The anime/manga One Piece has brought a myriad of video game adaptations over the past 18 years such as One Piece: Grand Battle! an arena brawler and my first shot at the series, One Piece Pirate Warriors, One Piece Burning Blood, One Piece Unlimited World RED and many more. But One Piece World Seeker is easily one of the most ambitious one to date. With core mechanics similar to Unlimited World RED, it improved upon its traversal and made it a completely open world to explore and discover.
One Piece has always been about the treasures and the meat… Well, probably more on the meat than the riches honestly. But like always, Luffy and his crew will stop at nothing when it comes to adventure. And Prison Island is probably the best way to start it off. But upon realizing the rumored treasure was a lie, they were already caught up in the sinister plots that would eventually lead them to helping out with the citizens’ woes and worries. Which means gathering all sorts of materials and minerals scattered in the islands, fighting off pirates or giving love advice to lovers torn with the conflict between the people who kneels in the navy’s presence and those who detests it. Despite a pirate, Luffy and company has always been about helping those in need regardless of status and historical standings. Penned with the mind of Eiichiro Oda himself, this makes it an adventure worth taking despite the voice acting that is filled with one-liners of weird sounds and phrases that doesn’t do it justice. But in spite of all that, it’s cinematic cutscenes offer full Japanese dub.
While the story itself is a fantastic experience that only gets dragged by the compulsory and repetitive side missions that hinders their progress, the thrill of the ride is with its traversal and movement. Moving throughout the world is by leaps and bounds an amazing ride that could only get better as new skills and abilities are unlocked. It does however stumble from time to time due to the enemies popping you with their sniper-like shots that staggers to bring you down to earth with force and the limited range of your arm that latches on the rooftops and treetops alike. Zipping throughout the world is its greatest selling point and the world is visually enchanting that only makes it even better. From vast forest areas, ponds and lakes, cliffs, huge cities and towns, to even mountains outfitted with mining operations. But despite its gorgeous visuals, the land feels empty and barren with just a few people to populate it other than the enemies just waiting to test their marksman-like aiming skills.
Generally, the game is mostly about the quests people would eventually come up with. From your average fetch and kill quests among a few others, it becomes a repetitive experience that offers no joy for its lack of combat quirks to make it exciting. Luffy, the only playable character, is also the only character you’d see on your side with all the other mobs and bosses trying to kill you off. This makes the entire crew to be set aside on the backburner as NPCs that you’d interact with to explore and gather materials for you or crafting equipment and other necessities. Similar to the source material, Luffy has a multitude of skills he can utilize from the iconic Gum-Gum Elephant Gattling to mow down his foes or the Gum-Gum UFO to cover vast areas in midair. However its bland combat mechanics of a one-button combo that cannot be cancelled by a dodge or block makes the entire experience more often than not more annoying than it needs to be. As you get staggered by shots from large distances or melee strikes that you’d have no way to escape.
While the game itself centers on crafting equipment and learning new abilities and skills, it doesn’t particularly offer a leveling system to take advantage of these aspects. Each mission has its own set of rewards like blueprints and recipes among a few others like actual gear and materials as well as a set amount of skill points for your abilities. While also being able to gather materials from the sparkling dots over the vast islands or obtaining skill points for beating up the baddies or rather the Navy and other pirates. The skills and abilities themselves are well-categorized depending on their use such as the Observation and Armament Haki forms, exploration that lets you unlock more traversal abilities or abilities to help with gathering materials, parameters that increase your health, regeneration, and tension among a few others that improves upon your arsenal of iconic special moves. It’s an interesting system that moves away from the traditional levels and skill points.
On the Thousand Sunny, you’ll be able to talk to Franky or Usopp if you wish to craft new equipment or make better gear from previously crafted ones. As the game relies on rarities, certain equipment like an Attack Ring will either be normal or with + and ++ added to their names that increases its parameters when crafted using the materials you gathered. You’ll also be able to disassemble to be refunded with a few of the materials used as well as craft new outfits for Luffy to keep looking fresh after a good run around the island.
One Piece World Seeker is a game much better called Luffy: Island Hopper for its lack of playable characters that you’ll never see to fight alongside you outside the cinematic cutscenes and its bland combat mechanics that simply justifies that it’s not worth the penny spent. Its only joyous moments coming from its traversal that isn’t free from its hiccups as it gets barred with the limited range and very specific availability to only roofs, trees, bridges and what not. Making you as Luffy, a wet Spiderman that at times will be swinging and gliding while on others will be running and dropping to deep water. While it borrows the mechanics heavily from Unlimited World RED, it felt inferior when it comes to its content for its lack of appealing factors and even mini-games.