One Piece is a long running franchise by Eiichiro Oda, the mastermind behind the manga and anime that follows the adventures of the Straw Hat Pirates. The main character of the show is Monkey D. Luffy, who wants to become the pirate king. On his journey, he has gained many allies, such as Nami, Chopper, and Zoro to name only a few. The game also has no English dub, which for some people might be a bit of a shame, as the dubbing for the anime itself is pretty good. Regardless, the subtitles are not that hard to read, but when there is more dialogue to read, it won't leave until you press the X button to get to the next part of the dialogue.
The game starts with the dangerous Red Count returning to terrorize the new world. While resting in the inn at the start of the game, Luffy’s team mates get kidnapped, and you must rescue your team mates and defeat the dangerous Red Count. You are aided by the mysterious raccoon named Pato, who, thanks to a gum gum fruit, has unique traits. Pato has the ability to create anything drawn on a leaf. As you play through the game, the characters in your team will level up and you can equip different words, and words are the term used for special abilities in this game. They can buff your team up or even just the character that has them equipped. Special words are found in dungeons, which can be used to get to secret areas or just to progress through the storyline, and they can be found in dungeons after doing specific challenges.
The game has a very simple but nice battle system with Square and Triangle being your basic attacks that combo together. You have both land and air combos, and the Circle button allows you to counter or dodge attacks from your enemy. This feels pretty much ripped out of the Batman franchise, but with such a fast-paced game, I think it’s a good choice. The game also has a Super Bar, which is triggered with the R2 Button and either Square or Triangle; normally its square for the main attack and circle for the team attack, though the team attack requires two full Super Bars to execute.
The game has a decently-sized hub/town in which you can explore - this is how you acquire sidequests, and the pub that’s unlocked pretty early into the game is where you will get most of the bonus quests, including future downloadable content quests and the boss quests - though this you unlock later on. I would also recommend upgrading the fishing rod and the insect nest pretty early on, as they prove to be quite useful in the game. There is also a garden in the city which you can use to grow components for making healing items; they even grow while you are out doing a mission or quest. You can also trade in fruits to get seeds as well as expand the garden from the inn.
The game has some very nice, varied environments when you're out doing the main missions or even the quests, though sadfully the graphics aren’t quite as good in some places. Plus, the enemies are very repetitive, featuring a lot of the same looks in a lot of the quests. But they do theme the mission areas you are in, and the boss fights are some of the best parts of the game, even if they can get frustrating later on. The game is very generous with checkpoints, however, so you won’t be repeating the same part to much even if you are struggling at all. The game also allows you to expand your town, adding the bar, restaurant, and other different facilities which are used to upgrade your gear or create items that will assist during missions.
The game also supports two-player offline co-op for certain events, though I was unable to test this out during the review. The PlayStation Vita version supports up to four players; again I could not test this out due to the fact I didn’t have a PS Vita copy. From what I could tell, the co-op allows the second player to help you out with the fishing or the bug catching events, which is like a mini-DDR button-style Quick Time Event, which is actually quite fun. You can deliver the fish and insects you catch tothe museum to show them off as well. The game also supports Cross Save between the systems, which adds a great deal of convenience.
If you want a small break from the story mode, there is also Battle Coliseum mode. This is a fighting tournament being hosted by Doflamingo, where Luffy and Law are attempting to take him out. As you progress through the tournament mode you can use other characters, even though Luffy and Law are the ones always shown in the cutscene as they are the main focus for the plot. You can unlock a lot of characters in this mode, from Brook to the really overpowered Whitebeard. You can unlock quite a lot of the boss characters from the main campaign as well, but not all of them. Each character feels different also, with different play styles that make for a nice varied mix.
This mode also has different choices to pick. As you progress through the ranks, you unlock new modes from Boss Rush to Scramble, with each one giving extra points depending on the difficulty you have selected; though, to do Hard Mode, you need to be Rank A. Also each character gets bonus points if it’s their first time doing that particular Tournament Mode, so it is best to do it with all the characters as you unlock them. When you rank up, this resets, and you're able to do it again with the old characters, and this is a good way to get your score up faster. Most of the characters are unlocked just by doing the ranks, though some of them involve doing specific events or statistics. The ranks can be viewed in the Reward List, and this is also how you unlock the Boss Quests in the inn. Going through the ranks can also unlock health items and other goodies which will help you in the main story mode.
Overall, the game is a challenge but not frustrating. the lack of online modes will kill the interest for some people, but not every game needs it. The game has a long story mode which will take most people around 20 hours, then the Battle Coliseum will take around another nine to ten hours, depending on your skill level. One Piece Unlimited World Red has enough content to keep both the non-fans and the fans alike happy for a while.
-The Final Word-
A ton of content, addictive gameplay and great visuals make up for the lack of online modes.