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One Piece Unlimited World Red

Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, WiiU
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: Sept. 29, 2017

About David Silbert

I'm a recent college graduate from Boston, MA. When I'm not writing for WorthPlaying, I'm probably researching Celtics trade rumors or struggling to keep up with the growing library on my Nintendo Switch.


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Switch Review - 'One Piece Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition'

by David Silbert on Nov. 13, 2017 @ 2:45 a.m. PST

One Piece Unlimited World Red is an action-adventure RPG where players live the complete Pirate adventure thanks to fun-filled escapades, action-packed battles and powerful allies in a whole new never-before-seen scenario.

Buy One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition

One Piece is one of the most celebrated and successful manga franchises of all time. Eiichiro Oda's work has spawned an 810-episode (and running) anime, lucrative marketing and merchandising deals, stage plays, and even a soon-to-be Hollywood live-action series.

For all of its success, however, One Piece has never had a truly great video game adaptation. While there have been countless One Piece games over the years (Burning Blood, Grand Battle and Pirate Warriors, to name a few), most have failed to capture the magic and imagination of Oda's sprawling and epic series.

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition is the most recent entry in the One Piece Unlimited series. An enhanced version of 2014's One Piece: Unlimited World Red, the Deluxe Edition boasts the addition of 50+ DLC costumes and quests as well as a new split-screen co-op mode. It also marks the first One Piece game to make its way to the Nintendo Switch.

With its pleasant visuals, beautiful soundtrack, and wide range of playable characters, Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition makes for an attractive and exciting addition to the One Piece canon of games. However, weak storytelling, shallow combat, and repetitive mission structure prevent it from reaching the same lofty heights as its established source material.

Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition begins just as any typical One Piece story arc would: Luffy and his band of pirates are sailing the open seas of the Grand Line when they spot a mysterious island and investigate in pursuit of adventure. Of course, upon arriving, the Straw Hats find themselves embroiled in a complex plot and at arms against a dangerous new adversary.

On the surface, Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition offers an enticing story. It focuses on a powerful pirate named "Red Count" Redfield, who sailed the Grand Line during the old era of pirates, along with One Piece staples Edward "Whitebeard" Newgate and Gol D. Roger. When Red suddenly reappears years later, he begins to antagonize the Straw Hats, his motives unknown to them. The introduction of this mysterious and powerful pirate provides an interesting "what if" scenario for those familiar with the One Piece canon, and it creates a memorable character in the process.

Unfortunately, the story of Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition soon wears out its welcome. After the majority of the Straw Hats gets mysteriously abducted, Luffy and his remaining crew make their way through a variety of locales from the One Piece manga, from Punk Hazard to Skypiea, in an effort to save their friends and defeat Redfield.

Rather than opting to create new scenarios for players to experience, Unlimited World Red Deluxe Editionrehashes the same beats from its One Piece source material. Expect Luffy to visit familiar lands like Alabasta and Fishman Island, fight old adversaries like Eneru and Rob Lucci, and rekindle old friendships with pirates like Boa Hancock and Trafalgar Law. While this marathon of best-hit One Piece moments might satiate die-hard fans, it left me wishing that the game writers and designers at Ganbarion had taken more risks with the One Piece license. For a story that features such a new and inventive antagonist, the rest of Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition's narrative falls flat.

The issue of retreading old material persists when it comes to thecore gameplay. As an action-adventure role-playing game, Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition has the Straw Hats navigate a small, portside hub-town called Transtown. From there, Luffy and his comrades take on increasingly difficult missions, leading them across the world of One Piece in search of their kidnapped friends and the mysterious Redfield.

Each mission takes place in one of several levels and follows the same basic gameplay loop. As Luffy or another one of his pirates, players run through large zones, fighting their way through waves of enemies while trying to accomplish the mission goal. Initial, main-quest missions typically require players to reach a certain place on the map, at which point they are greeted with a cut scene and level-ending boss fight. Other side-quest missions may impose different objectives, such as fighting increased mobs of enemies or playing as pre-determined characters.

Rewards for these missions vary from accessing new story missions to unlocking new items and ability buffs. However, the missions never vary enough to justify replaying levels, which often feel vast and empty. There's not much else to do in each of these zones, aside from fighting enemy minions and engaging in either of thefun but simple minigames: fishing and bug catching. Add to this the slow running speed of Luffy or the equivalent controllable character, and the act of replaying levels to grind for items and gear becomes tedious early on and remains repetitive throughout the game.

Of course, the main pull of Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition is its combat, of which there is plenty to be experienced throughout its 10- to 15-hour campaign. Combat consists of mixing up two different attack buttons to initiate various combos. These combos differ depending upon whether you are on the ground or in the air, further adding to a character's move set. Add to this a dodge button, item usage, and the ability to activate additional super moves after a separate "SP" gauge has charged up, and Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition boasts a battle system that offers some fun and entertaining skirmishes.

However, as with its story, the gameplay quickly loses its luster as you spend more time with it. Button combinations, while present, lack the depth of other, more capable 3-D arena brawlers like Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm and Pokken Tournament. As a result, I often found myself mashing the same combos over and over, ad nauseam, with little thought given to dodging, positioning, or move variance. This issue is exacerbated by the easy difficulty, which allowed me to spam the attacks with little to no consequence.

If there's one thing that helps elevate thecombat, however, it's the fact that the game has an incredible amount of playable characters at its disposal. The roster of 20 is comprised of the nine Straw Hat pirates, along with fan favorites such as Portgas D. Ace, Shanks, and Trafalgar Law. Each character feels true to the manga; Luffy, for example, specializes in close-quarters, hand-to-hand combat, whereas Usopp fights from a distance with his trusty slingshot. Players can also mix and match combinations of up to three party members when tackling the many missions. Doing so allows you to switch from character to character with a press of a button, mitigating the fatigue that might set in when repeating the same combos as a particular character.

Also helping to reduce fatigue the coliseum mode, which eliminates the tedious zone-running from the main game in favor of pure, endless rounds of One Piece combat. Taking place in the coliseum on Dressrosa, this secondary mode provides a welcome respite from the main game, as players try to increase their rank by completing increasingly difficult waves of enemies. The main game's combat frustrations are present here, but they're certainly more tolerable.

Tying all of this together is thegorgeous presentation. With a colorful, cel-shaded art style, the game mimics its source manga and anime with great results. It might not have as fluid animation or lip syncing as one of CyberConnect2's Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm games, but Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition provides an impressive look into the three-dimensional world of One Piece.

Its sound design is equally strong. While the game is voiced entirely in Japanese, with no option for English dubbing, the Japanese voice cast of the anime reprise their roles for the game, ensuring that Luffy, Sanji, Zoro, and company sound consistent with their on-air counterparts. While the game doesn't have the rights to use tracks from the anime's soundtrack, the original music provided in its stead is equally impressive, using the same bright and cheerful mix of brass and winds that makes the anime score so captivating.

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition provides an entertaining but flawed take on the One Piece franchise. Its story and gameplay show signs of promise, but repetitive and recycled missions, levels, and enemies drag down the game, especially during its later hours. Those looking for quick, mindless One Piece action should enjoy Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition. However, those looking for a more complex and original game should keep waiting; the One Piece game of our dreams hasn't arrived just yet.

Score: 6.7/10

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