Review – One Piece: World Seeker

At first glance, One Piece: World Seeker looks like a winner. An open world title with great graphics, a brand new storyline, and featuring the entire cast from the anime. After an abysmal VR title released last year, World Seeker had everything to become the piece of vindication One Piece fans deserved, but I’m disappointed to inform you that this game doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

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You can’t deny this is a gorgeous game despite how shallow it is.

First impressions are great: the intro and opening cutscenes are wonderful, the story gets captivating pretty quickly, the entire cast delivers a fantastic performance, and the graphics look breathtaking. I really can’t stress enough how beautiful World Seeker is, with excellent animations, usage of color, and lighting effects. Sadly, I’ll have to resort to the gaming journalism clichĂ© of saying that “it makes you feel like you’re playing the anime”. It just looks that good and it manages to maintain a stable framerate even on the Xbox One S’s less powerful hardware. Sadly, this is where my overwhelming praise ends, as World Seeker does very little to impress otherwise.

Simply put, One Piece: World Seeker is the most generic open world game I’ve played in a while. It features tons of gameplay elements from the big AAA boys, but none of them are polished enough to make the end product more appealing.

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King of Red Lions on steroids.

For starters, your protagonist, Luffy, being someone with a rubbery stretchy body, can use his arms as grappling hooks to climb buildings and move around faster through the map. Yes, it does remind me a lot of the Arkham games and last year’s Spider-Man, but while the webhead’s game featured a fast-paced and extremely fluid grappling and swinging system, World Seeker features a slow and clunky grappling arm that doesn’t allow you to cancel your move midway through the animation, nor does it allow for you to aim at a next building or ledge while you’re in the air. The camera movement is also clunky and completely unreliable; either the controls are too stiff or too sensitive, making the sole act of moving the camera around a pain.

Being your average open world game, World Seeker also features what I like to call “deus ex machina vision” for no reason. Just press a button and voilĂ , everything you need to know: from items, to enemy locations, to the exact spot where someone is located inside a house, will show up onscreen. Unlike games like Witcher 3 or Horizon, it doesn’t seem natural, as there are no survival mechanics in here. It often feels like this gameplay element was added to the game for the sole reason that everyone else was doing it as well. Of course, you can craft items as well since that’s another open world game staple.

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Care for some grappling?

I also need to talk about the combat. Oh boy, Arkham this is not. It tries to copy Arkham‘s style, it tries to add in a few stealth mechanics (very poorly, might I add), it even zooms the camera out just like your typical Arkham game, but it fails miserably at doing so. There are very few combos, the input lag is noticeable, the AI is braindead, and even the boss battles are underwhelming at best.

The only other saving grace in World Seeker should have been its story, an original piece tailor made for fans of the show. Sadly, while there is a nice premise in here, the execution isn’t as impactful. Most main missions can be summarized as meeting the members of your crew and then punching a few enemies, while the sidequests can be described as either fetch quests or punching a few more enemies, or both. You need to be a die-hard fan to even pay attention to what’s actually going on.

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Of course, the game features “deus ex machina vision”.

One Piece: World Seeker is the typical case of the anime game that is all style, but little substance. It is one of the prettiest anime games I have ever seen, basically bringing the series’ world to life. However, besides this and its original storyline, there’s not a lot to convince anyone besides the most loyal of fans to stick with it to the end. It’s a generic open world game that doesn’t bring anything new to the table. You’ve played games like this a thousand times before and most certainly in more polished states.

 

Graphics: 9.0

One Piece: World Seeker is one of the most beautiful anime games I have ever seen. Its graphics are colorful, the animations are crisp, and the lighting effects are excellent. Nobody looks like a polygon, they all look like they came straight from the anime.

Gameplay: 5.0

A very generic and unresponsive open world control scheme, mixing elements from the Arkham games, as well as Spider-Man, but without the fluidity. The camera work is also flawed at best.

Sound: 5.5

Despite featuring the original show’s cast, there isn’t a lot of voice acting in here. You’ll mostly hear voice grunts and an underwhelming soundtrack.

Fun Factor: 6.0

World Seeker might captivate die-hard fans of the franchise with its original story and fantastic graphics, but in the end it is just a very forgettable open world action game with very little substance.

Final Verdict: 6.5

One Piece: World Seeker is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of One Piece: World Seeker was provided by the publisher.

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