‘One Piece Odyssey’: Release Date, Platforms, Characters, Gameplay & More
A One Piece turn-based RPG? Yes, please.
This year marks One Piece’s 25th anniversary, which means it’s a bonkers time for One Piece fans. The manga is going on a one-month hiatus, we learned the final saga of the series begins in July, and One Piece Film: Red will be releasing in Japan in August and elsewhere in October. To add to all of this, One Piece Odyssey, the series’ first-ever dive into the world of turn-based JRPGs, will be coming out this year. In short, it’s an especially exciting time to be a One Piece fan.
An extended trailer for Odyssey was revealed during June’s Summer Game Fest, with a full-on demo available to play at Anime Expo 2022 in July. One Piece Odyssey is not the long-running series’ first foray into adventure games by a long shot. There’s World Seeker, Unlimited World Red, and basically as many more as you’d expect a popular shounen that’s been around for 25 years to have. But One Piece Odyssey will be the first turn-based RPG in the series’ history. Additionally, the game’s story and the designs of new characters are courtesy of mangaka Eiichiro Oda himself. All of this has me excited as hell.
One of One Piece‘s biggest strengths is its cast of beloved characters. Each character in One Piece has a passionate, dedicated sub-fandom of their own. Odyssey will focus on the Straw Hats specifically—there’s no Trafalgar Law or Carrot traveling along for the ride. And while you can play as any of the Straw Hat crew, Odyssey represents the Straw Hats as they were before Whole Cake Island. So we’ve got Luffy, Nami, Zoro, Sanji, Usopp, Chopper, Robin, Franky, and Brook. No Jinbe. (And no Yamato?? Does Yamato join the crew?? Keep your secrets to yourself, manga readers!) This makes me very, very sad. However, the new story trailer does a great job of getting me excited to play the Straw Hats as they are. The character intros remind me of the fantastic sequence at the beginning of One Piece Film Gold.
Despite the fishman-shaped hole in my heart (I named my cat Jinbe, dammit), the turn-based RPG format takes advantage of your party and makes the most of the wide cast of playable characters. It’s a huge departure from the One Piece gaming norm, which largely embraces the beat-em-up style. I played the One Piece Odyssey demo at Anime Expo 2022, and it surprised me how much the gameplay reminded me of the Persona series. This is especially meta because Chopper and Persona 5‘s Morgana share the same voice actress, Ikue Otani.
You run around the map until you’re interrupted by foes, which launch you immediately into turn-based group combat. Fans (like me, bweh heh heh) will find hilarious nods to the series all over the place. At one point while I was playing, Luffy got hit, fell down, and had a bunch of Karoos circling around his head instead of the more cartoonish staple of stars.
The combat is delightful. Each Straw Hat has a basic attack, where they just punch, slice, or hit the opponent. In Chopper’s case, the basic attack feels kind of awkward: He just hits the opponent in his base “brain point” form with his hoof, which is something he’d never do in a serious fight in the series. You’d think the other tricky Straw Hat to craft a basic for would be Robin, but she makes a whip by chaining a bunch of arms together, which is great.
Each character also has a set of skills, and that’s where they really shine. These are the named attacks we all know and love, the Gum-Gum Gattlings of the One Piece world. Some of the best references to the series are hidden within the Skills, too. I’m delighted to tell you that Robin can use Dos Fleurs: Grab, giving you the opportunity to seize upon an enemy’s balls. Nami’s skills include her Happiness Punch (from the Alabasta arc: she gets rid of a bunch of peeping men in the hot spring by unfurling her towel). Even though Nami doesn’t straight-up flash her boobs (for the best, for sure), she poses in such a way during a slow camera pan that I blushed knowing I was in the middle of the Anime Expo exhibition hall.
All in all, the beginnings of games are usually bad representations of what actual gameplay is like, since they function as a half-tutorial. My takeaway is that when Odyssey gets going, it’s probably going to be fun as hell. Especially if you like that turn-based JRPG style. In addition to party-based combat, trailers have shown that there will be adventuring and puzzle-solving to be had. Additionally, it looks like specific characters will be needed to navigate specific situations, which had been explored before in games like Unlimited World Red.
Also like previous One Piece games, there’s a mechanic in the game to “visit your memories,” which is basically an excuse to play through One Piece canon. Alabasta, for one, has been confirmed in the newest game trailer.
Release Date and Platforms
One Piece Odyssey was originally slated for a 2022 release date. However, like so many expansive games which have been in development during COVID, the release got pushed back. The good news is that the push is a very small one! One Piece Odyssey will release on January 13, 2023.
The game will be releasing on PS4, PS5, XBox series X/S, and PC. No Switch. Alas!
Image credit: Bandai Namco
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