A pirate adventure worth your time.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I know nothing about One Piece. I know it is a huge anime and manga in Japan, and it has a pretty big following here in the US, but I have never seen an episode or read an issue of the series. Still, I have played three video games in the One Piece universe, most of which were in the same vein as Dynasty Warriors. Even though I never understood the entire plot of the games, I still saw they were entertaining to say the least. Now, with Unlimited World Red, One Piece dives into a slightly different genre while still keeping the crazy action in place.
Taking control of Monkey D. Luffy, the stretchy leader of the Straw Hat Pirates, the player must rescue his crew as well as protect and upgrade an island village. With both mechanics feeling like they were pulled out of a beat ‘em up like Dynasty Warriors and a collection and upgrade system much like Monster Hunter, the game has a diverse way of handling things.
Platforms: PS3, Wii U, Vita, 3DS
Price I’d pay: $49.99
Multiplayer: Co-op only – 2 player on PS3 and Wii U/ 4 player on 3DS and Vita
Length: 8-10 hours
Combat is simplistic in nature. Combos can be performed rather easily with a push of a single button while deviating hitting a different button during a combo. Filling up a meter during combat will allow screen clearing super attacks, as well as team up attack with party members. Standard stuff, really. After a while, it will get slightly monotonous. That’s why players can change up who they want to control in the party. Luffy can bring along two allies from the Straw Hats to accompany him on his missions. Switching who to control is simple as hitting a button, and each character plays different.
Players can take on quests that will offer up more experience points, as well as extra materials for upgrading the village and obtaining new items. There’s a ton to do while still feeling simplistic and never overly complicated like many games can be. Upgrading party members comes in the form of words and phrases that can boost stats and situational abilities. These can be earned by completing levels and finding secrets.
The visuals are colorful and flow very well. Just like many of the Naruto games, Unlimited World Red looks like I’m playing the anime. It is rather impressive on the PS3. There are no options for English voice acting, so players will have to listen to the Japanese dub while reading subtitles. It’s not a big deal, but I do prefer English dubs in my games.
While the game play is solid and the amount of content is vast, there is one thing in Unlimited World Red that really brings down the experience, the camera. Both when free roaming and when locked on to an enemy, the camera will get too close to the action or point in a direction that is not helping my situation at all. It is the biggest problem I had with the game overall, and it will get on the nerves of many players, and constantly having to re-center the camera will get old fast.
I also had a chance to try out the 3DS version of Unlimited World Red. Amazingly enough, it is pretty much the exact same game as the console versions, of course with the visuals toned down and the map displayed on the bottom screen. It has Circle Pad Pro support ,which is a life saver considering how wonky the camera is. One strange thing that I have never seen in a 3DS game before: there is no 3D support for this game. Granted, I wouldn’t have played it in 3D, but the option is not even there. That has got to be a rare thing. On last thing to mention: while the PS3 and Wii U versions have two player co-op, the 3DS and Vita versions allow for four player co-op. This is all local from what I can tell.
Of course, I would have to recommend this game to the One Piece fans. It is possibly the best One Piece game out there, and most certainly the best one I have played. Yes, the camera is a wild animal that sometimes refuses to be tamed and the simplistic combat can get slightly boring at times, but the amount of different content mixed with tons of different characters makes it an interesting game to try out, even for non-One Piece fans. It’s just a decent game overall.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 3.