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One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition (Switch) Review

by Donald Theriault - October 9, 2017, 4:45 pm PDT
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They didn't send this game out to die because if they did, 4Kids would just censor it.

One Piece has been around in manga form for over two decades and in anime form since the year 2000, so there's a lot of history to work through for those who want to see the entire chase for the titular One Piece. This isn't even the first go-around for Unlimited World Red on Nintendo systems, as Bandai Namco have released the game on both Wii U and 3DS with optional DLC. The Switch edition is probably the best way to experience Unlimited World Red, but it's best taken with a healthy appreciation for the franchise going in.

Unlimited World Red features two parts to its game. The main part is an action RPG in which three members of the Straw Hat pirate team battle through multiple themed areas, tapping out action combos to build experience and obtain items. The other part is a simulation part set in an original location (“Trans Town”) in which the items obtained in the story and optional missions can be used to create and expand areas that are used to buy gear and healing items. Some of the items required for building key locations are stuck behind random drops in the action areas, most irritatingly the items used to build and expand the village pharmacy. It feels designed to stretch out the time spent playing the game, sort of like a filler issue of the manga.

The action sequences are fun, especially as the party fills out with more members of the crew after each level. Although the commands are similar (jump with B, attack with X and Y, A dodges/counters depending on the situation), the Straw Hats each have their own fighting style. Early on a list of combos will pop on the right side with a damage and speed boost if all of them are entered which adds some spice to the battles. I had a couple of instances of the camera getting stuck while navigating in tight city areas, but in wider spaces the camera worked fine. There's also some fun to be had with using Luffy's rubber-limb powers to zip across the cityscapes, though it'll happen more often in town. Occasionally missions will come up that require fishing or catching creatures, which are tied to rhythm based minigames that felt out of place.

Developers Ganbarion have done a good job at making the game feel like an episode of the anime. The art is similar, and has never looked as good as it does on a Nintendo system previously. As with most episodes of the anime post-2003 or so, there's no English dub, but the voice acting for the heroes and previous villains of the series is up to the show's standard. (And there is an excuse for the boss reunion in the storyline.) Finishing a story mission even causes the anime's trademark “TO BE CONTINUED” screen to pop up. The main story is about the length of a standard season – 15-20 hours – though there are a lot of things to keep playing for, including the previous DLC content.

The Switch does One Piece: Unlimited World Red a lot of favours, as it allows for the full graphical fidelity and for portability. There'ssome extra value with having it portable as well as being able to break into co-op anywhere. But for whatever reason, One Piece just doesn't click with me in general, the games included. It's mildly recommendable for action on the Switch, but if you have an appreciation for pirate politics and Devil Fruit this is right up your alley.

Summary

Pros
  • Character art lives up to the source material
  • Combat simple to grasp
  • Fun to zip across town
Cons
  • Can't restock without grinding older levels
  • Occasional camera troubles
  • Some annoying minigames

A code was provided by Bandai Namco.

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Game Profile

Genre Action
Developer Ganbarion

Worldwide Releases

na: ONE PIECE: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition
Release Sep 29, 2017
PublisherBandai Namco Studios
RatingTeen
jpn: One Piece: Unlimited World R Deluxe Edition
Release Aug 24, 2017
PublisherBandai Namco Studios
Rating12+
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