The game One Piece Odyssey features the characters and story of a long-running manga and anime series called “One Piece.”
If you’ve never heard of the original manga (a broad term describing Japanese comics and graphic novels), it’s essentially the tale of Monkey D. Luffy, a guy whose body gained stretchy, rubberized abilities after he unintentionally ate an exotic Devil Fruit. He and his similarly gifted crewmates, The Straw Hat Pirates, sail the world searching out treasure.
One Piece Odyssey begins with the notorious crew and their ship, Thousand Sunny, being launched up into the skies by a savage storm and then left beached beside Waford Island, an isle full of scattered glowing ruins. This mysterious place is also said to hold a great legendary treasure.
The Straw Hats start searching for materials to repair Sunny, but the crew quickly comes upon a stoic girl named Lim who is none too trustful of pirates. So she uses her power to separate the crew from their personal strengths and abilities—storing those abilities in scattered mystical cubes.
Crew members must then set off on two adventuring fronts: they need to enter a world of memories to bit-by-bit recover what they’ve lost by revisiting specific events from their past. And they’ll also embark on quests, explore dungeons and solve puzzles in an effort to resolve a much larger mystery connected to the storm that marooned them.
Throughout those adventures, the crewmates are confronted by powered-up thugs, bandits, massive creatures and robotic monsters that they must give battle to in turn-based skirmishes. The game uses a rock-paper-scissors battle system to determine the strengths and weaknesses between the player’s team of Straw Hat characters (offering choice of four characters per battle, each with their own special abilities) and the enemies they face.
The nine playable Straw Hat crew characters also each have their own unique skills that help in the island exploration. Luffy, for instance, can stretch his rubbery arms and grapplehook to elevated areas. Chopper, a little reindeer-like guy, can slip into tight spaces. Another character named Sanji can craft healing items and the like. And the list of abilities stretches on from there.
There’s quite a bit to enjoy in this broad, cartoony adventure. The quirky Straw Hat crewmembers are fun in their own odd ways. Their personalities are all well-drawn and they fit their fighting and exploring skill sets nicely. And though the central characters are portrayed as “notorious” they actually rally together as friends to help each other and save the day. The value of close friends is emphasized by the story’s end.
If you begin the game knowing nothing about this manga-based group and their stories, you may feel a tad lost at the beginning of the game. It assumes that you know these bizarre individuals well.
There’s also an ongoing rush of battles that feature magical blasts and fireballs. Characters kick, punch and slash each other with swords and poles and blast away with firearms.
There’s no bloody mess, but the various power-based attacks can be dynamically impactful. The game also includes cutscene moments when characters are shot at close range, crisped by fire and electrocuted (etc.) and appear to fall over dead (before getting back up). People cry out when injured.
As mentioned above, the manga-style characters are very stylistically cartoony. However, the game doesn’t flinch at winking at a bit of sexuality. We hear some comments about characters having “perverted” reactions to women. And two of the Straw Hat crewmates are voluptuous women who wear revealing tops (a skimpy bikini top in one case.)
There are several uses of the word “b–tard.” And a ship captain called Smoker always keeps two lit cigars in his mouth. There are relatively unexplained magical powers and attacks woven throughout this world.
If you know Luffy and his chums, there’s a lot of manga-style, chaotic adventure to be had. If not, parts of this game may be a, uh, stretch.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.