For those who don’t know what One Piece is, it’s a story about a guy named Luffy who is on a quest to find and obtain an ultimate treasure known as the One Piece. He desires this treasure and it will help him become the next pirate king. He doesn’t do this alone though as he enables the help of his very diverse crew called the Straw Hat Pirates. What makes Luffy special however is the fact that he has rubber and elastic-like properties thanks to the Devil Fruit he devoured. One Piece spans across numerous chapters in manga and episodes in anime which follow Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirate crew on their crazy adventures. It can definitely be considered in the same league as Naruto, Bleach, and Dragon Ball Z.
I’ll be completely honest; I initially had low hopes for One Piece: Unlimited World Red. Why? Well, with an unsuccessful release of the previous One Piece game, One Piece: Romance Dawn, my experience from the first one had me doubting this latest addition to the series more than I should have. Regardless, I mustered up my courage and decided to give One Piece another chance.
One Piece: Unlimited World Red is a wacky and adventurous instalment in the One Piece series that includes a helpful cross-save feature between the PS3 and PS Vita or 3DS and WiiU systems. Brawl against old and new foes with familiar and new allies across different arenas and environments. Vivid and colourful stills and cutscenes are used to tell the story and play out various scenarios throughout the game. Additionally, a solid amount of characters can be chosen by you and your co-op partner(s) to play as or to accompany you in the two modes that are available.
First is the brand new story mode where Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirate ship run into an issue forcing them to land on a nearby island. The next day Luffy’s crew is missing and it’s up to you to search and find them. The island acts as a hub that houses numerous spots that include places where you can buy and sell items, save your game, and even expand the island you are to explore. The farther you get in the game the more things that unlock and become available for you to fiddle around with; take on quests and fulfil duties separate from the main quest, surprisingly there is a lot to do.
The main adventure in the story progresses in chapters with each chapter set in a different place. You can go it alone or taking along a local co-op partner(s) or an AI, the latter two allow you to switch up amongst Luffy and his crew as you save them one after another. Meanwhile, the same deal applies on how to conquer each chapter – Find ‘x’ to progress further then defeat the boss. While running through the chapters you can play through mini-games by catching bugs and even fish. After defeating groups of enemies or opening treasure chests, “strong words” can be obtained and be equipped as boosters, power ups, or customizers for certain characters and their abilities.
In terms of how enjoyable and interesting the story is, it’s quite mediocre.The repetitiveness of running from one side of the map to the other gets annoying, but there are some cool and funny moments. That being said, there is richness to be found in the character interactions and how they’re presented. Seeing how certain characters are infatuated with other characters and how they hate others is amusing and keeps the show rolling. A very clear presentation of each character’s personality through their fighting style, speech, and actions is also entertaining.
Coliseum mode is the second mode it is best described as a battle royale fest. Face it alone or with your co-op partner(s) or use an AI against one hefty enemy or a horde of little minions. You start off with Luffy and Law and unlock other characters by completing terms and requirements. Completing battles earns you points to rank up in the different leagues and this earns you bonuses and boosts for characters. A feature that’s unexplainably missing is the capability to battle your friends locally. Instead, you’re stuck with having your friend strictly being your co-op partner to aid you in battling AI enemies. Nonetheless, this mode is relatively fun and definitely action packed even though it’s just your average and straight forward arena battle – nothing complicated or over the top here.
Whether in story or coliseum mode, the combat is the same – easy and simple. Some might love it while others might be in dreadful pain with how limiting it can be. It’s definitely a relaxed and casual combat system that absolutely doesn’t require memorizing numerous button sequences. I personally didn’t mind it as it fits in with how the game is packaged.
The enemy AI in the game isn’t difficult at all even when set to the highest difficulty. Te only reason for it to be difficult is certain moves that enemies land take off an abnormally large amount of health. When not playing with a friend locally your computer teammate AI is surprisingly good and effective against the boring and lifeless enemy AI.
Visually, One Piece: Ultimate World Red is glorious. Colors pop with its comic-like style and wild character designs. One thing that’s guaranteed is its crazy and eccentric animations following the regular and special moves for each character. While the levels and environments don’t have an outstanding amount of depth, they still work and look great. The visuals are definitely a key feature presented in the game and they are far from disappointing.
The voice acting in the game is only available in Japanese so reading is mandatory if you want to grasp the story and enjoy it to the fullest. It’s all voiced by the original voice actors from the anime so it’s a treat for fans. Sound effects are exaggerated in a good way that makes every punch and kick that lands rewarding and exciting. It even goes further with different sound effects specialized for each individual character. Lastly, the music in the game isn’t as admirable as the voice acting and sound effects. It felt too similar throughout the battles and just blended in to the background while the voice acting and sound effects took center stage.
One Piece: Unlimited World Red is an awesome looking and entertaining game that utilizes an easy and simple combat system. The inclusion of local co-op is definitely a plus while the absence of online multiplayer is a letdown. Although the choice of a brand new story is an absolute treat for fans, it might be slightly confusing if you don’t have prior knowledge of Manga/Anime. At the end of the day, One Piece: Unlimited World Red packs more good elements than bad ones and should be on your mind if you’re a fan of One Piece.