One Piece: Unlimited Adventure Review

The games based on One Piece sure seem to be hit or miss. On one hand you’ve got fighting and action games that aren’t too shabby; on the other, you have Pirate’s Carnival. The latest foray into the One Piece universe comes in the form of the Namco-Bandai’s One Piece: Unlimited Adventure.

First off, let me just warn fans of One Piece that if you aren’t past the CP9 arc of the series/manga, this game has some spoilers, even though it’s not based on any set story in the show. If you’re really worried about that, skip the next paragraph.

The story in Unlimited Adventure is completely original, and doesn’t rely on the show at all other than character recognition. It takes place just after the CP9 arc, after Franky joins the crew and the Strawhats find themselves sailing the Thousand Sunny.

While in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight, Luffy, Usopp and Chopper decide to have an eating contest. The result? All of the food is gone. After an obvious Nami beatdown, the three resort to fishing in order to replenish their supplies. Luffy gets a bite, but instead of a fish pulls up a mysterious blue orb. While launching himself into the air to look for an island, suddenly the orb does something, and an island pops out of the sea directly under the Strawhat’s ship. Luffy lands amidst a lot of their conveniently placed items in a makeshift camp, while the other Strawhats (and their ship) are missing. With that, Luffy goes off to explore the mystery island and to try and find his missing nakama.

At the start of the game, it may be difficult to figure out what, exactly, is going on. It’s One Piece, and you can fight by using the A button on the remote, but why can you destroy plants, trees, navy troops, and collect stuff? As you defeat enemies and slaughter helpless plantlife like a landscaper from Hell, you can pick up items such as honey, healing medicines, and other raw materials which you can use later; at first, it just seems like waste, but trust me, there is a purpose. (Of sorts.)

In less than an hour, you reunite with the rest of the crew. Every time you reunite with a crew member, the orb glows and you’re introduced into a flashback cutscene of how that pirate joined Luffy’s crew. Fans of the show will recognize all of these scenes, even with the redone CGI visuals. It’s a nice touch of nostalgia, and like the other cutscenes they’re done pretty well.

Realizing something is up with this orb after all due to all the hallucinations, tiny rabbit-like creature and all of the glowing, Luffy finds an “orb spot” and learns that by consuming items you pick up into orb points, you can use the orb to perform an orb action, which usually results in a blocked off area becoming accessible. At first you just need to add levels to your orb to cause functions, but as the game progresses the orb gains different parts which need energy as well, and in later areas of the island you need to constantly use your scavenged items on it.

The other use for materials is to create objects. In an odd mix of Animal Crossing gameplay, you can mine using a pickaxe, collect stuff from trees, catch bugs, etc. all to create things you can use. The first things you’ll create are a pickaxe (for mining) and a stove (so Sanji can cook). From there you can make new weapons, things such as a bug catching net and fishing rod, and much more. While it adds a little to the otherwise humdrum combat-based gameplay, it’s a bit odd trying to rationalize why someone as strong as Luffy, Sanji, or Zoro would need a pickaxe to dig a hole in the ground or break a tiny rock, and backtracking areas you’ve already explored just to break a rock to see if it unlocks another area is an exercise in frustration when you realize that enemies respawn once you leave the screen.

Unfortunately, despite the variety of things to create and the collection aspect of the title, for the most part Unlimited Adventure is rather boring. The entire game boils down to “explore area of island, fight boss, unlock next area” and the combat – which consists entirely of using A for combos or waggling the remote – is also extremely repetitive; having to fight the same enemies over and over as you re-enter areas doesn’t help at all.

There is some extra fun to be had in the multiplayer vs. mode where you can use dozens of characters from the show that you unlock as you complete the single player (which is extremely long for a game this straightforward and simple), but unless you have buddies who are huge fans of the show and want to get some “Who would win?” matches going on, it also gets boring quick.

That being said, Unlimited Adventure is still a great game: if you’re a fan of One Piece. If you’re not a fan, playing the game and being forced to do the same tasks over and over again will wear you down quickly. For people who have watched hundreds of episodes of the show, read dozens of volumes of manga, and can name all of the Strawhat Pirates and even some of the minor characters from memory, Unlimited Adventure is a fun game which offers a new story in the One Piece universe, and brings back a lot of memories and past events/characters from the show. Is it a great game? Not really. What it is is the best One Piece game yet for fans of the franchise, and one any One Piece fan should at least rent and try out.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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