One Piece Unlimited World Red Review
Pub: Namco Bandai
Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest.
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
Drink and the devil had done for the rest.
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
Yo ho, everyone! It’s a pirate’s life for you, should you choose to brave the bizarre world of One Piece Unlimited World Red, a game which has popped up for 3DS amid little in the way of fanfare. It’s based upon the successful ‘One Piece’ manga series (which is where my knowledge of that particular aspect of the game ends) and, like many things Japanese in origin, is as gloriously insane as a bag of badgers.
You play as Luffy, leader of the Straw Hat pirates; a disparate group of not-really-very-villainous sea dogs who arrive on the island village of Transtown because a creature that was a pen (?) at one point sort of leads them to it.
Luffy himself seems like a relatively typical animé teenage boy – albeit one with a questionable taste in hats – but is soon revealed to be some sort of Stretch Armstrong type by growing his limbs and catapulting himself around the island. His colleagues have equally strange powers or outlandish body shapes that give them various advantages in life such as healing powers, enormous cannonball cyborg arms, and (cough) enormous boobs. Well it is a Manga spin-off, so if body shape issues push your buttons, you should know what’s coming ahead of time.
Somehow, most of the Straw Hat pirates contrive to get themselves kidnapped during nap-time and the responsibility falls to you – as Luffy – to rescue them and then go about fighting other evil pirate gangs for reasons that I am sure are probably well explained if you’ve read the comics/seen the films/eaten the instant noodle but which are pretty much lost on me. Still, borderline-incomprehensible plot aside, there’s nothing to stop you diving into the thick of the action.
And action orientated the game most certainly is, despite the trailers making it look very much like a Persona title or some other familiar JRPG style game. OPUWR is something akin to an arena style brawler, as you guide your player character and a companion through some very colourfully designed locales, periodically coming across groups of enemies whom you fight with an easily accessed range of fighting moves and some special powers. Punch ’em, kick ’em, dodge their blows, leap about with wild abandon and pull off some of the more exciting special attacks after you’ve built up your power meter. The familiarity of the gameplay actually benefits the game hugely, as they’re cramming so many ideas into the game outside of the core fighting mechanics, that the ease with which you should take to the combat really allows you to settle in to the game and feel like it’s not overwhelming you with a tidal wave of crazy and new.
When not smashing the ever-loving bejesus out of all-and-sundry, Luffy is also on the lookout for bits of old wood and other assorted crap, because he is basically blackmailed into helping rebuild Transtown at the start of the game. Build up more of the town, unlock more stuff to do and people to meet. Everyone’s happy – especially lovers of minigames, since they get to indulge their sweet-tooth in a spot of fishing and butterfly catching should the mood take them.
Actually, not everyone’s happy. Lovers of lengthy RPGs are decidedly unhappy, since the story can be polished off in about 5-6 hours with little difficulty (some reports are saying 4). Although you do really need to be super direct to finish it in that time and you’d be missing out on a lot of the town rebuilding stuff that really adds character to the game.
Adding considerably to the game-length is the coliseum mode which is certainly an interesting extra mode to play through. You start as a lowly ‘C’ grade combatant in an arena and your job is to fight your way up the ranks to ‘A’ class and ultimately take down a guy who looks like he was shot in the back with a flamingo.
JUST A MOMENT
1. This mode is great because it allows you to play with lots of different unlockable fighters and really hone your combat skills. It’s fun and rewarding to move swiftly from battle to battle since the combat is such a key ingredient in the game.
2. The fucking thing does this bullshit when you’re most of the way through arena fucking Flamingo douche shows up and sends you back to the beginning of the arena run. WHY? Why do this? You have to start all over again and build your ranking up from scratch! AND HE MOCKS YOU! It’s like the game is deliberately trying to push your buttons.
U wot m8? U cheeky cnt I’ll smak u in the gabber swer on me mum #rekt
Erm, so leaving that aside, do I recommend One Piece Unlimited World Red? Well, to be perfectly honest, any recommendation for this game is pretty meaningless. Just look at the box art – you’ll be able to tell instantly if the game is for you or not. If the idea of just running around a pretty world, having nonsensical fun and never quite being sure why appeals to you, buy it. If you fancy an RPG but don’t want any heavy grind, buy it. If you like ‘cartoonish’ arena fighters, buy it. If, on the other hand, you’re someone who is normally totally turned off by Manga, animé and that typical zany Japanese stuff, you probably won’t find anything here to change your mind.
I’ve got a soft spot for this kind of lunacy – so this game made me very happy. Give it a chance, it might do the same for you.
If you’re already a fan of the One Piece series, we’d love to hear from you below. Where does this game fit in with the overall story? What’s the other game like in the series? Why does Luffy want to eat everything?
One Piece Unlimited World Red is out now for 3DS, Wii U and Vita