When One Piece: World Seeker was announced in 2017, it seemed perfect. An open world based on Eiichiro Oda’s world renowned manga series seemed like a good fit. The world of One Piece is vast and varied, and exploring the world in full 3D would have been a dream come true.
On the Tokyo Game Show 2018 showfloor, the the Bandai Namco booth featured One Piece: World Seeker ready with a demo available for everyone to try out. The demo puts you in the role of Luffy as he traverses a hill on Jail Island with squads of Marines guarding at every turn. The full game might feature other members of the Straw Hat Pirates as playable characters, but for now we only have the captain himself.
The game takes a lot of cues from various other open-world titles; chief among them is that enemies have an alert bar displayed on their heads, changing their attacks and positions as they start noticing you more and more. This gives the game to have a sort of stealth element to it ala the Batman Arkham games which is a fine idea on paper. The problem is that Luffy’s gameplay wasn’t tailored to do stealthy things. Sure, you can sneak around, but you won’t have much options in dispatching your enemies stealthily, which lead to plenty of fights occuring because you have no other option than to start an all-out brawl. There’s even a Haki Observation button, which is utterly similar to the Detective Vision from the Arkham games, making you see enemies through the terrain and what not.
Another gripe is the movement options; mainly the Gum Gum Rocket move, which lets Luffy latch onto things and launch himself forwards. In a perfect world, it would be similar to Spider-Man’s web slinging but instead, it’s a much worse version of Hookshot from Zelda. You can only launch yourself on and off certain objects, which limits things as much as it opens up possibilities. While sneaking around you can either launch yourself towards the enemy or pull them towards you, though the game doesn’t do much to tell you to do which.
Besides all that, the combat is just bland. The Triangle button is useless in fights as it is the Interact button, which leaves only Square for attacks, X to jump, and O to dodge. This limits the combat a whole lot. With a Heavy Attack on the Triangle button, more variety could have been implemented here. Fighting gets repetitive quickly, and most enemies use guns which doesn’t really play well against Luffy’s close quarters fighting style. If anything, it becomes a nuisance as the enemy bullets just knocks you back and stops whatever you’re doing, which really hinders the flow of the game.
Overall, if you’re hoping for One Piece: World Seeker to be the anime equivalent to the recently released PS4 Spider-Man game, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. The game doesn’t really hold up against the typical Western open-world affair, but if you’re a fan, then maybe you’ll get a kick out of it. One Piece: World Seeker arrives sometime in 2019 for PC, Xbox One and PS4.