Out of all the popular anime around, One Piece isn’t one I ever found myself interested in. Friends often pressured me into giving the series a chance and for a brief time, I considered diving into the expansive saga of Monkey D. Luffy. I liked the world, I like characters but to this day I’ve avoided it. By going in blind on reviewing One Piece: World Seeker, this gives me the perfect chance to get my feet wet with the series. There is also an original story made for the game by Eiichiro Oda, creator of One Piece.
As it were, I like the characters and the colours. What I didn’t like was the gameplay and the emptiness found within Jail Island. However, don’t get me wrong, World Seeker provides a solid foundation and room for improvement.
Keep on Punching
After an introductory cinematic, the loveable Luffy lands on the inter-connected archipelagos of Jail Island. It’s up to Luffy to save his Straw Hat crew from prosecution while dealing with the inhabitants of the island. The conflict Luffy finds himself in the middle of hooked me as far as anime filler goes but the longer I played, the more I wanted to know.
As you make your way through the story, which is estimated at around 20 hours, Luffy’s abilities are upgradeable making traversal and combat easier, but not better. Simple combos grow repetitive and while the Gum-Gum powers Luff possesses are fun to use, they lack depth. Unfortunately for World Seeker, I’m coming off a high with Devil May Cry V.
Combat suffers because of how simple Luffy’s melee and ranged attacks are in nature. Luffy can dodge attacks too, but these mechanics rarely feel intertwined. You can’t cancel your attacks and that makes combat disjointed and unrefined. Enemy AI is a sore spot as well, it’s rather basic but leave much to be desired.
Almost like a Spider
Traversal across the island is a highlight of World Seeker. Luffy’s ability allows him an interesting way to cross the expansive world in front of him. By grabbing the tops of trees and building ledges, he’s able to propel himself across the island, reminiscent of how Spider-Man swings across the city. However, it isn’t as refined and sometimes finding the right ledge to keep going isn’t clear.
Quests litter the island, but few are memorable and offer little more than collecting items, taking on goons and standard quest fodder. After completing a handful of these, you’ve seen what most quests offer. These quests are fodder and pad the experience to prolong the length of World Seeker.
Issues pile on the more you play through each system. Rough mission design, sterile combat mechanics bog down the experience. Any game with instant-fail mission design makes my eye twitch and are found in World Seeker.
I asked a few friends about the characters in One Piece, and while many of them are larger than life, in World Seeker, they are relegated to nothing more NPCs who sell Luffy gear. I’m told in the anime they play off each other in hilarious situations, and characters like Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp are some of the best, and you see glimmers of that here. Perhaps in a sequel, the Straw Hat Pirates may end doing more than standing around and being of use.
One Piece: World Seeker features an original story with interesting characters. Unfortunately, the rest of the experience doesn’t line up. Every aspect of this game reeks of tediousness, and the basic gameplay lacks impact. Few anime-licensed games excel at what they do, and once again this is proven with World Seeker. Fans of the series might find something exciting here but for anyone else interested, you’re better off skipping this game.