One Piece Odyssey might be the best One Piece game of all time, but it didn’t stop me from wishing its story was saved for an anime instead. The RPG smartly incorporates existing One Piece lore and builds its characters well enough to appeal to both fans and newcomers alike. However, some meaningless video game fluff makes it difficult to get fully attached to its world and characters, especially in its slow beginning.
I don’t think that I’d feel that way, though, if it didn’t include such a strong, thematically sound ending. One Piece Odyssey‘s great story stands in contrast to some of its more tedious video game elements, making me wish I could have seen it play out as an anime arc.
This piece contains spoilers for One Piece Odyssey.
Setting sail isn’t so easy
One Piece Odyssey strands the series’ Straw Hats gang on the island of Waford. Before the crew can repair its destroyed pirate ship, a mysterious girl named Lim steals their powers and disperses them throughout the island and the land of Memoria as cube fragments. The only way to collect all the cube fragments is to find them scattered throughout the different settings, defeat the island guardians, and venture into Memoria using Lim’s powers.
Memoria, a land constructed from memories, reunites the Straw Hats with old foes and friends in some of the most emotional arcs in One Piece history. That’s actually the source of one of One Piece Odyssey‘s main issues: a series of half-baked translations of preexisting stories into engaging gameplay.
In our four-star review, we note that the game suffers from a slow start but picks up the pace after its lengthy Alabasta chapter. One Piece Odyssey didn’t appeal to me as much as it did to our reviewer, but we agreed that the game was an “entertaining one thanks to the solid characters, plot, and world-building.” The backtracking problem becomes a glaring issue in Alabasta and continues as far as Water Seven. At that point, players could easily tire of running throughout the entire town and into the sewers to progress what would’ve taken half as much time to watch.
After all, anime would focus solely on story. You wouldn’t need to run back and forth for a pair of keys or pester NPCs for clues.
A great anime filler arc
Even with its pacing issues, One Piece Odyssey respectfully handles its source material. It references other characters, entities, and stories that point to the existing One Piece canon. It also builds the plot around two original characters, Lim and Adio, which separates the story from the main plot of the manga and anime. You’d think this would detract from its appeal as an anime arc, but that just means that Odyssey‘s story doesn’t conflict with the wide plot of the franchise.
Even better, Lim and Adio visibly develop as characters over the course of the game. Lim gets most of the attention because she accompanies the Straw Hats throughout their most pivotal moments in Memoria, and ultimately learns the value of friendship (more specifically, “nakama” or friends so close they might as well be family) as a result.
Meanwhile, Adio doesn’t travel with Luffy’s crew as much but is still believably integrated into the One Piece world. He has connections with One Piece villain Smoker and a clear understanding of the World Government that affected many of the Straw Hats’ adventures in the anime and manga. One Piece Odyssey‘s story also takes care to weave Waford’s lore into the Straw Hats’ memories, like tucking a book about Waford into an unsuspecting Water Seven library. It also plays into the characters’ strengths, like handing resident archaeologist Nico Robin the reigns for unraveling the mystery behind Waford’s connection to the sky people and Weatheria.
One Piece Odyssey ultimately wraps up loose ends at its conclusion before the Straw Hats leave Waford, answering questions like where Lim came from, Adio’s true intentions, and what the Straw Hats’ role was in the overall adventure. It ends with Lim and Adio adopting new perspectives, even if the latter ends up leaving the island before the epilogue because he can’t give up his dream of avenging his people.
True friendship never ends
The ending itself is what particularly resonates for me. In case it wasn’t obvious from his Yu-Gi-Oh! villain look, Adio is the antagonist of One Piece Odyssey. He manipulated Lim into stealing the Straw Hats’ powers and leading them into defeating the island’s guardians. This becomes increasingly obvious toward the later half of the game as he takes steps to awaken Waford’s god-like sentient weapon, the Divine Breath.
Adio seeks to destroy the world and recreate it with the weapon’s weather-manipulating abilities, a goal he feels strongly enough about that he’s willing to sacrifice his bond with Lim for it. He might’ve succeeded, if it weren’t for the real Lim.
That’s right: The Lim Luffy and the gang knew wasn’t actually the real Lim. She was a copy created by the Priestess of Waford, who looks exactly like her but with red eyes instead of blue.
Adio shoots Lim to prevent her from stealing his powers. However, perhaps because of her adventuring alongside Luffy through Memoria, she still cares about Adio despite his betrayal. She uses her last words to ask Luffy to bring Adio back to his senses before turning into a cube (because she’s not actually a real person). Then begins the arc where the Straw Hats have to defeat Adio and reign in the Divine Breath.
After Luffy defeats Adio, he admits that the bond he mocked was truthfully stronger than his own convictions of vengeance. Priestess Lim speaks to him on her other’s behalf, pointing out that he could’ve easily killed her but didn’t shoot, in a vital point. Luffy says something similar, suggesting that Adio couldn’t win against them because of his bond with Lim — that he couldn’t actually pull the trigger on them in the end.
One Piece Odyssey leaves that up to the player’s interpretation, but we’re led to believe this is probably the case based on framing. Adio has a flashback with Lim in his final clash with Luffy. Like the Priestess pointed out, he has the skill to kill her when he shoots Lim, yet he doesn’t. He feebly remarks, “Sometimes, I miss,” and hobbles off with the beat-up Divine Breath before Luffy and the gang revive Lim. By the time the Straw Hats leave Waford, the Priestess and Lim decide to rebuild Waford and hope for Adio’s return because he’s their “nakama.”
One Piece Odyssey isn’t canon. Producer Katsuaki Tsuzuki confirmed as much in an interview with Ungeek before the game’s launch. It didn’t directly progress anything related to the main One Piece plot or the main cast as people, even if they affected Lim and Adio. However, it ends on an emotionally satisfying note that does the characters justice. Heck, even the action-packed cutscenes look like something straight out of the anime.
I’m satisfied with the story, but with a feeling that I could have gotten more out of One Piece Odyssey had I watched it rather than trudged through its RPG parts. It would’ve saved hours of my time to experience a heartwarming and canon-worthy story without the grind. Bandai Namco crafted a fairly robust RPG that freshens many mechanics that have since grown stale in the turn-based genre, but sometimes you just want to know what happens without backtracking through the desert to get there.
- One Piece Odyssey’s streamlined RPG gameplay has me hooked
- One Piece Odyssey is a new JRPG based on the popular anime