The game follows the Straw Hats on a brand-new adventure in the mysterious island of Waford filled with raging nature, powerful enemies and all-around strange encounters.
The Demo was played on PlayStation 5 for this preview.
The Beginning of the Odyssey
We start off the demo as Luffy, who has been separated from the Straw Hats after they got caught in a storm while reaching for Waford. It didn’t take long for Luffy to find the rest of the crew though with only Nami and Zoro missing.
Nami was apparently caught by a giant gorilla and its up to them to save her. On their path to save Nami, we are then introduced with the basics of the game from its controls, exploration to combat. Along the way, the Straw Hats reunites with Zoro and eventually rescues Nami from the gorilla.
All is well until they encounter Lim and Adio, characters original to the game. Lim uses her magical powers to strip the memories of the Straw Hats and scatters them around the island of Waford. With their memories gone, the Straw Hats will have to venture forth into Waford to recover what they have lost.
This is the point where the demo ends and unfortunately, we were not revealed to the purpose of Lim’s action nor anything about the memories that were scattered across the island.
It’s My Turn to Fight
One Piece Odyssey goes for a unique twist to turn-based RPG, adding in more anime feel to the combat system. The system officially goes by the name, Scramble Battle Area, where you’ll have four different zones that you can use to either move around or attack enemies.
Three main commands are available when you initiate combat which are; Attack, Skills and Items.
Attack will have you perform basic attacks on enemies that build up Tension Points. These Tension Points are requirements to use the Skills, signature abilities that the Straw Hat can use. Each member has their own unique set of skills with some dealing huge damage while others inflicting additional effects to the enemy
Items, as the name implies opens up a list of items that you can use in battle. These items like Sanji’s cooked meals or Usopp’s special bullets can be used to either heal yourself up or provide an edge in battle by increasing your stats and lowers your enemies’ stats.
In battle, you can only have up to 4 crew members at a time while the rest stay in the reserve slots. You can however, switch the members up during battle so long as you can still can make an action that turn.
I personally like this feature because this makes it much easier for me to adapt to the situation at hand rather than having to prepare for every possible scenario before the battle.
Another feature to their combat is the Dramatic Scene. Think of it like an additional scenario that happens during the start of battle that gives you optional objectives to complete.
For example, we could have Usopp stunned in the middle of a swarm of monkeys and we are tasked to clear the swarm while keeping him alive. Completing the Dramatic Scene will give us additional rewards such as experience points and items.
From my view, Dramatic Scene adds one more layer of interactivity during battle. Unexpected optional objectives adds a lot of spice to the repetitive slog that turn-based RPG suffers from.
While limited only to the cave, the demo does let your try out tons of exploration features the game has, specifically the abilities of the Straw Hats members. The Demo, however, only showcases only three of the Straw Hat’s exploration abilities.
Luffy can stretch his arms to reach high places and even grab items from far away. He can also use his Observation Haki to detect enemies within a certain range and pinpoint which of them provides more bonuses when battling.
Chopper can use his small body to enter holes and crevices while Zoro can use his swordsmanship to destroy obstacles blocking your path.
Customizing the Straw Hats
The demo gives us the chance to try out a couple of its customization features, one of them being the Cube Fragments that you can get from exploration and battles.
These cubes are used to enhance the Skills that you can use it battle to make them even stronger. However, they are character-specific so you cannot use a Luffy Cube Fragment to upgrade Nami’s Skills.
Unlike the usual equipment system in RPG, One Piece Odyssey does not have individual equipment slots for the characters but instead use a grid-like system where you can freely fill in the grid with the equipment you have. These equipment provides various bonuses from raising stats, health regeneration to even boosting the damage of your normal attacks and Skills.
A Faithful Graphic
Graphics wise, Odyssey is a massive upgrade when compared to previous entries like World Seeker and Pirate Warriors. Not only are the character look more expressive in this game, you could also see the respect they have to the series with how faithful the 3D models look like to the manga.
Waford looks amazing, even from the small bits of it we got from the demo. The Ray-tracing support also adds up the beauty for the scenery. The colourful aesthetic and overall feel of the island just makes me want to continue exploring the island even more.
Onwards to the Great Treasure
Just from the demo alone and I am already this impressed. I honestly cannot wait for the full game to come out so that I can adventure together with the Straw Hats even more. The Scramble Battle Area system mixed with the Dramatic Scene is very enjoyable and I want to experience its full potential in the full game.
In addition, not only are the characters visually appealing in the game, Odyssey also faithfully reproduce how the characters act from the manga into the game. Whenever Luffy cracks a joke, instead of just having a monotonous group laugh, each of them reacted the same way they would in the manga.
Overall, One Piece Odyssey might prove to be one of the better One Piece game yet and I cannot wait to start my new year with a game as good as this.
One Piece Odyssey will be getting its full release in January 13th, 2023 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.