After 25 years of adventures with Luffy and his friends, Bandai Namco wants to show that the One Piece saga still has a few tricks up its sleeve. turning the beloved pirate crew into a full-blown JRPG. But the challenge of adapting one of anime’s most popular names to one of its most beloved gaming genres is no small one, so developer studio I Love Computer Art has tweaked many of the basics to better suit the iconic anime adventure. pirates. When I tried it out, I was pleasantly surprised that many of these changes were improvements over the standard JRPG recipe, and more importantly, made things feel much more in line with what you’d expect from One Piece. After three hours of running around as Zoro and Chopper, I barely felt like I’d scratched the surface.
One of the main novelties of One Piece Odyssey with respect to the usual JRPG formula is the removal of the turn-based combat system, in which your party faces a group of rival enemies. Although combat is still turn-based, with standard attacks, more powerful or special abilities that can be activated a limited number of times, and expendable consumables, each character is divided into four different zones and faces their own group of enemies. instead of fighting in a group. More importantly, this did wonders to make the fights more like the fight sequences in the anime, where all the members of the Straw Hat crew are strong enough to take out numerous enemies on their own and Show off your crazy skills. I also liked that all the characters had their moment of prominence, since I was forced to use them equally to get through the fights, whereas in traditional JRPGs it would be more convenient to take down the enemy using my most powerful characters and finish them off. In a blink of an eye. And luckily, if a character dealt with his enemies early, he could direct them to help nearby allies and finish things off more quickly.
Nevertheless, the most interesting thing was a new exclusive feature called “Dramatic Scenes”, which sometimes occurred during combat. These sequences interrupt the usual beatings to introduce a bit of drama that adds some special challenge or twist to the story, and it was definitely one of the most interesting things I saw in Odyssey. In one example, Usopp was attacked by a group of enemies and I had to run to save him before they took him out, and in another I had to take down a boss using Loofy to prove my rightful position as pirate captain. I didn’t see enough of these encounters to get an idea of how common they are or whether they trigger randomly, but the idea was interesting enough to keep me on my toes (and it was a nice break from standard turn-based battles that can get repetitive). ).
“Sometimes you feel like running around like a pirate reindeer, do you understand me?”
Another of the great impressions that Odyssey caused me was the variety of ways I was able to explore its zones, specifically the ability to instantly switch between playable One Piece characters, each with their own abilities. Usopp could shoot with his slingshot, which made him very useful for shooting down objects hidden high up, while I could go through obstacles with Zoro. Switching between characters while running through Alabasta opened up entirely new possibilities depending on who I was controlling at the time, and gave me plenty of reasons to go back in search of new paths, hidden items, or side quests. Also, it was nice to be able to switch characters to vary things – sometimes you feel like running around like a pirate reindeer, you know what I mean?
However, while most of One Piece: Odyssey’s efforts to blend JRPG conventions with new approaches have pleased me, there are other aspects that have made me raise an eyebrowLike its insistence on keeping save points static, a JRPG mechanic I’ve long despised. I’m a huge fan of JRPGs, but a part of me hopes that Odyssey doesn’t stop at the few evolutions I’ve been able to experience so far. In any case, I’m looking forward to continuing my pirate adventure when One Piece Odyssey releases on January 12.