Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (Wii) artwork

One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (Wii) review


"As you wander throughout the island, you'll come across all sorts of 'ingredients' that can be taken back to camp and turned into useful items. For example, you might hack down some scraggly trees to acquire lumber, or slash at low-hanging vines to obtain a vine rope. That's neat, except that you must backtrack to camp to do anything with your goodies except convert them to magical energy. This requirement gets old quickly, especially if in the process you forget where you were on your to-do list."



Perhaps you're familiar with Luffy, but I wasn't when I started playing One Piece: Unlimited Adventure. If you had told me that he's a noble, selfless hero who always puts his needs after those of others, I'd have believed you. Of course, you'd have been lying.

The Luffy that appears at the start of One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, the latest in a string of games based upon the Shonen Jump comic and cartoon, isn't like that at all. You could even say he's an energetic troublemaker. Adventure and treasure are all he seeks, and those are the two things he finds quite readily when he fishes a mysterious pearl out of the ocean. Before long, his crew and ship are sent flying. When Luffy finally lands--with no ship in sight--he's alone on an island that has emerged from the watery depths. He must find his companions and embark with them on an adventure to discover the secret that even now keeps the paradise around them afloat.

As you progress through the game, there will be plenty of moments to become acquainted with the various folks from the show, even if you start out knowing as little about them as I did. That's because rather than simply serving as a fighting title the way some of its predecessors did, Unlimited Adventure makes a genuine attempt to weave together a tale of real mystery and adventure. Characters bicker, tease and fight through scenes quite effectively acted out by character models (and by voice actors that I can only presume worked on the English dub for the television series). For fans of the cartoon, just the fact that so many characters are so lovingly rendered--you can gather more than 40 and even pit them against one another in a multi-player versus mode--will be enough to make the game a must-buy. What about the rest of us, though? What is there to like beyond the opportunity to hang around once more with familiar characters?

Not much, as it turns out. That's not to say that One Piece: Unlimited Adventure isn't ambitious, just that sometimes its attempts to provide an in-depth experience fall short.

A ready example of this is the crafting system. As you wander throughout the island, you'll come across all sorts of 'ingredients' that can be taken back to camp and turned into useful items. For example, you might hack down some scraggly trees to acquire lumber, or slash at low-hanging vines to obtain a vine rope. That's neat, except that you must backtrack to camp to do anything with your goodies except convert them to magical energy. This requirement gets old quickly, especially if in the process you forget where you were on your to-do list. It's frustrating to find yourself stuck simply because you lack an item and have no idea where to find its ingredients.

That situation actually comes up rather frequently, since much of your progression comes down to satisfying magical barriers. To cause a series of leafy platforms to rise from a bottomless pit so that you can cross over to the other side, you might have to gather a set number of leafs. To produce the item necessary to pass another point, you might have to capture a bee that buzzes away from a flower as you approach (which itself requires that you gather the items to create a net). The whole system, which perhaps could've been a selling point, is relied upon far too much.

Not all of the game revolves around gathering and crafting items, though. Unlimited Adventure is equal parts busy work, exploration and combat. The last of those three points is naturally what most players will like, since suddenly they'll have an excuse to learn and master special moves for each of their favorite characters.

The way the game works is that you'll early on build up a team of eight beloved characters. Once they are in your party, you can then switch between them any time you like, just as long as they remain conscious. So if one guy bites the dust because you got careless in a boss encounter, you can simply switch to a different warrior. Since each possesses his or her own specialties (which in turn must be unlocked through repeated use of that individual warrior), some of that will happen even if you're slicing and dicing your foes without taking any damage at all. The last thing you want is to reach a boss who knocks Luffy around like a puppet, only to find when you call on Zoro for support that he hasn't mastered any but his most basic of offensive maneuvers.

Though boss struggles and even the numerous 'regular' encounters that pepper the island landscape can get hectic at times, the Wii Remote and Nunchuck for the most part handle the action pretty well. The camera generally takes care of itself, plus you can 'Z' target to focus your attention on particularly troublesome adversaries or to align yourself behind a character's shoulders. Crazy Wii Remote swings aren't required unless you're using items that call for it, so mostly this feels like a game that could have been handled by any console you care to name. Few people are likely to complain about how standard everything feels here, though, you can be sure.

They aren't likely to have any issues with the visuals and sound, either, which bring the island vividly to life. Shafts of sunlight filter down through leafy jungle canopies, roaring waterfalls live up to their name, and there are the sounds of insects and birds throughout. Selections from the soundtrack also work well, conjuring up that perfect balance between 'mysterious' and 'peppy island themes' that defies exact description but sounds right when you hear it pumping from your television speakers. The development team spent a lot of time turning Unlimited Adventure into a game it could be proud of.

The result of that effort is that One Piece: Unlimited Adventure feels like, if you'll pardon the old cliché, a love letter to “One Piece” fans everywhere. Unfortunately for the rest of us, too many of the noble experiments the developers made simply didn't work. While there's an occasionally deep game here, working through it is likely to prove tedious to any but those who hang on the possibility that their efforts will result in more story sequences involving their favorite characters. If that's you, the title is certainly worth a shot. Otherwise, you're better off holding out for something tailored to gameplay first and the license second, rather than the other way around.

Rating: 6/10

honestgamer's avatar
Staff review by Jason Venter (March 14, 2008)

Jason Venter founded HonestGamers in 1998, and since then has written hundreds of reviews as the site's editor-in-chief. He also is a prolific freelancer with game reviews, articles and fiction available around the Internet.

More Reviews by Jason Venter
Super Toy Cars (Wii U) artwork
Super Toy Cars (Wii U)

The mini-car racer is still a fun concept, but Super Toy Cars is neither refined enough nor interesting enough to justify your time and money.
Shovel Knight (Wii U) artwork
Shovel Knight (Wii U)

An attempt to revive old school sensibilities that works much better than similar efforts often do.
ReignMaker (PC) artwork
ReignMaker (PC)

It's a real shame the quality of the hybrid gameplay doesn't match the genius of the game's clever title.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this One Piece: Unlimited Adventure review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
randxian posted April 26, 2009:

Perhaps you're familiar with Luffy, but I wasn't when I started playing One Piece: Unlimited Adventure. If you had told me that he's a noble, selfless hero who always puts his needs after those of others, I'd have believed you. Of course, you'd have been lying.

Is Luffy your stereotypical super-hero type? Well, not really. However, there are times when he can be rather noble. And he does ultimately do the right thing eventually in almost every situation. He won't think twice about fighting to save his friends or for what he feels is right. There are times when he even fights to help out people he just met.

I just happened to see this review in the "Looking for a good read?" section, so of course I decided to click on it. You should really read the manga to become more acclimated with the story and characters. You'll see it really is a good story with some classic scenes. Luffy is a likable fellow after all. Just give him a chance.

But you're probably ultimately right; this game probably is just a fan service game. I don't own a Wii yet, but I purchases this game so I could play it as soon as I get a hold of one. I'll be sure to submit a review of my own when that day comes. :D

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. One Piece: Unlimited Adventure is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to One Piece: Unlimited Adventure, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.