Many fans of the successful anime One Piece have long wanted a decent open world game. In the following game test for One Piece: World Seeker, we will tell you whether Bandai-Namco actually managed to meet and perhaps even exceed expectations.
Mrousing and emotional
You are on the road as Monkey D. Luffy, captain of the Straw Hat pirate gang, and are looking for a treasure on the prison island that is supposed to be there, you get separated from your crew and set out to find your comrades again. You walk through a beautifully designed open world, look for materials and fight against the navy and pirates and get to know the stories of the villagers and the island. The game really starts after about two hours, when you've finally found your comrades.
From this point on it is then also possible to have things made by the crew and send them in search of materials. In addition, side quests and collectibles appear all over the island. The initially monotonous story in which you should just find your crew changes over time and you discover the real problems of the island and its inhabitants. Because the Navy leads the residents to split into two parties, the Navy supporters and the Navy opponents. To make matters worse, the pirates are causing problems on the island and so you set out to save the island and its inhabitants. The authors behind the story managed to give the players the motivation to keep playing, simply because the situation seems sad and hopeless and emotionally carried away.
In addition to the main missions, there are of course a few dozen side missions, which are partly funny and partly sad and tell the stories of the residents.
In addition to the main and side missions, there is also so-called karma, which are numerous and give some insights into well-known One Piece characters. These quests will only bring you something if you are keen on One Piece's karma system. Because if you are very popular with one of the characters, you will receive a bonus clip from the game for the respective character. A small motivation for fans, for occasional gamblers who are no fans are probably not really worth striving for.
Unfortunately, the quests don't differ that much. With one you have to protect a character or NPC, with the other pursue someone or find someone. But mainly just blunt combat against opponents, which there are enough on the island.
Successful world with a few prints
All of the action in the game takes place on Prison Island, formerly known as Jewel Island. The atmosphere of the game world may not be outstanding for a video game from 2019, but the game world and the graphics are perfectly fine for an anime game. Because unlike other anime games, the developers have put a lot of effort into designing the forests, mountains and gentle plains of the prison island. The only problem in the really big world is that there are no animals jumping around because such a feature would bring more life to the island. What impressed us positively, however, was the design of the 7 cities on the prison island. They are not only beautifully designed, but each individual city looks completely different, which is quite successful.
Above all, you have to make deductions when we talk about the design of the residents as well as opponents and pirates. Because then you can tell that the game developers haven't made a lot of effort. Because there are only about a handful of different types that differ only in minimal features such as. Hat or beard, hairstyle. We think that one could definitely have made more effort.
But what you have to especially emphasize, which is the previous strength of the One Piece makers: the design / drawing of the main character. Because the developer studio has paid attention to that, so that the characters from the series look exactly like in the anime.
Boring combat system happily saved
The combat system, which is one of the main features for a game like One Piece World Seeker, is unfortunately a bit one-sided. Because in the combat system you actually press a single button during a melee attack. A button to bring little pirates, mighty pacifistas and admirals of the Navy alike to their knees. That sounds worse than it is, because the actual combat system consists in the fact that you as Luffy can switch between two forms of combat, namely the armor haki, which has slow, strong attacks and the observation haki with faster but weaker attacks.
Because we have the armor as well as the observation haki (and Gear4), we can also use the skills we have received sensibly, for example to deal or take more damage or to use special attacks such as Gum-Gum.Elefantengatling. It was very important to implement this skill-skill-system into the game because this way you can make the combat system a little more exciting again. Because the different Haki shapes can then be designed a little closer to your own liking, so that everyone gets to fight their style. The experience points here are obtained in combat and after completing a quest. In my opinion a feature that rounds off the combat system.
The normal opponents have no intelligence and just shoot pointlessly at you, if you are close they will attack you with a knife. That goes for the average henchman who can be found anywhere on the island, as well as for mini-bosses who cross Luffy's path every few missions. Admiral Fujitora, the former Samurai of the Seas Crocodile or CP-0 agent Rob Lucci are more of a nuisance than powerful. Press the key to evade (or block) at the right moment and counterattack; that's it. Gather enough energy to trigger a special attack and your opponent's health bar will drop quickly. The only surprise in this area comes in the endgame in the form of Luffy's currently strongest mode, the Gear 4. But perhaps it would have been better to ignore the possibility of this transformation. On the one hand, the mode was optically not implemented well - the attacks that Luffy has now mastered look consistently underground. On the other hand, our hero is completely useless after the transformation.
His attacks are only slightly stronger than before, the controls are a horror - and to top it off, he is slowed down by every enemy attack. More powerful opponents even knock him over, which also causes a lot of frustration, because Luffy cannot keep this state forever. Accordingly, it can happen that you transform and lie on your back the entire time. If you had launched a finisher instead, the enemy would already have been defeated and your nerves would be intact.
It gets weird when you have to sneak as Luffy. Yes, you can sneak exactly, just stand in a barrel and move unobtrusively. And you wonder if the developers even know what kind of person Luffy is because sneaking is clearly against his fighter nature. Unfortunately, the sneaking doesn't even work in practice because in eight out of ten cases the opponents still notice your presence and your barrel crumbles the further you move.
So in the end the Schleich system does not help because it is immature and there is no reason to use the barrels, because the groups of opponents you sneak up on are usually rather small and weak anyway.
The illusion of the open world game
One Piece World Seeker has competed a lot with the designation open world, but unfortunately it is not an open word game. Because just because they offer a large, freely explorable game world doesn't make it an open-world game.
Rather, an illusion of an open-world game is created, which becomes clear to you at the latest when you see a shop with guests and try to go in there. Because then you suddenly stand in front of an invisible wall and you realize that it's just not what you expect from an open world game.
The crew- nice but not important
As I already explained at the beginning, we had to find our crew and after we succeeded, the crew, contrary to what we thought, was not given a meaningful task in the game but is only there to make equipment and clothing and to look for materials.
Well, it's nice if you can dress Luffy, which also looks very interesting in combat, but we would have wished for more important tasks for the crew. Instead, you see them every now and then in dialogues and very rarely in the game world during a mission.
Treasure hunt: fun and despair
Incorporating a treasure hunt system into the game was a very good idea because in addition to the collectibles and items, we have a real reason to run through the entire game world and also to explore the most remote corners. For example, you kill a couple of pirates and are given a treasure map with a picture showing where the treasure is supposed to be buried.
I have just emphasized that it is nice to explore the world, but it can all end quite desperately if you wander through the world for 2 hours and still have not found the place where the treasure is buried. Because you really only have a picture of the place and a small view from above as the only information, which does not help you when you look at the world map. But all in all, the joy you feel after a 2 hour successful search can no longer be put into words.
Gum-gum in the sky
Thanks to the trailers, you could have expected that we would have fun with Luffy's gum-gum rocket. Because you are no longer required to cover long distances on foot, but can throw yourself through the air by rocket from practically anything that you can cling to.
Admittedly, the control of the rocket seems very strange at the beginning, but after you get used to it, it's a lot of fun. We haven't seen a feature like this often in video games, which makes One Piece World Seeker a one-of-a-kind game.
Number of players: Solo mode
Age: USK Approved from 12
Playing time: 20+ hours of play
Long-term motivation: high
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Year of publication: 2019
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Cost: 62,99 Euro
Since we were often not very satisfied with anime games, we came into the game with quite low demands but were able to see that the developers have created an impressive game on an impressive island. There are some negative aspects such as the illusion of an open world game and the lack of motivation of the developers to bring in more variations in the NPCs, but these offenses are quite mild compared to the positive aspects.
Because the impressive atmosphere of the island as well as the gum-gum rocket or the deeply successful story round off the game and make it not a good open-world game but a good anime adventure game, which is a must for everyone One Piece Fan is! We can't wait to see the evolution of the One Piece games continue with joy.