The Straw Hats have set sail on a new adventure in One Piece Odyssey, a new licensed RPG featuring beloved characters from the One Piece manga series. Luffy and the gang get shipwrecked following a superstorm that strands them all on a mysterious island. Now, they have to reconnect with lost team members and get back to base.
One Piece Odyssey is a turn-based JRPG focused starring the Straw Hat crew, including Sanji, Usopp, Nami, Zoro, Franky, Chopper, Nico Robin, and Brook. One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda wrote the story, so it’s not just a licensed cash grab that has nothing to do with the creator (which is often the case with many manga/anime games). In fact, this game has some unique turn-based mechanics to keep it engaging, and it ultimately feels like a loving present to honor One Piece’s 25th anniversary.
Inverse went hands-on with a demo of the game while at PAX West 2022, and One Piece Odyssey feels like one of the very best games based on a manga that we’ve seen in a long time.
Each Straw Hat member has their own combat type: Power, Speed, or Technique. These work similarly to Pokémon-style rocks-paper-scissors matchups. During a fight, the UI displays whether a target enemy is weak or resistant to a specific type. Skills also have properties that make them strong against particular enemies. For example, even though Nico Robin is a Technique type, she had an attack suited for the Power-fearing boss monster in the demo.
Each character has a list of skills that they can activate with TP, this game’s version of skill points. Characters fill up the TP meter with each attack. Once you have enough TP, you can activate stronger attacks, ranged attacks, and/or healing depending on the character’s skills. Luffy can use his Gum Gum Gatling attack to one-hit KO multiple enemies if he has enough TP saved up from attacking enemies. Meanwhile, Chopper can heal HP and status effects for his teammates.
The turn-based combat doesn’t work like an Atlus game. Characters don’t have a set order, so you can choose who you want to use first. It also involves different areas of a battle. Some Straw Hats might be facing grunts while someone tackles the boss. After cleaning up the little guys, characters can migrate to the main fight by attacking a monster in the boss’s area or the boss itself. Sometimes, the player might also witness a scenario where a teammate is trapped by themselves and Luffy needs to save them with the rest of the gang.
The bright highlights and clear labels help beginners ease in right away Even exploration skills, such as the ability to swing over a gap with Luffy’s powers, are seamless. It’s a surprisingly fluid system, even if there isn’t much story to judge so far. If I had one nitpick, it’d be the wonky camera that somehow inverted itself when I steered through the exploration phase.
So far, it seems like One Piece Odyssey’s biggest strength is also its weakness. It’s a game for One Piece fans. Manga/anime games don’t need to explain who the characters are if it’s popular enough that fans will buy the game on principle. It’s like the Naruto fighting games. You don’t need to introduce Naruto to newcomers. They probably already know who he is. If they don’t, they better be willing to learn.
If you’re new to One Piece, forget the game and watch the anime first. If you’re already a long-time fan, it doesn’t seem like a story with high emotional stakes so far. It just happens to be a fun, turn-based RPG with some of your favorite characters.
One Piece Odyssey is currently in development for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.