on 4 July 2014
An enjoyable One Piece game with a surprisingly good story with a great villain and decent combat which varies between each character. The game is sub only, there is no dub.
The game is split into two different game modes. One is the story in which you pursue a man named Red. The villain is probably one of my favourite characters featured in the manga. He was a villain I actually despised but also cared for and the ending was satisfying because of this. During the story you go to different islands created by Red and almost all of the islands are based on arcs in the manga. Here we fight familiar common enemies from the manga and more important characters that play out as boss fights. In the story you get to play as any of the Straw Hat members, usually you get to choose what 3 characters to fight with but sometimes the story may restrict you. You can switch between any of the 3 characters by pressing select and only the player you are controlling loses health.
In the story you have access to an island made specifically for this game. In this you want to expand the island by developing various buildings to aid you throughout the game. These range from places like a restaurant which you use to cook up recipes to add permanent stats to your character to a simple pharmacy that let's you buy potions which you can take on missions. One of the most important buildings is the tavern. This lets you go on quests that will feature enemies not seen in the story islands. You get allocated a time limit and have to meet a certain requirement such as beat a tough enemy, escape the island, find 10 bugs etc. These have no difficulty option unlike the story which lets you switch to an easy mode, though quite frankly I never saw the need for one.
There is a lot more to do during the island exploration segments than just fight though; there are a tonne of collectibles to find. You use a bug net to catch things like butterflies, moles etc. However, rather than display a picture of what you will catch, there are only a few default models instead and this is an annoying drawback when you look at the Wii games where you could see what you was going to catch before you cast your net. You can also collect sea creatures that range from a crab to a Sea King with a rod and something else you collect are 'words' which play a more vital role to the gameplay.
Words are something you unlock and also get given as a reward for doing missions. Words can be in one of four categories. The first is Action which relates to a move you can do to access certain parts of the island or a move to use in combat. During combat, they cost an SP bar. Your SP bar is a special bar that fills up as you fight enemies and let you do a special move, similar to something like a musou in Dynasty Warriors. The second is Skill which is a passive ability that is equipped to your character as soon as you get it. The third is Custom, as you level up your character, you have more slots to store a custom word that provide various buffs such as attack up, some help with fishing and bug hunting but some may take up more than 1 slot. Both Custom and Skill words can be upgraded depending on how many stars the word has. The final word is Item. Each character can equip item words that take up a different slot. These can be activated during battle but have a long recharge time.
Both the bug and fish collecting are done via mini-games where you need to press the correct button at the right time. At first I found it quite annoying as often during fishing especially, the game simply does not give you enough time to finish the mini-game to catch the fish. To fix that though, you can use the factory building to upgrade your equipment which gives you more time to catch fish and bugs but it can be grating that you acing a fishing mini-game only to fail due to the time limit. It feels out of your control and just down right frustrating.
The other game mode is the coliseum, though you have to quit to the main menu to access this if you were already playing the story section which is pretty dumb, I wish they made it a building you have to make in the story mode instead. This coliseum mode looks to be based on the Dressrosa Arc due to the familiar layout of the arena and Doflamingo's presence. In this you are trying to rank up the pyramid, you begin at the bottom (rank C) then earn points to head towards the top. You get the option of either fighting 1v1 with a tough enemy, or a scramble, which is you vs many smaller opponents. You get to play as characters outside of the Strawhat Crew such as Trafalgar Law and Hancock. There might be more but this is a part of the game I have not gotten deep into as of writing this review.
EDIT: I have put a lot more time into the coliseum mode, and I have to say it is fantastic and full of content. There are more battle modes than just the two you begin with. It has its own story mode with quite a few cutscenes primarily involving Luffy, Law and Doflamingo. It has you fighting characters that have only recently been in the manga such as Fujitora, a Boss Rush mode where you fight 5 battles involving either 1 or 2 bosses each battle, Battle Royal mode where you fight bosses with common enemies, special battles that have banter between characters. There are plenty of characters to play as too, for example I just unlocked Buggy. As you battle and rank up, you unlock rewards. These can include items for your farm in the story mode, "Boss Quests" for the tavern in story mode that lets you play as members outside the Strawhat crew, playable characters and more. There is so much more content than I expected in this mode and it will keep fans hooked for many hours.
The gameplay is pretty basic. I would say it is akin more to a Dynasty Warriors type of game than a character action game. You use the basic square and triangle to blend combo attacks together. However unlike Dynasty Warriors, pressing triangle in this game will always result in the same special attack, rather than being dependent on how many times you pressed square. There are aerial combos as well. Each attack combination will vary depending on each character you play as. Some characters I found not that fun to play as such as Zoro but others were a delight to use such as Sanji and Brook.
When an enemy is attacking, you would often be told to press O to do either a block, dodge or counter and this changes depending on the character also. This is presented to you sort of as a pop-up on the screen which some may find annoying. I did not like it at first but when you fight a boss the same size as you, like Mihawk for example, it is very difficult at times to see what is going on due to four people fighting at close range at the same time. The display can sometimes be misleading and often feels inaccurate to what is going on such as telling you to dodge when you are not going to be hit.
Later on in the game you get access to the Break Rush feature. This displays a list of combination attacks on the right side of the screen that you can enter during battles and when you do all of the attacks listed, you do bonus damage for a limited amount of time. It is a neat little feature to make you experiment with combination attacks but characters like Usopp have a small moveset that lets you use a Break Rush in almost every fight.
The art style chosen is cel-shaded and I much prefer it to the style seen in Pirate Warriors. It has very vibrant colours but you can tell due to the low polygon count in some areas and poor texture quality that is a 3DS port. It's only a minor issue though, nothing to get worked up over. The music is fine, nothing stood out as groundbreaking or downright bad. There is a building you can build that lets you listen to soundtracks that you have listened to at least once in the game before which is a nice feature.
While I have mostly talked positively, it still has very minor issues that sour the experience as a whole. As already mentioned there is the inaccurate dodging component, I have encountered some odd collision detection, some characters I do not enjoy using and I have generally found the game too easy. After finishing the game, you get the option of going into NG+ on the main story which raises the difficulty, but I don't know if it resets my buildings and other stuff, so I am hesitant to go into the mode. It still lets me do the tavern quests in NG after finishing the game and these battles are much harder than the story missions.
Overall it is a good One Piece game. I have been addicted to it the past couple of days since getting it Wednesday morning. I have already put almost 20 hours into the game. The story touched at my heart many times and the little things such as being able to use Usopps hammer just make me happy. I highly recommend it for One Piece fans, but I still don't think it is a game for people that have not read the manga. Feel free to ask any questions.
on 31 July 2014
Unlimited World Red is the latest game in the One Piece franchise and its a damn good one. It is the fourth entry in the Unlimited series and follows on from Unlimited Adventure, Unlimited Cruise and Unlimited Cruise 2.
So lets begin with the story. Unlimited World Red's narrative is split into two segments. The first is the main campaign which is a non cannon post time-skip story in which the Straw Hat crew embark on a journey to stop a man named Patrick Redfield who is seeking a devil fruit and is cloning various enemies from the anime/manga and using them to wreak havoc. This story is pretty interesting and while non cannon, it does fit itself nicely enough into the mythos and history of One Piece to make sense. The new characters are really fresh and unique and a wealth of characters form the series make an appearance such as Rob Lucci, Crocodile, Hody Jones, Caesar Clown and various others. The climactic chapter of the game is great and really engaging.
The second is Battle Coliseum which is a non cannon time-skip story in which the Straw Hat crew and Trafalgar Law enter the Corrdia Coliseum in order to stop Doflamingo. While there isn't much of a story for this segment, what little story there is, is well delivered and enjoyable. The main characters involved in this arc are the Straw Hats, Trafalgar Law, Doflamingo and Fujitora.
These stories are both non cannon and stand alone and do not follow on from each other. The Main Campaign could arguably be placed within the cannon if necessary but The Battle Coliseum narrative is a little too out of context and feels like an alternate version of the Corrida Coliseum arc.
The gameplay of Unlimited World Red is pretty interesting and is different enough from its predecessors to be interesting, but similar enough to please fans of the other Unlimited games. The combat has been tweaked and is much more in depth and fun to play with. Each character has several combos, multiple special moves and unique environment actions.
The Gameplay of the main campaign is layered in an interesting way. The game uses a town, Transtown, as a hub for the rest of the games levels. The town begins small and bare, but as the game progresses the player finds resources and materials to expand the town. From the town's dock you can access the other levels which are all shadowy replica's of iconic islands from the manga that have been created by the games antagonist, such as Punk Hazard, Ennies Lobby, Fishman Island and Marienford. The main idea of the game is to travel to each location and defeat the clone that resides there whilst searching for the games main villain to stop him obtaining a Devil Fruit. The levels are more linier than the previous Unlimited games but they are grander in scale and their linearity is not very noticeable. There is a nice blend of crafting, adventuring and combat that keeps this mode fresh.
The Gameplay of the Battle Coliseum mode is a simple arena combat system in which you select up to 3 characters (depening on battle type) and pit them against various foes. There are four major game types. Duel allows you to have a one on one fight with a character from the manga. Scramble allows you to fight up to 200 names thugs and marines. Battle Royale mixes stronger characters and nameless thugs to form large skirmish battles. Boss Rush pits you and up to two allies against a series of boss fights.
Now this game is in its essence, a HD port of a 3DS game so I wasn't expecting the visuals to be amazing, but to be totally honest, the visuals are great. The cell shading manages to translates well into 3DS and feels a lot more faithful to the anime than some other PS3 One Piece games like Pirate Warriors. Then animations are smooth and the environments are massive and genuinely feel overwhelming at first.
The main campaign allows you to play as all nine members of the straw hat crew.
The battle coliseum mode features a pretty decent roster of 20 playable characters, which features characters such as Ace, Shanks, Jinbei Doflamingo as well as debuting Fujitora as playable character.
With a massive campaign, battle coliseum, hundreds of stand alone missions, DLC missions and costumes and a great roster of characters, this game will keep any One Piece fan engaged for a long time and there is a decent amount of replay value in both the main campaign and the battle coliseum.
My only real gripe with this game is that certain characters who appears as bosses or coliseum contenders aren't playable. I would have loved to play as Hody Jones, Rob Lucci, Caesar Clown and Patrick Redfield, but sadly you can't. While the playable roster is a decent size, many of the characters are characters I am uninterested in such as Buggy the Clown, Boa Hancock and Ace.
This is simply the best One Piece game I have played, its has a wealth of content, engaging and faithful story line, huge bonus modes and fantastic visuals. I would recommend this to all One Piece fans but would advise that you reach the Time Skip in the anime/manga before playing this as it does contain spoilers.