Sunday, 01 October 2017 20:26

REVIEW: One Piece: Unlimited World Red (Nintendo Switch)

Written by Staceface_Mayhem
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Bandai Namco just love their anime games, and with such a huge audience to appease, it is a big market with so many gunning to see their favourites brought to life whether it be in the movies or in video game form. Soon enough the much-loved classic ‘One Piece’, although the fifth in the Unlimited sub-series, finally graced itself on the Nintendo Switch.

One Piece: Unlimited World Red developed by Ganbarion and published by Bandai Namco, first released back in 2013 on Nintendo 3DS, and is an action, adventure, RPG title based on the manga and popular anime.

You play as Luffy, the famed, stretchy limbed, leader of the ‘Straw Hat’ pirate crew returning from exploring the high seas. Upon meeting a bizarrely added racoon-y deer character Pato whilst restocking their ship, Luffy is shocked (well kind of, Luffy cares more about his stomach) to find that all his crew has been kidnapped. Why are criminals of Luffy’s past resurfacing? What do they want with the Straw-Hat Crew? You’ll need to play to find out how this pretty decent plot unfolds.

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The game has beautifully animated cutscenes throughout, whether it be docked or handheld. It looks better than what the anime ever looked like, but you’d expect that as ‘One Piece’ the cartoon is actually quite old now. Because it is old my one issue is the lack of any backstories in this game, meaning anyone young or new to the legacy that is One Piece needs to build a picture themselves, using dubious and limited information sprinkled in the cutscenes.

The game has only 2 modes, Story (which can be played local Co-Op with the Joy Cons) and The Coliseum. Gameplay is typical of a Bandai, anime RPG, and much like the rest is very grindy with enemies, gear and materials. You have your basic and special attacks that you need to charge. Once the bar is completely full you can initiate an all-out beat down on the enemies with your team. Team? you might ask? Tradition of most anime games is the fact you can pick and interchange between members of your group. This means if you get bored of Luffy’s attack styles, try Zoro with his swift cutlass attacks or Franky with his huge projectile bullets, at a click of a button they will swap out.

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Boss battles were surprisingly challenging, and memorable, which is good because as I mentioned before it is a grindy process through enemies to get to a boss, and towards the end it can be quite fatiguing. Despite doing almost the same; attack minions, collect gear or cash etc, it is worth it, as at times you really need those upgrades when the big battles come around.

The controls on the Nintendo Switch were well mapped during general gameplay, all except the darn mini games. The incessant need to pad games out with mini games annoyed me, I could write a whole new article on it, so I won’t start. I will say though, while fighting and swapping characters is fluid, trying to use the D-pad and buttons at the same time in a mini game to catch a creature, is not cool. Especially since I’m an avid Xbox user too and Switch buttons are named the same but in different locations... it can be frustrating.

The Coliseum is a skill test arena, where you can test your real talents. Come here to unlock characters to join your roster and acquire awards by fighting bosses, waves of minions, duels or even Battle Royale goodness.

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Being the Switch, and its motion controls, I did have an issue with the camera multiple times, with NPC’s blocking my view, it fixating on an item or it not liking the position I was holding the Switch, making it track to the sky. I found docking it to the TV helped some of these problems. Only some.

Visually, it is a wonderfully updated, fresh, vibrant game. Every single colour popped in every single scene and environment. So much detail packed into a little Switch blew my mind, from the sand blowing from over the dunes to ripples in the comical water. Despite being in Japanese the voice acing is also brilliant, and the subtitles easily skippable if you have had enough of a cutscene.

Overall, ‘One Piece: Unlimited World Red is an enjoyable homage, to the anime and for the fans. While gameplay is repetitive and predictable, the energetic boss levels make it worth your while. Playing well on the Switch, this is a welcomed addition to my library.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.5 / 5.0
  • Platform: Playstation 3, PS Vita, Nintendo DS, Wii U, 3DS, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Ganbarion
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Genre: Action / Adventure