Licensed games used to have a well-earned fame for being principally rubbish. The occasional Genesis-version Aladdin or PS2/Xbox Spider-Man was matched by dozens of forgotten titles that have been little greater than a advertising accessory to a movie, regularly bearing only a cosmetic resemblance to the supply materials with the story warped or virtually utterly discarded so one thing resembling gameplay could possibly be hung off it. One of the best you possibly can hope for was competency, but even that was a rarity. By the requirements of the mid-2000s, One Piece World Seeker can be a type of rare licensed titles made worthwhile by its comparative adequacy, nevertheless it’s 2019 now and that makes it a lot more durable to advocate.
Which not at all means World Seeker is a nasty recreation, as it turns out. Positive, it starts somewhat sluggish, with each motion including motion locked down until the tutorial textual content tells you methods to do it, but by the point the plot kicks in and the gameplay methods can be found, I found I’d accepted the sport’s shortcomings and played it for what it’s, fairly than what I wanted it could possibly be. The result’s a good-sized adventure that takes you through every point on Jail Island from the touchdown seashore, by means of villages, fields, and forests, up a mountain and thru it’s gem-filled caverns, and even a big metropolis that acts as an enormous playground for Luffy to do his greatest Spider-Man impression via. Simply because the sport’s ambitions are larger than its capacity to ship on them doesn’t imply the end result isn’t any fun.
The story starts off with Luffy and the complete crew of the Thousand Sunny doing an out-of-character heist on a army base to steal its treasure. Surprise, the vault is empty and it’s a lure! After confronting the cyborg warden of the sky-island base, Luffy is thrown into the ocean tons of of ft under and then wakes up on the seashore of Jail Island having been rescued by Jeanne. While it’s referred to as Jail Island the place isn’t quite so dire as its identify implies, as an alternative housing a number of villages the place individuals are dwelling their lives as peacefully as they will handle. Which isn’t notably peacefully, as it turns out, as a result of the Navy (not the Marines, as a result of the game apparently uses the English dub title for the group despite all voices being in the unique Japanese) has led to a political divide within the populace that’s beginning to get out of hand. The Navy has a big base near Steel City and two big prisons on either aspect of the island, and the residents are cut up pretty evenly between pro-Navy and anti-Navy. This has led to a deep unrest that Jeanne has been making an attempt to keep from exploding into violence, with combined outcomes. Things are rapidly heating up as cyborg-warden Isaac’s plans are beginning to repay, resulting in an inflow of pirates all looking for a bit of a mysterious treasure that Jail Island used to supply from its mines. After which Luffy and crew land right in the midst of it, which suggests the plans of the island’s multiple factions are about to be voided on account of an infusion of good-natured chaos.
From the moment you wake up on the seashore to the very end of the game you’ll be enjoying as Luffy, which on the one hand looks like a waste of potential but on the other means each facet of the sport could be tuned to his talents. The initial sluggish begin the place the sport teaches you advanced ideas comparable to “Hit X to leap” shortly falls behind as Luffy’s rubber powers come into play, used not just for fight but in addition mobility, letting you zip across the island to your heart’s content material. The enormous open map is on the market from the very start, and when you’d in all probability need to earn a number of talents earlier than wandering off to explore, when you get to Chapter 4: Gathering the Crew, there’s nothing stopping you from poking into every nook and cranny of the well-designed map.
The most important thing One Piece World Seeker will get right is its exploration. The island is just enjoyable to run round in, with its totally different areas all feeling distinct from each other and having goodies tucked away nearly in all places. The mini-map on the decrease right of the display exhibits the situation of glowing spots where you possibly can harvest assets, white for widespread or scarce gadgets and gold for rare, and every region has numerous treasure chests to chase after as nicely. The spots regenerate, and while I dutifully chased after them like a rubber-man Pac-Man initially, I ultimately ignored a lot of the white spots and as an alternative punched crates to maintain my useful resource provides topped off. The treasure chests, then again, are tallied up on the world map, displaying you how many you’ve came upon of the whole in every space. To make factor slightly trickier the mini-map solely exhibits a top-down view that doesn’t point out where chests are situated vertically, and that’s where Luffy’s haki talents come into play.
Haki is principally a psychological discipline that provides its customers superpowers, roughly damaged up into velocity, power and perception. Touching down on the d-pad switches Luffy from the fast-paced Notion haki to the combat-oriented Armament haki, every of which give him a couple of totally different talents. In Armament mode Luffy can block injury and let off large attacks, whereas Statement mode replaces the block with a touch and he features a detective imaginative and prescient to use briefly bursts. The detective vision picks out enemies in pink, townspeople in green, and destructible gadgets and treasure chests in white, which is nice for letting you understand the place a missing treasure chest is hiding while not holding your hand so much that is exhibits a path for methods to get there.
While zipping all over the world, rocketing from timber and platforms as the landscape flies by under is great fun (and fast travel deeply useful for the occasions it isn’t), the fight doesn’t fare fairly so nicely. More often than not you’ll depend on a four-punch combo, hitting the same button time and again till no enemies are left, but as Luffy completes mission and earns talent points he can spend them on new talents that break up the button-tapping. Utilizing the dodge or block transfer with good timing, for example, sends the world into slow-mo, letting you land a number of powerful hits before time begins up again. The vary attack could be powered up through the use of it in detective-vision mode, letting you snipe enemies from an unimaginable distance with a deeply stretchy punch. As you’re taking and obtain injury the strain gauge fills in, as much as three pips complete, fueling three super-powered assaults that cause large injury to something they hit. It’s truthfully not a nasty variety of expertise, however for probably the most part enemies aren’t notably threatening so you find yourself doing the punch-punch-punch-punch routine until they’re gone, typically mixing it up with a well-timed dodge for a moment of bullet time only for the sake of variety.
Whereas the preventing isn’t notably thrilling it’s additionally not terrible when you keep in mind to make use of the additional expertise, and seeing as there’s a whole lot of preventing, it’s greatest to make use of some discipline in implementing selection even when it’s not all that crucial. Enemies are available a small handful of varieties, with both pirate and Navy having near-identical decrease tier fighters. A guy with a shotgun might look totally different between pirates and Navy but that doesn’t matter too much if they act the same and both go down in two hits. As you begin seeing extra advanced enemies the variability kicks in, and typically you’ll run throughout an extra-powerful version of an ordinary enemy who can take in a huge quantity of injury, however it isn’t until the Luffy’s rogues gallery starts descending on the island that his fight expertise are put to any actual type of check.
Whereas the beginning of the story is concentrated on constructing the world, introducing the island and its inhabitants, the latter part of the game sees previous associates and enemies present up, every with their own agenda. Smoker and Kashigi, Buggy the Clown, Regulation, Sabo, Crocodile and lots of extra present One Piece fan-service, and most of them are on the lookout for a struggle. They’re a welcome addition after a couple of too many hours of sword man/rifle guy/shotgun man/hammer man, and whereas they aren’t notably arduous to defeat, they’re at the very least a unique encounter from the standard popcorn enemies.
The issue with One Piece World Seeker is that for every constructive there’s both a damaging or a missing little bit of polish. All those assets you gather, for example, are used for ship actions akin to sending a crew member out to seek for extra assets or crafting an equipable merchandise. Luffy can wear up to three accessories directly, enhancing his stats in several ways, and every item is available in widespread, scarce and rare formats. You earn blueprints for brand spanking new gadgets by finishing missions, either the primary story or the various side-quests that fill in background particulars, nevertheless it’s such a half-baked system I found three that appeared to get the job finished referred to as it good. When having Franky or Usopp create a brand new item the menu doesn’t inform you when you have one already or not, so until you memorize your inventory you’ll be hopping between a number of screens to see what you want to create. Then, after constructing half a dozen of the merchandise until you get a rare one for the perfect stat improve attainable, comes the belief it’s not any higher than what you’ve already received.
That half-baked type is at its half-baked-est relating to stealth. Luffy is a personality greatest recognized for being direct, just like the mutant rubber love-child of a brass band and a twister, so for some cause there are stealth missions in World Seeker. Not many, fortunately, however the stealth system is each pretty useful and utterly senseless. The useful part is once you simply don’t feel like preventing someone who’s in the best way, so operating up behind them and thumping them within the head with a Takedown assault (hit the square button when in range of an enemy who isn’t but conscious of your presence) allows you to keep away from combat. It’s truly somewhat satisfying when pointless, because the worst thing that happens is all of the soldiers within the space come operating and are a light nuisance for the minute or so it takes to defeat them. Stealth missions, however, are just a dangerous concept, ending immediately when a single enemy sees you and requiring an extremely lengthy reload. Thankfully stealth missions are rare and brief, but deeply unwelcome once they arrive.
Truly I’m going to take that again. The winner of the half-baked award isn’t the story but slightly its presentation. Whereas cutscenes are mercifully brief, taking just lengthy enough to get in a character bit or two and convey the required info before letting Luffy get right down to business, virtually each single one is conveyed by two or more individuals speaking. There’s a rich backstory about Jeanne’s mom and her impact on the town, with Jeanne making an attempt to reside up to her mom’s peacekeeping legacy amidst a state of affairs that’s getting more harmful and divisive by the moment. There are missions involving gun smugglers, a sub-plot that turns into a principal plot about Jail Island’s mining history and a slowly-growing realization that whatever is occurring on the island is far greater than it seems. All of which is conveyed by individuals standing round throwing dialogue at one another. It’s just like the previous Hollywood adage of “Tell, don’t present, because displaying is dear and who’s received that sort of finances?” There’s quite a bit happening at Jail Island, but if it doesn’t contain Luffy then you definitely’ll only hear about it from other characters without even a comic book ebook panel as an example the small print.
Despite all that One Piece World Seeker can’t do, it’s still a strong B recreation. The primary drawback looks like an excessive amount of ambition in design, with one million good concepts introduced brief as a result of they will’t be absolutely realized with solely a pair that get to shine in full. When the world is open and journey ready in each path, it’s a number of fun to wander the map, chasing down chests and grabbing all the side-quests you’ll find. Positive, the search might boil right down to “Go here, battle some guys, discover a factor, come back,” however every one additionally adds a bit of lore to the world, filling in background details and making Jail Island really feel extra alive than the small handful of individuals wandering the streets of its cities might manage by themselves. Fight could also be repetitive, nevertheless it’s not truly dangerous, and now and again an issue spike pops as much as make you consider Luffy’s expertise as an alternative of merely button-mashing by way of each encounter. Once I wrapped my head around what the sport is and accepted its shortcomings I had fun placing Luffy by means of his paces in a story that just keeps getting greater as the sport progresses, rocketing around the island and not resting till every secret was discovered and plotline accomplished. One Piece World Seeker is probably not the sport it needs it was, however the thing it truly turned is a perfect instance of how much fun a mid-tier recreation might be for those who strategy it from a forgiving perspective.