Being King of the Pirates isn't as easy as you'd think. . .
Recently I acquired a copy of One Piece: Grand Battle. Iâ€™d heard a little about it when it was originally released and was instantly enticed by the gameâ€™s cel shading and aesthetic style presented on the box alone. When I booted up the game on the olâ€™ Wii, I can say that I wasnâ€™t entirely disappointed.
Despite the odd opening (the rap from the first English dub) and sometimes strange voice acting, the game is a treat to play. With its distinct visual style, Grand Battle can draw in people who arenâ€™t familiar with the series, while tantalizing those who are. With most of the characters from the beginning of the series as playable or support characters, there are enough choices and combinations to keep most battles from becoming stale. Unfortunately, to keep the game going, you need to learn how to use a character to their full potential. Arlong's "Shark and Awe" attack vs. Nami's big ol' staff.
To master any character or their moveset, you must go to the â€śTrainingâ€ť section of the game. Although itâ€™s possible for a player to beat the game with nothing but button mashing, the game does reward those who know special moves. After completing a training session with a character, players should be able to do exactly what they want when fighting through each characterâ€™s â€śstoryâ€ť. All of the moves are easy enough to pull off, along with each characterâ€™s finishing moves. The response time is quick and very few times have I ever gone â€śWhat?! But I pressed that button!â€ť Overall though, the game does exactly what itâ€™s told. It looks cool, too.
This can be extremely rewarding to those who are fans of the series. Each characterâ€™s signature moves are available for the playerâ€™s pummeling pleasure. In addition, before each fight, the two characters have an exchange, usually giving the reasons for the fight. Some are taken directly from the show while others are imagined for the game (like Kuro vs. Arlong). With five different difficulties, completely beating the solo Adventure mode is a challenge in itself. Along with a plethora of unlockables, including new characters, this is a game that keeps on giving. Like how a clown gives knives to a swordsman with three swords.
Overall, One Piece: Grand Battle a sound fighting game even for people who have never seen the show, but for those who have, the game is a real treat, both visually and gameplay-wise. Give it a try next time you see a used copy.