Released in 2014 originally, One Piece Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition (yes, that is the actual name) is based off of the hit anime One Piece. Following Luffy and his pirates, you have the ability to play any of the crew throughout the game, and even some of the bad guys. However, this game is too tied to the anime. Instead of fleshing out its own creative story, it has fashioned one where you face enemies from the anime before fighting the one unique character in the whole game.
OPUWRDE (abbreviated because my god, what a title) is a combat focused linear game, where you choose a crew and head off to do an objective. The art in the world is consistent from cutscene to gameplay, and looks very nice. The animations are not bad, but they aren’t great either. The movement in the game is pretty janky, you tend to make ridiculously quick turns and it gets slighly frustrating as there is no easing in. If you want to turn right Luffy hangs a ninety-degree turn and his player model turns so quickly he would die of whiplash. The actual core of the game contains two modes that lead into the combat. There are two modes, story and coliseum, which offer two drastically different game experiences.
Luffy in Trans Town, the home base of the Story Mode.
Story mode starts with Luffy and the gang hanging out when suddenly a whole bunch of them are kidnapped. From this point you are trying to find your gang, which takes so little time that it almost acts as filler content for the writers to figure out what the story is going to be. After you rescue and assemble the gang you head on out on missions from you base, a lovely little place called “Trans Town” (no, I am not kidding).
From Trans Town you can either head on over to the ship on the coast and do a story mission. These story missions further the game along and help the player collect resources. You can also head to the tavern and take on little side quests that help you to gain resources and a bit of cash. But what to do with all these resources when you get them? Simple! You invest them into Trans Town, making bars, gardens, museums and all sorts. Although I have no idea what these do, I made a few and got almost no benefit from it. The only reason I even invested in Trans Town was because the game wouldn’t let me continue unless I did.
Coliseum mode was the most fun I had in the game. It is based on a ranking system, where you start in rank C and work your way up to rank A. This is done by fighting a series of AI in a multitude of ways. There are three modes, Dual, Scramble, and Battle Roayl, a combination of the first two. Dual being a boss battle, and Scramble being set amounts of foot soldiers. Fairly standard stuff.
The screen that greets you when you head into Coliseum Mode.
Once you get a set amount of points you get to face a special boss that will rank you up, or is a recreation of a fight from the anime. As you go up in rank you also unlock harder difficulties, so you can give yourself more of a challenge. This difficulty increase boils down to more enemies and slightly harder bosses. But, since the both the bosses and foot soldiers are super easy it makes no major impact on gameplay except to make the fight slightly longer.
The combat in this game is very basic, consisting of mashing one of two buttons, or holding one of the two buttons. If you hold down the trigger you can also unlock some special abilities. One of these is a move that affects all enemies in the area and brings all three characters that the player chose into one big move, dealing tons of damage. You also have a series of standard special moves that deal a good amount of damage, but less than the ultimate move with all three characters uniting. Some characters also have special moves, such as Zoro who can power himself up to give him increased damage.
There is also a cool combo function where if you complete all the moves required you get a 15 second increase in power called a “burst”. The burst feature is cool, but because it is so short and you end up being unable to stop your moves once they start, it largely goes to waste. The game also has a block/dodge/counter feature, in which a big button prompt comes up. Blocking means that you take no damage when the attack comes, however the attacks are so slow that you can always see them coming. They are so slow that you can often punch and kick your way out of range of the person swinging at you. Furthermore, you can block/dodge/counter mid attack, so you almost never get hit.
The standard battle screen when you are fighting, although usually with a lot more enemies.
The combat only really lasts a little while when you come up against a boss. Even boss battles, the highlights of many genres, lack excitement. Every fight turns into mashing buttons to deal damage, dodging when the prompt comes up, and then hitting the boss again. This pattern is done over and over again, and becomes a real drag. The combat is also really loud, with Luffy and the other two characters shouting Japanese phrases at the top of their lungs, as well as the sounds of people being hit, and those people shouting in pain. This created a cacophony of sound that gave me a headache on multiple occasions, even after I turned it down.
There are also little bonus objectives during the game that give you something to do when wandering around in either the story missions or the side quests. One of the extra little things you can do is go around and catch wild life with a big net. Once you do you get a little game where you press button prompts quickly to wear down a stamina bar. This is the most challenging aspect of the game, as the prompts fly past very quickly. There is also a fishing game, which has the exact same mechanics – chip away at the fish’s stamina with rapid pressing and hope for the best. I am yet to see fishing as something exciting and novel in a video game.
There is this side quest based around catching these little hedgehogs, and it took me quite a while (about ten minutes) to catch five of these little guys. Compare the time catching hedgehogs to the time it took me to beat a dragon, which was about five minutes. Catching a hedgehog is twice as hard as beating a dragon in OPUWRDE. Or maybe I’m just a hopeless hedgehog hunter.
Look at this dumb fish I caught.
OPUWRDE is long, filled with things to do, and comes with (occasional) challenges. However, this game is also unbelievably boring. All the sections of a level look like a copy and paste of the previous area but with slightly different paths. The gameplay is based solely around wondering into an area, beating people up, collecting something, and then beating a boss; Every mission in the story mode is the exact same. Coliseum mode is a little better because it skips the wondering around bit, and throws you straight into the fighting. Players who are looking for a good One Piece game will have to look further, as this nostalgia trip does not satisfy, and leaves a sour taste in the mouth due to its boring and repetitive gameplay.
This game was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch. Also available on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC.