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One Piece: Grand Adventure (PlayStation 2) artwork

One Piece: Grand Adventure (PlayStation 2) review


"I like One Piece. "



I like One Piece.

There, I said it. I like the flow of the anime, the characters of which every single one is lovable in his or her unique way. I love that each arc is special and deals with issues such as friendship, obligation, desire and hope as well as the darker emotions such as jealousy, greed, hate and anger. I like the voices, each suiting a character that they were assigned to in their original, Japanese setting.

You will find very little of those attributes in this game.

One Piece: Grand Adventure is a game developed by Bandai, and, like most Bandai games, it promises one thing when you first start it, and that is a lot of flair. If you are a fan of the anime, you will smile with glee when you see the character roster branching from the favorite Straw-Hat Pirates all the way to various villains that Luffy and company meet during their journey through the Grand Line – the most dangerous sea on the planet. All these characters are searching for One Piece, a treasure that would mark the crew who finds it as the most powerful band of people in the world and their captain the Pirate King.

You do this, of course, by beating the crap out of your opponents in arenas.

Every character has strengths and weaknesses, which will require strategy on your part if you want to defeat the opponent. For instance, characters like Zoro (or as he likes to be called in this version, Zolo) is a power character, and he can hack and slash through people with his swords without paying too much consideration to the surroundings and items scattered around the arena that he might use. On the other hand, Usopp is a fairly frail guy whose attacks do miniscule damage when compared to Zoro's. However, because he can utilize his strengths best by using various items, if you find an item on the stage that deals damage – a bomb or baseball bat, perhaps – you will see that Usopp deals quite a bit more damage with said items than other characters.

Also, each character has a unique support character, a sort of summon which will call one more person to aid you against your opponent in various ways. Characters like Nami who have a pretty high «support» ranking could get much use of said techniques since their summons will be much more efficient than the characters with low support rankings.

The game is divided into categories. You might want to choose a random battle against a friend or a CPU controlled opponent, fight a tournament to see who is the strongest, or perhaps fight in a story mode, which guides certain crews through islands. By playing story mode, you can unlock most of the things that you will need for full enjoyment of the game, including new characters, equipment and alternate costumes, building your custom characters to your liking.

You do this in a RPG sort of way, since depending on which characters you use for battles in story mode, you will gain experience, and as a result, levels with said character. Every time you level up in the best RPG fashion, you can add a point towards one of every character’s starting attributes. You could continue on the way that the game imagined it, continuing to build Chopper's defense as a tank or a Sanji's attack. However, you could also go a different route.

Perhaps you want Usopp to be the real manly-man of the sea whom depends on his strength alone. No problem! Add points to strength, special attack and defense, and there you have it: Usopp can manhandle Zoro anytime!

All of this might sound pretty interesting, and, for a limited amount of time, it really is. However, like most Bandai titles, the interest wanes very quickly.

First of all, the game which was released in the west only leads to an arc where the anime stopped airing in the United states, meaning that quite a few characters from the original Japanese version were cut out along with a story arc because it could «ruin» the moments for people who don't know what happens next, which basically means we got shafted for a story arc as well as for characters.

Secondly, the storyline is pretty faithful to the anime/manga, but it conveys absolutely none of the substance of the said title, making it, frankly, a chore to finish because there is little to no explanation why you go into the fights you go into, and if you were to pick up a game as someone that didn't watch the anime, you would toss it in the garbage bin immediately because it just doesn't make sense unless you knew in advance what happens and why.

Worthy of mention are the character voices. Not for their praiseworthiness, but rather for their trashiness. Awful character accents make every character some sort of a stereotype judging from the way they look. (Let's take Nico Robin, one of the smartest people in the OP world, a renowned archeologist who happens to wear a hat. Because of said hat, the producers concluded that she must sound like a Texan cowgirl. Brilliant!). While in general I approve of Japanese voice actors, that doesn't mean there are any good Western ones. In this game, that is exactly the case. They are awful. Plain and simple.

However, the greatest flaw of the game is, that no matter how much of a fan you are, the game will start to bore you fairly quickly. Story mode will seem like a chore, even though it is a nice touch that you can choose other pirate crews aside the Straw-Hats. Still, that is not enough to save you from the drudgery of the same monotonic fights only broken by special conditions from time to time (only using normal attacks, the need to survive for a set amount of time, the need to kill a person with a support and so on). The fact is that when you get good enough, it won't matter what points you put where for your character since you will be able to defeat everyone with even the weakest character in physical confrontation by just pressing and mashing buttons together.

All in all, this is not a bad game but it is not great either. You can have fun with friends where strategy will actually matter, but in a solo game you will get bored of it fairly quickly. For fans of the show, give it one more point; for a casual gamer, subtract a point (or even two).

Rating: 6/10

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (February 29, 2008)

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