One Piece: World Seeker Review

One Piece: World Gofer would have been a more befitting title to put this to adventure. I wont lie, I’ve never shown any interest in the game’s source material, but then again, I fell off the anime-wagon many years ago and have rarely looked back. Now, whilst I cant confidently talk about the material that this game is based on, I can certainly talk confidently about the game itself, and with that said, it’s rubbish. Seriously, this is a classic case of beauty that’s merely skin deep, and even then, I feel like I’m being somewhat generous on that front.

Starting with the story, there’s not much to write home about. Captain Monkey D. Luffy and his crew find themselves in a spot of bother following a failed heist on Prison Island. Trapped on the island with a ship in need of repair, Luffy and his group find themselves at the center of a war between the island’s navy, and an anti-navy militia. The latter of which is where Luffy focuses his efforts, aiding Jeanne, the group’s leader, along the way. The aim in all of this? To restore peace, of course. It’s your bland and boring run-of-the-mill political affair.

I cant say that I found myself caring for the game’s characters at all. In fact, save Luffy and a select few, I thought them to be rather dull. Nevertheless, that’s the story setup. The crux of play sees you traversing the open-world of Prison Island, completing quests and side activities to make progress. I want to start by talking about the game’s beautiful world, because really, that’s the only thing that I can truly speak positively about. Prison Island, formerly known as Jewel Island, is a lush, vibrant, and diverse location to work with.

I was pleasantly surprised at the level of detail on show. The world is diverse from top to bottom, offering a nice variation of interesting locations to journey through as you pursue the endgame. Textures are sharp and crisp, environments are well developed, and the overall quality is unlike any other anime game I’ve played of this kind. This is all upheld by the aforementioned diversity. Each area feels fresh, ensuring that visual distinction is dominant throughout. It’s a shame, then, that such a gorgeous world is padded with little more than generic filler.

It doesn’t help matters that the game’s mission structure is senseless and, at times, outright confusing. Throughout your adventure, you’re given a collection of main missions and side missions. Though, what’s baffling is that the two seem to intersect. Several times throughout play you’ll be given a main mission that asks you to fulfill a number of tasks. However, all of these tasks sit within the side missions panel, making for a fairly confusing trek starting out. It’s a small gripe, indeed, but one that had me running around like a headless chicken nonetheless.

What’s especially irritating is that most of these missions tend to consist of the same format; go to this location and watch this cutscene, travel to this town and beat this character, gather these items for this NPC, or worse, haul ass to the opposite side of the map and back again for, well, the sake of it. That’s about as deep as the game’s tiring assignments get. There’s a fast travel system in place, in which you can move from town to town at the flick of a button, but even this gets snatched from you later on in the game for no good reason whatsoever.

When that happens, your tasks only become all the more tedious. In fact, one mission even has you exploring the whole world on foot as you seek out nine spaced out objectives. Objectives that are identical to one another, I might add. Granted, it doesn’t take long to do, but when you’ve traveled the world several times over already at that point, it just feels like a cheap way to lengthen a short(ish) campaign. Speaking of cheap design choices, most tasks see you chasing a way-point, and then aimlessly wandering around said way-point in search of someone (or something) to interact with.

What’s worse is that the waypoints are typically far too wide once you reach them, further forcing you to strut around like a blind horse in an open field. The game’s world is littered with items, NPCs, and enemies. These are in place as an intention to break up the pace, allowing you to wander off the beaten path and take some time to enjoy the world for what it is. However, when we take into account that these activities are activities that you’ll be doing anyway as part of the main quest-line, it comes off rather needless and lazy. It’s an open-world that feels shockingly dead.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s life to be found in the game’s towns, and here you can indeed interact with many inhabitants, but they all do little to excite, and walk to the same limited script over and over again. Further to that, almost every single building that isn’t a part of the story is blocked off or closed. In essence, World Seeker just isn’t with the times. Had the game spent more time in development, and had much more depth and meaning present, World Seeker could have been a hit. Though, as it stands, it sits more inline with games that are over a decade old.

Prison Island is fairly sizable starting out. However, once you begin unlocking Luffy’s skills, you’re able to shoot from one end of the map to the other in roughly ten minutes or less. Speaking of, Luffy’s skills are all gated behind a skill tree. In order to unlock new skills, you’ll need to acquire skill points that are dished out for defeating enemies and completing missions. Several skills can be purchased, and then leveled up, and they all sit in unique categories that aid Luffy in one form or another; exploration, power, physique improvements, and so forth.

When you begin, Luffy can do little more than dish out a few standard attacks, and latch onto objects with his Reed Richards-like arms to gain height and distance. Though, things all begin to beef up once you work through the skill tree. My personal favorite is that of the ability to latch onto objects to pull and throw Luffy high into the air, and then glide through the air for several seconds at a time. There’s something quite gratifying about fluidly clearing masses of land whilst you execute this skill in rapid succession, pulling yourself from building to building with minimal effort needed.

Then there’s the combat skills, which make Luffy a force not to be taken lightly. These range from improving your attack powers, to giving you new move-sets and consecutive take-downs. Outside of that, it’s your standard offering; extended health, faster replenishment, better resistance against specific attacks, and many more besides. Safe to say that there’s enough to earn within, but you will need to slog through a hefty portion of the sleep-inducing campaign before you even get close to earning half of it. That said, it is possible to complete the game without these extras.

Luffy enjoys a few unique combat forms that are handy in specific situations. Enemies, for example, tend to arrive in one of two variants; skinny and feeble, or gigantic and bulky. Swapping your forms up allows you to tackle these foes exactly as the game clearly intends you to, but it’s never really all that fun. Most of the game’s enemies can be slapped in a matter of seconds, save the occasional opponent that chooses to put up a fight. Even then, there’s never really any strategy that you’ll need to deploy, instead, you’ll just side-step behind them and button mash until they fall.

On top of that, when I finished the game, most of the skills were still locked – despite the fact that I had stopped to kill every enemy and completed a chunk of side missions alongside the main quest-line. Does World Seeker really expect me to spend several more hours playing gofer to unlock skills that, at that point, are not really important? Either way, it’s not going to happen. Whilst a lot of the skills are neat, they’re hardly a selling point. I certainly haven’t got the willpower nor the patience and perseverance to push through any more of Prison Island than I already have.

There’s some stealth elements in the game, but this kind of sits on the sidelines due to the shoddy perceptional awareness of the game’s AI. The game seems to decide when an enemy has an eye in the back of their head or not. If you’re fortunate enough to creep up on an opponent, you can press the X button to utilize a take-down – killing your foe instantly. However, the effort needed to do this is usually far greater than just hitting them head-on a few times, and as such, I rarely ever used stealth. The boss battles don’t really prove to be any more exhilarating.

Most of the game’s bosses repeat the same few attacks over and over, and can be taken down through a quick beating alone. I was able to beat the majority of the bosses through that classic (and cheap) tactic of merely dodging and attacking. It would have been nice to see some mechanics present to spice up these encounters, but then, I guess that’s asking for too much here. What’s particularly disappointing throughout all of this, is that most of the game’s enemies are copy and paste. I daresay that there’s but a handful of different character models overall.

It’s a shame really, because there’s a worthy structure here, but it’s not built upon in an efficient way. What’s the point in utilizing a special attack, when by the time you’ve filled the gauge up, only one grunt is left standing? What’s the point in enjoying the different forms that Luffy can use, when they really only work well under specific circumstances? Nothing has enough depth to it to make it worthwhile. Even the karma system feels tacked on; a system in which you can unlock more dull side missions from NPCs in return for needless items and rewards.

The sheer lack of gameplay variation is hard to overlook at each and every turn. Sure, there’s a few moments that stand out, and a few additions that show promise, but they never truly shine through. When you strip away its stunning world and its serviceable skill tree, there’s little else of worth. It just isn’t acceptable. Not even close. It’s as if the developer put a heap of time and effort into the game’s visual framework, thought of a few (and only a few) good ideas as far as handling goes, and then filled the rest of the journey with shit in an attempt to meet a deadline.

Nevertheless, that’s the crux of play ladies and gents. You’ll start your adventure, and then spend ten hours following the same bland threads, battling the same lifeless foes, over and over again, occasionally stopping off to pick up useless items along the way. It’s boring, it’s wasted, and it’s not at all something that I can comfortably recommend, not even to fans of the source material. Hell, even the audio design is all over the place and not at all consistent. Yes, it looks good. Yes, it handles well, but that’s as far as its excitement can be stretched. Make of that what you will.

Conclusion

One Piece: World Gofer would have been a much more befitting title to put to this dull adventure. I’ll credit the game for its gorgeously detailed world, but this splendor is merely superficial. Most of your time spent here will consist of taking on generic missions, picking up fetch quests, and constantly battling against the game’s few boring enemy variants. The end result makes for a repetitive slog that fails miserably to excite on almost all fronts.

This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.
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Good
  • Gorgeously designed world.
  • Decent skills to utilize throughout.
Bad
  • Tedious and repetitive gameplay loop.
  • Game's stunning world is filled with generic waste.
  • Copy and paste enemy variations.
  • Story isn't at all very interesting.
  • Audio issues persist, and a lack of overall quality.
  • Replay value falls victim to the same boring format.
4
Poor
Gameplay - 2
Graphics - 7
Audio - 3
Longevity - 4
Written by
Howdy folks! Now, as of July 23rd, 2019, I no longer operate here at Xbox Tavern. It was one hell of a ride; creating this, building this, and operating it for several years, but, we all hit a proverbial point that encourages us to move on, and that's what I've done; handing the reigns to the very capable Jamie. Want to keep in touch? My Gamertag is Kaloudz Peace! Love to you all, Mark!

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