- Game: One Piece: World Seeker
- Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, PC
- Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
- Developer: Ganbarion
A One Piece: World Seeker review code was provided by the publisher.
It finally looks as if games based on hit manga/anime franchises are improving. On the fighting game front, Dragon Ball FighterZ has garnered the attention of both casual and hardcore followers of the fighting game genre. Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise lifted the open-world exploration elements and exciting battle mechanics from the Yakuza series to great success. And Attack on Titan 2 delivered a far better playable Titan hunting experience over its somewhat lackluster predecessor. While there’s still far too many mediocre anime based arena fighters and beat ’em ups, it’s clear that strides are being made to properly adapt popular manga’s into quality games. One Piece: World Seeker, even with all of its flaws, is a good example of this growing trend.
Monkey D. Luffy, avid treasure hunter and the pirate who happened to consume a mythical Gum-Gum Fruit, gets himself wrapped up in another predicament. While out searching for a massive treasure, him and his crew find themselves in a new conflict with the Navy on an island that’s under their control. In an effort to recover his fellow crew mates and aid the Anti-Navy faction leader who saved his life, Luffy sets out to defeat the Marines who’re targeting him. Unlike a lot of anime games of its ilk, World Seeker refrains from retelling its source material’s most iconic moments. It introduces a fresh storyline that’s fun to follow due to the upbeat themes present throughout it. The new characters brought along for this new plot quickly become fan favorites, plus the presence of One Piece’s lovable Straw Hat Pirates crew provides an element of familiarity amongst longtime fans.
World Seeker is a grand adventure that places you within a bright and colorful locale. The lush colors and signature character designs sported here are thankfully loyal to the look of One Piece. The massive island you’ll inhabit houses all types of varied cities, small villages, and Navy forts – discovering an inhabited landmark while out exploring is always a treat. Not every region is home to a bunch of residents however, which makes the game’s open-world feel a bit empty and lifeless in some parts. Luckily, the more bustling portions of the island do a good enough job of making the open world feel a tad bit more lively.
World Seeker sticks to the beaten path when it comes to its open-world structure – you’ll comb every corner of the island as you complete a series of main objectives and a myriad of side missions. Exploring the game’s massive island as Luffy becomes increasingly engrossing as you unlock new traversal options. Pulling off a graceful Spider-Man swing with Luffy’s elongated limbs is always a pure joy. Many of the game’s main and side missions offer a good sense of fulfillment – digging deeper into the mysteries of the island and becoming closer to each side character remains fun all the way through. However, the stale fetch quest formula is relied on a bit too much for several side missions. Picking up random items for unimportant NPC’s stands out as the least interesting aspect of World Seeker’s open-world exploration.
When it’s time to take down the Navy opposition, World Seeker is disappointingly simple…at first. Luffy doesn’t have a whole lot of offensive options to tap into during the game’s early chapters. While you have access to two different battle styles, their basic three-hit combos quickly grows stale. Plus the reliance on minor stealth mechanics feels at odds with Luffy’s more in-your-face approach to combat. Upgrade points are commonly dispersed as you complete missions, which helps unlock new combat options and traversal maneuvers that are quite useful.
The battle system certainly takes a while to ramp up and renew your interest. But the game’s rewarding upgrade tree eventually turns Luffy into a far more formidable hero who becomes more fun to utilize. One Piece fans may be disheartened by the fact that Luffy is the only playable character you get to use, however. Not having the opportunity to wipe out a few foes as Nami, Sanji, or Zoro is a major letdown. Luffy’s fun enough to play as throughout World Seeker’s long run time. It’s just a letdown that his pirate crew members are mainly relegated to the sidelines.
World Seeker certainly shines in several areas, but there’s a few problems in place that will begin to annoy you. The simple act of opening a chest takes entirely too long (even an upgrade in that department doesn’t speed up the unlocking process fast enough). Some of the upgrades that you can add to Luffy’s repertoire simply aren’t worth acquiring, either. And the lack of an English voice option is an obvious oversight. Thankfully, World Seeker’s incredible soundtrack and recognizable Japanese voice cast produces high marks in the audio department.
One Piece: World Seeker Takeways
One Piece: World Seeker is a pleasant surprise. It gives you an amazing sense of freedom as you control Luffy and venture around a massive island full of beautiful locations. The huge cast of characters, engrossing missions, and evolving combat system will bring you in and keep you until the journey’s end. The swashbuckling world of One Piece is perfectly replicated in an open-world experience that fans will quickly take to. World Seeker certainly has its fair share of issues that prevents it from attaining the high marks of other open-world games. While it’s rough around the edges, World Seeker easily takes the top spot as the finest One Piece video game.