Monkey D Luffy and the Straw Hat crew are launching themselves into one of their biggest adventures yet in One Piece World Seeker. But with any grand adventure there’s some problems you’ll have to deal with head on.
World Seeker opens with you joining the pirate crew inside a Sky Prison floating above the infamous Jail Island. While trying to find the treasure hidden inside, Nami, the crew’s navigator, quickly realizes it was all a trap and warns everyone to make their escape to the island below. After narrowly escaping, you take control of Luffy who’s now on the island underneath in search of his fellow crew. The plot from there largely follows the similar twists and turns you’d see in a traditional arc of One Piece. You’ll uncover an evil plot to conveniently bring your favorite One Piece heroes and villains to the navy controlled island.
Most missions play out the same with Luffy and an NPC exchanging dialogue in a very static scene, with them telling you to go meet with another NPC which then leads to another static scene telling you to go fight some dudes. There are some exceptions, like exploring and fighting your way through an undersea prison, or some fun fanservice match ups, but you’ll largely be doing the former and it would of been nice to seem some more variety. On top of that, the Straw Hat Pirates largely play a side role in the whole adventure. Aside from a few brief moments where you get to see them in action, they just fall into the roles of your quest givers or the dialogue mid-mission showing you the next mission marker.
The larger mission structure and main story campaign leave a lot to be desired. The story does a good job of taking you to the various regions across the island ranging from mining towns, naval ports and massive castles and while these all look great it loses value when most of the time spent in these places are wasted watching more static NPC exchanges.
Even as the mission’s I was doing grew to be repetitive, I found the combat and exploration fun and engaging, the developers Ganbarion got the act of being Luffy right and it’s the most fun he’s been in any One Piece offering I’ve played. Landing powerful blows or activating dramatic special moves kept me playing even after I finished the 10-12 hour critical path. As you upgrade further down your skill tree you’ll gain access to abilities that let you launch yourself around the island faster and more freely.
The combat has you switching between two attack styles, one that focuses on speed with weaker attacks, and the other that hits harder at the cost of mobility. Other options like stealth takedowns and longer range projectile attacks are also available with upgrades in your skill tree. Stealth is forgiving and simple but does let you take care of some enemies for the inevitable larger battle that breaks out. I was able to mash my way through most encounters but at least the options were a nice change of pace. I did played on the standard difficulty but could see being more strategic with your form changing and use of stealth attacks coming into play on harder difficulties.
One Piece World Seeker felt like the first attempt for a more ambitious outing for the straw hat crew in the world of gaming. This game stands high up against previous One Piece games even with some of it’s lackluster elements. It’s faithful to the source material but I think a little more of wackiness and wonder from the show would of went a long way. While it didn’t quite nail the landing it did come a little closer to the sense of wonder and adventure the franchise has given me for years. If the developers continue down the path with open world games set in this pirate universe I think they have the potential to nail it down the road.
This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 4 Pro system with a review code provided by a PR representative of the title