If you ignore the One Piece: Pirate Warriors sub-series for a second, the last title fans of Luffy and his eccentric crew had to look forward to was One Piece: World Seeker. A disaster of an open world game, it felt unfinished with horrible gameplay and visuals — enough to make any enthusiast sceptical of future projects. However, nearly four years later, with a new genre and developer backing it, the One Piece franchise makes its debut on PS5 with something to be proud of. One Piece Odyssey is fantastic.
Rather than have the Straw Hat Pirates explore another open world, studio ILCA (best known for its Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl remakes) has taken a much more focused approach in the form of a JRPG ala Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. Turn-based battles are aplenty, hub-based areas only allow for so much exploration, and the story naturally guides you from point to point, introducing set pieces and plot points along the way. It's not entirely linear — you're free to fight and complete side quests as you please — but the game feels a lot more purposefully crafted with genuine intrigue and an immediate purpose to progress.
You see, while the gang hasn't been hit with amnesia, they have lost most of their powers. After the Thousand Sunny ship crash lands on a mysterious island, its inhabitants agree to help the crew regain their abilities. To do this, they must enter other dimensions known as Memoria which re-enact events from the history of One Piece. What follows is a pretty cheerful 30-hour campaign that visits classic moments and locations from the franchise's past; while some suspense is introduced as the story develops, One Piece Odyssey remains a breezy and feel-good experience.
The island doesn't actually play as large a part in the game as you might think, though, with the hubs of places past being where you spend most of your time. You'll visit plenty of different towns and cities, all of which have a problem you need to solve in order to take back your skills. Along the way, you can agree to optional objectives, mingle with the townsfolk, or accept bounties. The JRPG follows a relatively simple structure outside of combat, but exploration is heightened by little interactions you can have with the environment.
You're able to switch between every member of the Straw Hat Pirates at any time from a menu, and each one can do something different. Luffy can use his ludicrously long arms to reach high places, while Chopper takes advantage of his short stature to run through holes. Zoro slices through metal gates, Usopp shoots down objects, and Robin can sense historical information. They're all pretty basic actions — they only require a single button press — but they help make the places you're exploring feel a tad more alive. With conversations to have and a decent amount of optional content to complete, you could easily extend your playtime by another 10 hours if you committed to finishing everything the title has to offer.
Much of that time will also be spent in combat, which is where One Piece Odyssey invites most of its Dragon Quest XI comparisons. The JRPG keeps its battle system traditional, with a single attack option and a list of abilities to choose from. You can then make use of items, special moves called Bond Arts, and freely switch party members in and out. It's simple in the same way Dragon Quest is: easy to pick up with so much enjoyment to match.
Alongside a really stylish user interface and some very funny abilities for every combatant, you'll likely actively seek out the enemies that roam the battlefield instead of avoiding them. It has that addictive quality where as soon as you've earned any XP from a previous bout, you immediately want to do it all over again for the sheer enjoyment of conquering the beasts of each world.
Combat uses a system in the same style as rock-paper-scissors. Dubbed Power, Speed, and Technique, the three form a triangle where one is always weak to another, but is then strong against the one left over. For example, party members specialising in Power are strong against Speed enemies, but are weak to Technique foes. Technique users are then powerful against Power members and take extra damage from Speed wielders.
Because of this, you'll be constantly switching in and out party members in accordance with the type of enemies you're facing. The mechanic adds a good degree of strategy to fights, making you question who should be part of the starting line-up while the others wait in reserve. It elevates the combat system above the traditional setup by offering the cosy options you're familiar with and then giving you something else to think about without becoming overwhelming. A smart approach that really pays off as your party levels up and gains access to new equipment.
Another neat twist is how both your party members and combatants can be positioned; called Areas, you're able to attack within and across different zones depending on which move you select. This places even more emphasis on getting the right party set up at the start of a bout because if you pair an ally up with an enemy type they're weak to, the encounter will quickly become a lot harder to win. Introducing even further depth to combat, One Piece Odyssey smartly builds upon the traditional combat system of old with its own ideas, all of which pay off.
Perhaps the only real slight against the title's gameplay would be that some objectives can feel like padding. Particularly in the first Memoria, the story goes on a bit too long, to the point where the worlds afterwards feel a lot shorter in comparison. With menial tasks like rescuing someone’s wallet, certain objectives can become a bit of a drag. It was one of the few times where we skipped combat entirely so we could just get the chore over and done with.
Make sure to not lose your concentration during those moments, though, because there's no English dub. All dialogue is in Japanese with English subtitles, which is fine. However, some small translation issues appear in tutorial pop-ups that could force you to read a few sentences over again to make sense of them. Although, we didn't pick up on any related to the character dialogue, so it's not an issue you'll be encountering with much regularity.
You could say the same about any frame-rate issues, which in actual fact are virtually non-existent. The game allows you to choose between two options: Performance Mode and Graphics Mode. The former runs at an incredibly smooth 60 frames-per-second while the latter halves your frame rate, but both appear pretty much locked to their target. We didn't encounter a single noticeable frame rate drop throughout our time with the title, and the playthrough was completely devoid of bugs and glitches too. Load times then go by so quickly it can be difficult to read the tooltip on-screen in time.
Pitched alongside the series' 25th anniversary, One Piece Odyssey is very much a game for the fans, but it also represents a chance for newcomers to come aboard the Thousand Sunny ship. Sort of. The story of the island is completely new to the series and so too are the characters that live there. What new fans will struggle with are the pre-established faces — the game doesn't go out of its way to explain why Luffy's arms are so long, for example, or how the Straw Hat Pirates were formed. A lot of knowledge is assumed, so most references will likely go straight over your head and any callbacks made to past events not in the game will prove confusing.
However, the title also represents a great JRPG that fans of the genre shouldn't miss out on simply because they're not familiar with One Piece. Thanks to a wonderful battle system, which makes an effort to introduce some new ideas, the game can be enjoyed by all. And if you just so happen to take to the charm of Luffy and his gang of pirates, there are only 1,000+ manga chapters for you to catch up on.
No matter whether you're a hardcore One Piece fan or a complete newcomer, One Piece Odyssey is an utter joy of a JRPG. Its combat system remains incredibly enjoyable throughout, and new mechanics provide depth and strategy in droves. Most certainly the highlight of the experience, but with fun exploration to boot, you're always assured of a good time. One Piece Odyssey plays a lot like Dragon Quest XI, and it's not that far off being just as good as it.
Hi everyone, if you have any questions, feel free to copy me in.
I just want to make it clear, though, that I've never watched or read One Piece. I approached this game as a newcomer. However, as I'm sure you can tell from my review, I still really enjoyed it!
Great review Liam, glad the game turned out to be so good! It's about time we got some bigger budget anime adaptations from Bamco.
Dragon Quest and One Piece are two of my favorite series in all of media full stop and the demo was incredible. Can’t wait to play what seems to be an authentic One Piece adventure this Friday!
I'm pretty excited to give the game a try, especially as a newcomer to One Piece.
Never got in to anything One Piece related, so this game wasn’t on my radar. Now it sounds like something I’ll have to check out at some point.
We need more anime games like this and less mediocre arena fighters/pvp-focused ones lol
I was disappointed when the demo ended, so I might actually get this to keep me busy between finishing Metal Gear Solid V and the release of Forspoken.
Like Impossibilum, I really never got into the One Piece hype either.. 65 euro's is a bit too steep for me at the moment, but once this game gets a price drop I might check it out!
I'm glad as a game it's turned out great. The demos been a ton of fun almost exactly like DQ11. And since we aren't getting 12 anytime soon, this'll be a nice substitute. Character interactions also put a smile on my face.
But it sounds like the story won't be any better or worse than a filler arc in the anime, and that's a bit of a shame. I feel I'm gonna end up mashing x through some of the main story if it doesn't manage to hold my interest
@LiamCroft Now you have to watch all 1,000,000,000 episodes and give your review on them too
Thanks for the review. I liked what I played in the demo for the most part, so I look forward to this.
@Cyberjynx Be right back!
Not a fan rock paper scissor mechanic but I may give it a go at some point, not a fan of One Piece either but I do like JRPGs and DQXI was great. Now to go play the demo.
I just remembered my kid recently started reading the manga, maybe they’ll be into it.
@LiamCroft nice to see that you haven't watched or read the series either, so I should have a similar experience. I will definitely pick this up most likely on a small sale. Thanks for the review
I know virtually nothing of OP but I really did enjoy the demo, would I ever feel lost as a newcomer to the franchise?
Yep, liked the combat in the Demo. This is a Day 1 keeper.
Tried the demo and it didn't really click with me like Fairy Tail did, oddly enough. But still am glad to see another fantastic game adaptation of an anime/manga!
Already purchased it the other day (kind of a big gamble, being a licensed manganime game and all), but it's still nice to see positive reviews pouring in.
I need to try out the Demo but with Hogwarts right around the corner, I'm going to hold off. I did love Dragon Quest 11 which was my first so I am looking forward to this.
I’ll give the demo a try over the weekend. Nice to have a One Piece game that isn’t a generic anime brawler or Warriors type game.
great review and thanks for being up front about your experience with One Piece. I'm so glad it's getting good scores throughout some of the sites and channels I frequent. what a fun start to gaming, especially for JRPG fans in 2023!
Thanks for a great review. I was initially interested in this game but after reading your review I can tell it’s not for me.
This is surprising since all the One Piece game until now have been very poor, IMO. It's good to see one that can finally present an enjoyable world. I'm not really familiar with the source material, but the games I've tried to date have never done much to convince me to get invested. This sounds like it could be a change.
I’m a big jrpg fan these days and I’ve never tried this series. Looks like this could be the one for me then 👌
So, do you plan to read or watch One Piece after completing this game? I’m glad non-One Piece fans can enjoy this. The demo was fantastic. I normally am too lazy to play demos but I bit this time. Pumped for this to come out soon!
N.i.c.e. Im playing the demo right now.one piece odyssey is amazing.the graphics is really good.but gameplay is the best.word up son
@LiamCroft, out of curiosity, does Brook ever make his signature "panties" request, & does Ivankov appear in the Marineford world?
I enjoy One Piece, but it does have some elements that would make it a tad awkward to showcase in front of others, so the answer to these questions informs whether I buy it on PS5 (played in the general living area) or on Steam (which I can play on the privacy of my laptop).
@RR529 I'm afraid I don't know the answer to the first question, but I've Googled who Ivankov is and I don't recognise them. Pretty sure they're not in the game.
@LiamCroft, oh, that seems good to know.
For the first one, a bit of a recurring gag in the anime is that Brook (the skeleton) will ask female characters if he can see their panties.
Given that it doesn't seem to ring any bells, it looks like the game uses it sparingly (if at all). Similarly, Ivankov would be pretty darn hard to miss, especially since you said you didn't recognize him.
@RR529 Yeah I don't remember any moments where Brook asks that haha
Ok, so I'm told this takes place about 750 episodes into the anime's story - which, first of all, it's crazy that there are 750 episodes of an anime and, secondly, makes me question whether or not this is good for someone who hasn't seen a single one.
Hah what a great surprise. Time to buy and hopefully beat before Fire Emblem engage (January it's my vacation, so it's the best time to beat games)!
Happy to see it scored well, but since I'm so far behind on the anime and the game doesn't have English voices, I'll be waiting for a $20 sale in a few years.
@Frank90 I'm on the same schedule. Really hope I beat it before FE Engage. Once that comes out everything and everyone will have to step aside.
Looks like this game does not even exists on PS India Store. What a shame, since I was hankering for a good JRPG experience. Here's hoping this will arrive here sooner than later.
Will definitely buy a copy but I'm waiting for some price cuts on the physical version, which usually happens quick on Bandai Namco games.
Seems like this is a great One Piece Game, thanks for the review !!
Really on the fence on buying this one, I was just wondering if the music comes from official One Piece soundtracks or not? Or do we have to buy it again as DLC as for previous games?
Great review, thank you. I'd really like to play after watching the anime but so far I'm only up to episode 18 of 1000+. Who knows.
Too many pacing issues. Graphically luffys face seems.cut and pasted on just doesn't seem right with his body. Takes hours before gets good. But it's more like a 6 out of 10. Exploration is not fun. It feels like an aged jrg. Not in the good way of tales of and others. It's like if ys viii and dragon quest merged with a one piece skin. Nothing new. Nothing original. Certainly nothing anyone wants to play unless they are a diehard fan
@KidBoruto I'm sure it would be a lot of work but given One Piece's popularity as a dub, I'm surprised it's Japanese only.
@Indefinable What I was afraid of. Loved the Ys series, but even the newer ones, albeit fun, seem seriously outdated. Seems like we still got a ways to go for true next-gen JRPGs. Will there actually be a next-gen JRPG during this generation? Or will we need to wait until the "next-next" gen? What's the point of all this power in a console, if you could play it on a PS4 or mediocre gaming PC?
@jorel262 For some strange reason we stopped getting One Piece games dubbed after 4kids lost the license and Funimation took over.
Despite the fact that we still get dubs for Dragon Ball games from Bandai Namco.
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