Its been 15 years since Eiichiro Oda introduced the world of “One Piece” and the Straw Hat pirates to us, and ever since then the story has only grown.
Spanning over seven hundred manga chapters and over six hundred animated episodes, there is plenty of story to cover in a video game which has been done over and over again. Thankfully, “One Piece Unlimited World Red” tells a new story that helps catch up on old characters and villains while adding the “One Piece” universe.
The story starts off with series protagonist Luffy and the gang reaching an island to stock up on supplies, but while Luffy is stuffing his face at the local inn, his mates seem to get tricked and are captured with clones of themselves and enemies. Luffy then sets out to find them when he hears of the incident.
Without going into too much detail, the story is your typical “One Piece” tale dealing with themes of crew brotherhood and what drives a person.
Some of my favorite parts are the nods to each characters reason for being on the crew to help show the reason they fight. It’s a very classic anime trope that is welcome here.
Like I said though, the story is a typical “One Piece” story, so there isn’t going to be much shock and awe. It’s just like a regular story arc in the series.
The other part of this game is in the Battle Arena mode which takes place loosely where the anime currently is in the story. It’s just a regular tournament mode between characters and hordes of enemies.
As far as gameplay goes, if you’ve ever played “One Piece: Pirate Warriors,” you’ve pretty much got a watered down version of the combat system with “Unlimited World Red.”
Characters pretty much have the same moves as in “Pirate Warriors,” but they’ve been toned down. Instead of hitting several enemies at a time, they only hit one or two at a time.
It also gets to be very repetitive very fast as you only have a few combos with each character.
There is a a set of combos to do that pop up during combat, and completing them grants you a “break” which powers up your attacks. This mechanic helps break up the repetitive combat, but not for long.
Each character also has special moves they can pull off, and saving up your SP bar allows you and your party to combine attacks for massive damage to everything around you.
There is a counter system but its absolutely terrible. 7 out 10 times I used it, it proved ineffective.
Overall combat is fun at first, but gets very repetitive, and that’s not a good thing considering its a bulk of game-play.
The other parts of gameplay didn’t really grab my attention. The fishing and bug-catching minigames have very little payoff other then items to help you build up the town that serves as the games hub.
The town-building does come in somewhat handy with letting you build shops to buy items and increase your fishing rod and bug net. Other then that, there wasn’t much else to warrant my attention in town during my playthrough.
The graphics look like something straight out of a 3D manga. It looks gorgeous and really in tone with the style of “One Piece.” It looks the best on PlayStation 3, with PlayStation Vita coming in second. The Nintendo 3DS one doesn’t match up to the beauty of the other two.
One other thing to mention is the frame rate. When you have a full party of three facing off against hordes of enemies, the frame rate will dip. Not too bad, but it is noticeable.
Overall, “One Piece Unlimited World Red” is a nice addition to the “One Piece” mythos. It is a letdown that the combat has been borrowed and watered down from another title, but it still makes for a mildly enjoyable game. I just wish there was a stronger emphasis on the side-quest items because it could have made for much better replay value. Like I mentioned before, the story is just like a regular “One Piece” arc. It has it’s good, and it has it’s bad, but chances are you won’t regret it.
-Feels like “One Piece”
-Brings together all the “One Piece” characters you know and love
-Unoriginal combat engine
-Meaningless side missions
-Frame-rate dips at times