The Straw Hat Pirates are back for another adventure.
One Piece Unlimited World Red on Nintendo 3DS sets sail on another adventure with Luffy and swashbuckling crew as they journey with a cute Raccoon named Pato to the Forgotten Island. However, members of the crew are systematically kidnapped and it comes down to Luffy and his new friend Pato to rescue the crew members and get to the root of what exactly is going on. A regular day in the life of a pirate.
The game is divided into two playable modes, following the main storyline or entering Battle Coliseum.
In Story mode, you take the role of Luffy, who strolls around Trans Town, engaging in conversations with the local residents, advancing through the story and using his Gum Gum Rocket powers to launch himself around the environment with his long elasticated arms, reaching various hard to reach places which may contain goodies, or getting to his destination in a speedy time.
Within Trans Town, the local inhabitants will request assistance from you and you’ll also be able to expand Trans Town with the spoils you’ve gathered in battle, constructing a variety of stores and houses. For instance, building the factory enables you to manufacture materials and power up your net or fishing rod, so this comes in quite handy. Inside the tavern, the game offers you the opportunity to take on additional quests in solo play or in multiplayer mode. These quests are anything from catching Tempest Rats in your net in a limited time period, or defeating a dragon. This gives you the chance to earn yourself extra cash and loot for your journey.
Exploring the various lands, from the deserts of Alabasta to the mechanical area of Punk Hazard, a large amount of the time will be spent dealing with swarms of bad guys or defeating end of level bosses. Once you’ve defeated the various enemies, you can grab their loot and treasures. Extra goodies can be found by exploring bushes, or smashing through boxes and crates along the way.
Luffy is a good solid fighter with a number of mixed attacks, from using X and Y to jump and defeat enemies with his long bendy arms, to performing a series of combo strikes. Dodging and counter attacks also play an important role in the combat. Characters can utilize special attacks if at least one bar of their SP gauge filled, holding the right shoulder button and Y enables you to perform a specific attack, and as you progress through your adventure, you’ll learn even more powerful attacks that use up the entire SP gauge at once.
The game also enables you to use special moves known as Strong Voices at various times in your adventure, if you want to cheer on friends or require assistance in a battle. This comes in particularly handy, if you’re trying to defeat an end of level boss and are low on health. Using this simple button combination enables Chopper to come and heal you. These actions cannot be used repeatedly, so judging when is best to use them is essential. Inputting various button combinations also allows you to launch a Break Rush. During Break Rush, you’ll deal more damage to foes for a short amount of time and knock them completely out.
Throughout your adventure, you’ll also be able to use special words that can make the Straw Hat pirates stronger. These are called Strong Words. There are three types of strong words; skill, custom and item. Skill words grant new abilities. Custom words are equipped on characters to boost and power up their abilities and finally Item words can be placed in the item palette to be used at any given time. You’ll earn more of all three types of strong words as the story progresses. It does sound a little confusing initially, but they are pretty easy to get the hang of.
During your journey, you’ll come across areas in the game that you can’t access, which are closed by Lost Words. This basically means you can’t access this area, until you’ve beaten up some bad guys and a treasure chest rewards you with a keyword, which thus opens the blocked area.
Exploring the different lands, and using each characters special ability or attack feels very rewarding, and battles are simple to follow. The game guides you through the story without taking over too much, and the simple explanations of the various attacks are easy to understand and follow. There is a nice variety of things to do beyond following the story, such as expanding the town, collecting insects or fish, and taking on side quests, which is nice if you want to take a break.
In Battle Coliseum, you’ll be greeted by King Donquixote Doflamingo, who will offer fame and good fortune, if you can beat him. You’re then given the option to participate in the entry test, where you will have to defeat a set number of enemies in a set time. If successful, you’re be graded and go onto the next level. Battle Coliseum includes one-on-one duels and defeating enemy hordes, throughout which the player will rank up. Characters that win a battle for the first time will receive a first clear bonus and you’ll be tested in a series of different battles and scrambles, reaching higher levels and unlocking new characters.
Visually speaking, One Piece Unlimited World Red is an exceptionally crisp and polished game, lavished with amazing cutscenes that make the game hard to put down. I was transfixed to some of the cutscenes as they really do look quite incredible.
To be honest, I have never really been a fan of the One Piece games, but One Piece Unlimited World Red has certainly changed that. Things can get a bit repetitive, but the enjoyable storyline, the quick to pick up mechanics and the huge cast of colourful and interesting characters provide an entertaining experience. Through my fun-filled journey in One Piece Unlimited World Red, I have got to know and love the Straw Hat crew along the way.