One Piece has been around for over 15 years and is one of the most popular Animes from Japan. One Piece: Unlimited World Red is a digital only Wii U release with a high cost of admission. The combat is sometimes repetitive but the presentation is ripped right from the Anime. Let’s see how it stacks up.
I’m going to be the Pirate King!
The Straw Hat crew stumbles upon the cute and lovable raccoon named Pato. Pato directs the Straw Hats to a placed called Trans Town which is located on a small island in the New World. Shortly after docking, Luffy, captain of the Straw Hats, wakes up unconscious without his crew. He learns that Pato’s boss, Red, kidnapped his crew and Luffy sets off to find them. Eventually Luffy gathers his crew and learns that Red is seeking a Devil Fruit somewhere located on the island. Luffy learns that Red wants to be the next king of the pirates and that doesn’t jive well with him. Naturally, the Straw Hat crew must defeat Red, but Red has a surprise in store for the Straw Hat crew. He is able to create people and places from the crew’s memories and hearts turning them into their nightmares.
One Piece: Unlimited World Red’s story feels like a filler arc from the anime. Filler arcs are not canonical with the main story of One Piece and are usually throwaway. It is no different here. The story never really kept me engaged enough to keep pressing on. It is the different places and boss battles that kept me pushing threw to the end. At the end of the game there is a charming revelation that warms the heart just like the Anime. One last thing I want to point out is the translation didn’t always match the One Piece style of writing which makes it lose some of its charm and character along the way.
Gomu Gomu No Red Hawk!
One Piece: Unlimited World Red is split up into two different modes. There is the main story mode and the Coliseum mode. Story mode has you battle through 10 different stages and then a final showdown with Red. These stages bring you to a variety of different locations from the Anime, all the way from Luffy’s hometown to the great pirate war at Marineford. Before starting any stage Trans Town is your central hub. Here you will be able to configure your party, upgrade items, and expand the town with many different shops. This may sound like a good idea but after I made the pharmacy which enabled me to craft healing items I stopped caring about building other shops as I felt they were unnecessary.
All of the items needed to upgrade these things are found adventuring in the different stages. Here’s the problem with that. You’re going to have to spend your time grinding stage after stage to get the exact items you need. If you explore every inch of each stage you are going to bring back a good haul. Doing this will ease some of the grind. Adventuring through each stage you’re going to be fighting a lot of enemies.
The combat in One Piece: Unlimited World Red can be fun at times but is often repetitive. Each character has a basic attack, strong attack, and super moves. Using different button combinations will change up your attacks. Then once you fill up some meter you are able to use a super move. These super moves are devastating attacks that can easily take out single strong enemies or whole group of weaker ones. During the story mode you can select anyone of the Straw Hat Pirates to fight with. Each character plays radically different and changes the pace of combat. The more range centric characters slowed the game’s combat to a crawl while the more up close fighters made the combat fast and furious and ultimately a better experience. After the end of each stage you will fight a boss. This is where the problems with combat starts to rear its head.
Bosses act like just giant sponges and follow certain patterns. Basically, every boss fight boiled down to running away spamming the normal attack button and hitting the dodge prompt whenever available. Near the end of the game some of the bosses get downright frustrating. These adversaries start making unpredictable patterns and sometimes do super moves that seem barely escapable and if they land do well over half your life bar. However, in the Coliseum mode rules change slightly and that’s where I found the most enjoyment out of the game.
In the Coliseum you fight in different modes to raise your rank. These modes are duel, scramble battles, and battle royals. Duels are one-on-one fights to whoever’s life get down to zero. In scramble battles you fight hordes of enemies until the last one is defeated. My favorite of these modes is battle royal where you fight a horde of enemies along with characters you battle in one-on-one duels.
In the Coliseum you are able to unlock characters that aren’t available in the main story. If you ever wanted to play your favorite One Piece character most of them are in here. These extra characters are quite unique too. Crocodile fights with waves of sand and the colossal Whitebeard can take of many foes with his earthquake power. Moving farther up the rank ladder in the Coliseum unlocks special quests you can do in the main game. This Coliseum mode is easily the highlight of the game for me. It could have been better if there was an online option that offered Co-op and versus which would have added countless hours to my game clock.
Graphics & Audio
Everything about this game’s ascetics just scream One Piece. It looks like the Anime has jumped off the screen and into the game. Colors are really vibrant and the attention to detail is incredible. The animations that Luffy and crew display are great and have a lot of character. Since Luffy is made of rubber you see his limbs squash and stretch with ease.
When you are in a location from the show the surroundings are created perfectly. Bosses have their signature attacks that are flashy and fill up the whole screen. On top of all of this the original Japanese voice over is here and ties up everything nicely.
Wii U Features
Unfortunately One Piece: Unlimited World Red lack any kind of special Wii U features. Yes you do get off TV play but that’s it. There’s not a mini map on the gamepad which would have been super useful since I kept having to open up the main menu to look at the map over and over again. You are able to transfer your progress from Wii U to 3DS and vice versa. Overall the game is lacking in the Wii U department.
In the end One Piece: Unlimited World Red is a step in the right direction for the series but still has its faults. Though its gameplay can be repetitive at times there is fun to be had in the Coliseum mode and the games graphics are drop dead gorgeous. However, the price of admission is way too high for this digital only release. I would wait to set sail until the title drops in price.
+ Excellent presentation that stays close to the Anime
+ Tons of hours of game time
– Weak story mode that feels like a filler arc
– Lack of Wii U specific features
– High price of admission