One Piece Odyssey needs to deliver

Back in June of 2021, we first heard that a new One Piece game was in the works: One Piece Odyssey. I remember when I first read the name “Odyssey” I was certain we were in for another awful One Piece game that would once again make me a joyless boy. I am all for giving things a chance though; I still enjoy the Pirate Warriors games so I shouldn’t judge the games too early. At the end of the day, it’s One Piece, so no matter what, I’m going to try it. 

So today I want to talk about some of the recent reveals that have come out for the game, as well as some of the pitfalls it needs to avoid. One Piece is one of the longest-running, best-selling manga and anime of all time. There are generations of people in Japan and across the world that have been following Luffy and the Straw Hats on their journey — so it’s about time we get a game that lives up to the series. 

One Piece Odyssey Needs to Deliver

Exploration

The first thing I think we need to talk about is exploration. World Seeker, the last big open world One Piece game, had the player in control of our favourite captain Luffy, and exclusively Luffy. While I don’t necessarily have a problem with this, I feel like by locking the player to one playable character, you’re holding back the game’s potential from an exploration standpoint. The crew members of the Straw Hat Pirates are all extremely distinctive, with no two characters being even remotely similar in terms of their abilities.

Now, for Odyssey, it was already confirmed that we will be able to play as all the members of the Straw Hats (minus one, but I won’t name them as that would be a spoiler) — so we can check that one off our list. 

Just recently, as of writing this piece, there was an update about some of the system mechanics, exploration, and battle systems for this new One Piece project. If you take a look at the official Japanese One Piece Odyssey website, we can see that each of the crewmembers will have different abilities that they can use in the open world to help vary the gameplay. We see Luffy grappling and pulling himself up to a higher location, Zoro cutting through a metal gate, and Frankie building a bridge to reach somewhere previously inaccessible. 

I’d also love to see Nami’s weather manipulating abilities in the game. Depending on how large the open world is and if there are numerous islands we can travel to, I would love to see a Wind Waker-style mechanic where Nami can help create gusts of wind to push us along. Robin’s abilities to set up distractions and or Brook’s to scout ahead without being detected would also be very welcome.

One Piece Odyssey

Combat

At the end of the day One Piece is a shounen battle series, and what is a battle series without good combat? World Seeker opted for a more modern action RPG style of combat, and while this may not have been too bad at first it rapidly became repetitive and boring. That game also made use of a “Finisher” mechanic where when an enemy was down, you could move close to them and finish them off. This would then jump to a bizarre camera angle and slowed the game down, which really killed the pace of the combat. 

What I would honestly love to see in a One Piece RPG is turn-based combat. Slowing the combat down just a bit, but allowing for more cinematic and iconic attacks from the characters to shine. By having the game turn-based it would allow each member of the Straw Hats to shine in combat — even some of the characters that are known for being the weaker ones. I would love to see a system in which these characters can use their abilities to outwit enemies, whether it be through traps or status debuffs. 

As if Eiichiro Oda heard my prayers himself, the recent news on the game’s combat looks as though it will indeed be taking a turn-based direction. As you can see in the image above, it looks like we will be in control of four members of the Straw Hats in battle, and it would be great if we’re able to actively switch out our party on the fly, similar to something like Dragon Quest XI. 

Speaking of Dragon Quest XI, anyone who has played that game will be aware of Pep Power: a system where your party members get “pepped up” and enter a state which grants them bonuses that are unique to each character. This state also grants them access to unique attacks and abilities they wouldn’t have been able to use before. Something really great about this system was that it opened up the door to a ton of different team-up abilities that you could perform when multiple team members were in this powered-up state, and it looks as though One Piece Odyssey will use a similar mechanic, this time called “Kizuna Arts”.

In conclusion

I really wasn’t excited about this game when it was originally announced. My mind immediately went to previous One Piece games, and my excitement was stopped in its tracks. However, with the announcement of this new game being turn-based, my excitement is genuinely beginning to kick in. There is a modicum of hope in me that this game might finally live up to the legacy of Eiichiro Oda’s masterpiece. Let’s wait and see what future updates give us!

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Conor Evans
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