the settings to change it. Great to know: all the original voice actors have added their voicework to this game.
- Easy to get lost | I’ve found myself exploring every nook & cranny of an environment more than once because the game needs me to go to a very specific location to proceed the story, but because the map is terrible with multiple floors and showing the correct indicator, I lost valuable time. I could have included this in the dislikes section, but the truth is that this will be a non-issue in the days of the internet where people Google and GameFAQs their way through games. As a reviewer with an early build before any publicly available guides, however, I was left to my own perseverance.
What we Disliked
- Slow start | One Piece Odyssey has a really slow start and in the first hour you’ll be begging for it to pick up some pace. It also doesn’t help that it drops you in the middle of a story being told and only afterwards tells you how the Straw Hats got into the pickle they find themselves in.
- Lots of backtracking | I dislike having to rethread the same paths over and over again and you’ll be doing a lot of that in One Piece Odyssey.
– Go to this place
– “Oops, something happened, go back”
– Now you can proceed, go back down the same road
– Nope, new issue, go back once more
It’s maddening and feels like a cheap way to pad the game using the same environments.
- Lack of freedom | And if revisiting the same areas for story-related reasons isn’t enough, you’ll hate to hear that a lot of locations are gated off until the game allows you to pass. You’ll see treasure chests just within reach, but just before getting to it, you’ll bump into an invisible wall accompanied by a “you should go there yet, focus on the current objective”. And you better take note because there will not be a marker on your map to indicate things you might have missed. To make matters even worse, about 8 hours into the game, you’ll unlock fast-travel options from the map, but most of the time it will have a “you’re not allowed to use fast-travel now” warning.
- Too easy | I was hoping to find some challenge towards the end of the main campaign, but was able to keep the AI making all combat decisions throughout the game. Experience goes around easily and if you make some decent equipment with Nico Robin’s ability, you’ll be overpowered in no time. Though it is cool seeing Luffy use his Conqueror’s Haki at the start of each combat and completely destroy all enemies in a single blink of an eye.
- Time-tracking | This is a minor issue, but I personally like knowing how much time I’ve spent in a game and One Piece Odyssey seems to keep tracking the time even though your console is in sleep mode. This may be an Xbox-only issues thanks to Quick Resume, and it’s really not a big deal, but I noticed the game telling me I’ve played ~500 hours when in reality I’ve only spent 40 actual in-game hours.
How long to beat the story | Around 30-40 hours depending on how sidetracked you get
How long to achieve 1000G | 50-60 hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Dragon Quest 11, Final Fantasy XV, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja
Do you prefer to see the One Piece Odyssey in action on the Xbox Series X? Here is the first hour:
One Piece Odyssey caters to both aficionados of the JRPG genre and longtime fans of the famous anime alike. The exploration especially feels great (when the reigns are let loose) and the animation is simply fantastic.
The AI combat is both a blessing and a curse, as I found myself keeping it on for the entire duration of the game and it may be too easy, but other than this it’s a solid recommendation, though maybe not for everyone.
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Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.