One Piece Odyssey is off to quite the promising start for fans of Eiichiro Oda’s original manga and the anime that has been sparked from it as a result. Being an anime fan who also loves video games can be quite tough as many anime projects turned games have faltered in some way or another. There sometimes will be a hidden gem released here or there, but One Piece in particular has had a rough road thus far. While there have been a few standouts such as the Pirate Warriors series, single player adventures have really had trouble blending the series’ fun with the gameplay itself.
But that’s already looking like it’s changing with One Piece Odyssey. The team at Bandai Namco and developer ILCA have approached this newest title with the idea of offering a much different kind of experience than fans of the franchise have ever gotten out of its games. Not only is it offering a full role playing experience with a turn based combat system, but features an original story that’s taking the opportunity of the 25th Anniversary of the series to explore some curious new sides of the franchise.
What to Expect From One Piece Odyssey
Getting the chance to play nearly three hours of One Piece Odyssey at a special preview event, there’s a lot that immediately jumps out for someone like me who might have experience playing through all of the other games in the franchise thus far. Although it doesn’t seem to be a part of the official canon for the series, the game is set somewhere in the timeline before Wano and potentially Whole Cake Island as well as the Straw Hats crash land on a mysterious new island called Warford.
After coming across a mysterious young girl, Luffy and the others lose the memories of how each of their abilities work and need to adventure throughout the island and through their memories in order to build their strength back up and figure out the real mystery of the island. It’s necessary to both reset each hero back to square one given how much Luffy and the others can do at this point, but also provide a semblance of growth for the game itself.
The team behind One Piece Odyssey made sure to emphasize how much they are working towards making the playing experience as speedy and fruitful as possible to players, and you can get that gist right from the jump. Through just the first hour of the game alone (which is the initial Waford, before I got to play a bit of the Alabasta level that takes place a few hours after), the Straw Hat party is stacked with each of the available members, Luffy, Zoro, Nami, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin, and Franky. Brook’s unfortunately not available at first, and unfortunately I couldn’t gauge whether or not he would be playable at all. The same goes for the newest Straw Hat, Jimbei.
You’re immediately given access to each of the Straw Hats in both exploring the map (where each of Straw Hats has their own way of interacting with points of interest in the over world) and the battles themselves. Battles are spread across the “Scramble Battle Area” which takes your four chosen Straw Hats (of which you can switch out any time mid-battle) and separates them into different areas in which they can take on particular enemies in those areas.
There’s also an inherent weaknesses and strengths system built in underneath. There are three different types of attacks that can strike directly at main weakness of other types of attacks, and skill points to keep track of that fuel special attacks and much more. It can seem like a complicated system at first, but once the battles get rolling it’s quite fun to swap out each of the Straw Hats to form not only the best team to take on particular weaknesses, but the ones that can end battles quickest.
There’s just a lot of attention put into everything about One Piece Odyssey. It’s being touted as a game that could take upwards of 60 hours to complete fully, and honestly that mileage may vary. The battle system itself seems fun, but it’s going to be the most interesting to fans of the franchise. It could be a draw to role playing game fans for its battle system, but it’s real appeal is going to come from the presentation.
A ton of attention has been put into making this as much of a spectacle as possible for One Piece’s 25th Anniversary. Character models look great, the level up screen (of which you see many times as characters thankfully level up quickly) is fun and colorful, and the story elements throughout are pretty enticing. There’s a girl who seems to have an ability that’s teased to come from something other than a Devil Fruit, fan favorite characters returning from the dead, and fun character moments that made me smile quite a bit as just a fan.
It remains to be seen whether One Piece Odyssey’s full experience will live up to this early promise when it releases on January 13 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. But for now? The hook definitely are in. But what are you hoping to see from One Piece Odyssey? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff