One Piece: World Seeker is the latest video game to enter the Grand Line. Over the years, a slew of console titles have joined the One Piece franchise as Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat crew have grown in popularity. With the franchise bigger than ever before, publisher Bandai Namco and developer Ganbarion decided it was time to take the pirates on a brand-new adventure, and it is a fun-filled one which falls short of being a breakout hit.
The story behind One Piece: World Seeker is plenty simple for anime fans to follow. We pick up with the Straw Hats as they try to find a fabled treasure on Prison Island. As it turns out, the rumored treasure is nothing but a trick to lure the infamous crew to the Marines, and Luffy is nearly imprisoned before the gang escapes.
Separated on the island, the game allows players to step into Luffy’s sandals as he tries to reunite with his team. The captain meets a girl named Jeanne along the way as she tries to fulfill her position as the island’s leader. However, with pro- and anti-military factions rising up, Prison Island begins resembling a war zone holding a rather dangerous secret.
In terms of story, One Piece: World Seeker will fulfill fans. It might not live up to canon arcs from the manga, but creator Eiichiro Oda did have a hand in its direction. As such, this game feels in line with One Piece’s better filler arcs, and its original characters help the narrative along in stride. The rest of the Straw Hat crew factors in to the story as well, but my only complaint there is a rather fundamental one. All of Luffy’s shipmates feel like side characters who could have been better used, and fans will wish they could play as Roronoa Zoro as the game progresses.
However, the game really suffers when it comes to combat and gameplay. One Piece: World Seeker is unique within the franchise's series of games for its open-world setting and original story. The latter end holds up, but the former lacks in all its mechanics. Combat gets very repetitive within an hour of playing as its stealth options are limited along with its melee moves. There are two types of Haki offensives players can fight with, and the game ultimately feels like a monotonous button-masher.
The game’s static gameplay is a letdown for die-hard gamers, but its ambitions bode well for the franchise’s future games. The open-world setting is fun to explore even if it feels hollow at times. In some ways, One Piece: World Seeker feels like a version of Marvel’s Spider-Man that never got fleshed out, but fans familiar with the anime’s games will pick up on the progress made nonetheless.
For fans of One Piece, this game allows them to slip into the role of the Straw Hat crew’s captain, and that's all many will want. Its underwhelming mechanics can be forgiven by story enthusiasts who want little more than to play an episode of the anime. One Piece: World Seeker might present a shallow interpretation of New World, but it heralds much-needed creativity into the growing franchise. So, if you are a longtime fan of One Piece looking to set sail under Luffy’s jolly roger, then this game will satisfy your seafaring desires.
Rating: 3 out of 5
One Piece: World Seeker is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. If you have any questions about the game, let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!