Summer Vacation In The World Of One Piece: Unlimited World Red

By Laura . July 31, 2014 . 1:58pm

Bright blue skies, breezy winds. All things seem dandy as the Straw Hat Pirates escort a small raccoon, Pato, to his home-island after they saved him from being stranded at sea. Upon arriving at Trance Town, the gang splits up, each deciding to kick back at the lazy port their own way. However, within the hour everyone except Luffy has vanished. Not too worried, but nevertheless going off to find them with Pato in tow, he leaves Trance Town and finds himself in a very familiar place.


Not only that, but a very familiar face also appears to stand in his way despite how impossible it should be. Depending on your familiarity with the anime or manga series, One Piece Unlimited World Red may send you on an emotional roller coaster despite the predictable pattern of visiting old areas and facing familiar bosses.


Because of the writing and several other factors, I feel like extra attention was paid to not only making the world of Unlimited World Red look like Eiichirou Oda’s world, but also to make it feel like it. The dialogue is almost 100% voiced (with the main exceptions being quest menus and Coliseum dialogue), and conversations are split evenly between full FMVs and full portrait sprites showing the characters’ expressions.


The story is something I feel like wouldn’t be out of place in the original One Piece’s world, though it is considered non-canonical. While I didn’t feel like the villain, Redfield, was as strong as others in the series (and admittedly, that’s a very high bar to set), the reactions the Straw Hat Crew have to the different areas or people they face aren’t just rehashes of what appear in the anime. For example, when they find themselves in Mt. Corvo, where Luffy grew up in and then encountering the bears and wolves in the forest, they all have their comments about Luffy’s hometown.


My favorite moment was when I met Wapol again, and absolutely no one remembers him (or cares). The only person who supposedly does is Brook, who, as Wapol indignantly points out, wasn’t even there in the first place.


Acting as your temporary headquarters, Trance Town is a strange but refreshing place. The colors are bright and refreshing, giving the entire place the feel of a summer resort, and though Luffy’s natural running speed is pretty slow, rocketing across the entire map with the mere press of a button has made traveling through a town practically like flying. I never learned much about the place other than that it needs a lot of facilities built (preferably by you, with generous donations of materials), but none is really needed since it achieves its goal of being a safe haven in all the chaos occurring around it.


Despite everything happening on the island, Trance Town still manages to achieve the laidback feel that Luffy’s adventures sometimes have when no one is after their lives. You can expand facilities through across the town, check out some quests, go through areas you’ve previously visited to net some bugs and/or catch some fish, play a few minigames with Chopper or Luffy, etc. Each character has their own custom action they can take in the field that enhance the exploration as well, especially since you can only have two other characters with you at a time. Usopp can grow flowers that attract a rare insect, while Brook can run across the water to reach small islands. Though the main story is rather urgent and sometimes made me want to either hug my Nintendo 3DS or throw it across the room, the lulls in between the chapters are just as enjoyable simply in their aimlessness.


It’s also amusing to see Sanji or Zoro trying to catch a small beetle with a butterfly net.


Speaking of which, the original animals created for the game really fit the art style in the game. The enemies, too, are designed to fit each world (which, though it sounds intuitive, I haven’t seen often in anime-based games). Skypiea is filled with the Gods Enforcers with their funny goat-like heads and cloud skates, and Alabasta features the kingdom’s soldiers, dressed in their own costumes and having a different fighting style compared to, say, the Marines from Marineford.


There are at least 8 fields that appear around Trance Town, each from the Straw Hat Crew’s past adventures. I like how the areas focused on areas that weren’t visited in either of the Pirate Warriors games (the only other One Piece games I’ve played), such as Fishman Island and Mt. Corvo near Fushia Village, or that weren’t expanded upon, such as Skypiea and Enies Lobby. I especially enjoyed finding a familiar area from the show rather than just having a generic boxy map to beat enemies up in. I also enjoyed the small details built into each area, such as your footsteps in Skypiea making cute “boop” suction sounds because of the wet cloud surface.


All the places are rendered in a beautiful, striking palette of primary colors, giving everything the lively feel of One Piece, and even the effects, though not the most high resolution swirls or patterns you’ve ever seen, were created to fit the color scheme and looked more cartoony than I usually see in video games. But, like in the original One Piece, no matter how silly or colorful something looks, they may very well be dangerous. Those colorful swirls? They’re the warning that Crocodile is going to sling a clawful of sand in your face, or that Caesar Clown is going to send poisonous gas or explosions flying your way.


As relaxing and laidback as I found the exploration in Unlimited World Red to be, the combat can be very hectic. Before I started the game, I had seen trailers and had thought that the movements in the game would be slow and sluggish—especially compared to the Pirate Warriors games. However, I was glad to be proven completely wrong. It’s true that Red doesn’t have quite the same crispness as the other games, but in turn it places much more focus on paying attention to your enemies and dodging or guarding attacks. Enemies take off quite a chunk of hit if they connect, and though there is a level system in place, that damage never really goes down, so the battles become a hectic rush of attacking while keeping an eye out on your surroundings.


Damage is dealt through combos, and if you perform the list of combos appearing on the screen without getting knocked down, you can activate a Break Rush, where your character does more damage for a limited period of time. When an enemy targets you, a button prompt appears over your character’s head that prompts you to either guard or dodge – which the character does seems to be dependent on the person. For example, Zoro tends to guard while Usopp tends to run. Note that this doesn’t mean the battle stops to allow you to push the button like the usual QTE. I’ve missed many prompts because I was too busy performing a combo or the prompt came and went before I could react.


In addition to simple combos, your characters also have a few special moves to pull off that differ based on character. Each character has a maximum of three different moves they can pull off, and each take off 1-2 SP points that are accumulated as you deal damage. There is also a team attack that you can pull off that hits everyone in the field and generally seems to depend on who you have on your team.


Unless stated otherwise, you can have up to three party members in a team. The way teams work in Unlimited World Red, though, is slightly different in that each character has their own health bar yet take no damage from enemies. This, coupled with the ability to switch the character you control at will, means that essentially you have three lives before it’s game over. What surprised me, too, is how the AI for your party in the game is actually very aggressive, and because the party members don’t take damage, it doesn’t matter if they run willy-nilly into attacks.


Though the combos present in Unlimited World Red are simple compared to other games, I enjoyed the effort put into differentiating each character’s playing style. For example, Luffy has longer combos and focuses on dealing damage both in air and on ground, while Zoro is mostly ground-based and moves slower, but deals more damage per hit.


These differences are rather basic, but then you also have Usopp, who has an actual sniping mode where the controls switch to an almost FPS-style of play and is one of the only characters with multiple attacks that can hit downed enemies. Franky can build a stationary tank and lob cannonballs at the enemy, though he lacks any extensive combos. I also don’t understand why he can strike poses in battle. Brook can put people to sleep with his music, while Sanji is the only character with an actual Dash option.


Of less importance but just as fun are the dodging and guarding animations. Nami and Chopper flip and roll out of the way (like semi-normal people), but the other character’s actions vary more. They also have different effects. Luffy practically teleports to the side in a whiz of pinkish-red smoke, while Law uses his fruit to literally teleport past the opponent. Brook’s soul leaves his body, causing some time to pass before he returns to battle, and Sanji jumps upwards.


And then there’s Usopp, who throws up his hands and runs away screaming like a little girl.


There are only two factors that take me out of the immersion. The first is that the faces of the characters appear stiff in battle (but not on the portraits, thankfully), and the second is that, if you manage to get separated from your party members, they’ll actually teleport to your side, sometimes in the middle of an attack. Sometimes they’ll even teleport ahead, starting on the next batch of enemies before you even see them.


I’ve made no mention of the Battle Coliseum area thus far, and that’s because it’s actually a completely separate game from the main story. In fact, you can select to play either the Main Story or Battle Coliseum right after you load the game, and you have to quit one part of the game to play the other. Playing the Battle Coliseum does net you extra quests for the main story, though, and it’s always fun playing the many characters that only appear in that part of the game, such as Shanks and Aokiji.


The Battle Coliseum loosely follows the story from the Dressrosa arc and plays like a fighting game, where you have to battle enemy after enemy with dialogue appearing every time you earn enough points to rise a rank. You can choose the type of battles you can fight – 1-on-1 duels, Battle Royale against one or two boss characters or a gang of lackeys, or fighting 50-150 grunt enemies. Sometimes, a special match will appear where you have to use a certain character to fight another one related to him or her in the anime in a 1-on-1 duel. For example, one of the battles is Shanks vs. Blackbeard.


Although One Piece Unlimited World Red is on the short side, it is a fun excursion into a piece of One Piece’s world that doesn’t just feel like the Straw Hat Crew thrown together to form a game. To me, it actually felt like I was playing a part of the anime. However, because it’s so short and because of its limited roster, you can catch onto attack patterns quickly and the game loses much of its difficulty. This is why I actually appreciated the Battle Coliseum special matches, where I’m forced to use characters I would never have otherwise used.


Food for Thought:


1. I’ve played both the 3DS and PS3 versions of the game. The PS3 version runs smoother and has HD graphics (and it seems like it even has more shadows and effects). However, while the PS3 handles the camera better, with the presence of a second analog stick, the 3DS handles the menu, items, swapping characters, and the map better because of its second screen.


2. I couldn’t fit in the Word system from the game in the main article. Words hold power on this island, and equipping words (essentially quotes from the anime) can enhance a character’s stats or unlock an ability or attack. Some Words can even be used as items and activate special effects, like boosted attack or regenerating health. One of the more annoying uses is having to use them to unlock barriers on the map since you’ll inevitably have to backtrack, but thankfully these Words always provide a great reward. I love how when the Words are used, though, your character says the phrase out loud.

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  • I really like this game, personally one of my favorite One Piece games in a while.

  • British_Otaku

    A fine review, it isn’t my favourite Ganbarion or One Piece Unlimited game but it is still full of love for the series.

    On the dodging QTE things, the game doesn’t put much pressure to time yourself but basically ignores your dodge input if you press any attack input too much when the attack is coming your way. It doesn’t make the game technical or as tight as the previous Ganbarion games which had perfect dodge and block mechanics but it does save it from being a “Spam Dodge to Win” something.

    Franky’s poses are super stylish and power up his fireball attack which has the same input. If you do it outside of a combo, you can charge up to Level 3 (big fireball, lot of range) and you can pose once in a melee combo.

    The teleporting AI is incredibly tacky. I know from experience how the Unlimited series shapes the environments in challenging ways (though the ones in the game are more linear and such), but the path finding short of dodging one boss didn’t need to be done in such a way. They could have still teleported as long as the game made it look good and wrote in an excuse for the skill, I mean words came out of nowhere.

    • I found it the exact opposite, actually. Whether you’re doing an attack at the time is a factor, true, but the timing for the QTE depends on how far you are from the enemy and how fast their attack is coming, and sometimes the window is really, really short. I will admit that I’ve done the “spam dodge” a few times, though, haha.

      But really, don’t you have to? Because all the enemies, even the grunts, do quite a bit of damage.

      Hum… I … didn’t really get Franky’s thing. But I’ll try playing around with the poses, haha.

      • British_Otaku

        I don’t disagree that distance and specific attacks are a factor for the window, but in comparison to Arkham Asylum which needs more specific timing and you can still be hit while doing counters or Gigant Battle/Unlimited Adventure which need you to do frame perfect dodges and counters to instead of pressing seconds in advance of the attack, this game is pretty generous.
        I did it a lot less with this game than the previous ones, but buying food to get permanent health upgrades makes much of the damage easier to shrug off and I had Chopper or Sanji around to heal on tough adventures. Even if grunts can hurt, they aren’t that likely to hit once you recognise the cues (including the flashing “Spam Dodge” thing which works for most of the game – usually the places where it doesn’t work are fine but for some like Kizaru’s special and others, you may feel cheated).

        • Ah, true. If you want to compare it to the games with more hardcore QTE events… XD

          I did also … not buy any food through the game. I did do it once, just to see what it would do, but in general, when I play a game, I tend to avoid stat upgrades ^^; Of course, that does mean I’m making the game harder for myself than I should…

          Haha, when it doesn’t work… The one time that stood out in my mind was against Jinbe, where he would snipe me from afar. Then I’d climb up. And he’d snipe me down again. Then I’d climb up. And snipe again. It continued for a while until the AI decided to do something else >_>

  • Princess_Eevee9

    Can’t wait to get my hands this game!

  • Razvaille

    I like this game. This and Pirate Warriors are my One Piece favorite games :), leaving aside fight types

  • CozyAndWarm

    Tried to get it for Wii U but my system space JUST ran out beforehand. Bought a cheap external and I’ll be playing it tonight for sure.

  • NeptuniasBeard

    One thing that bothered me was Brooks height compared to the other Straw hats. Is he really that tall? Sometimes it looked like the others just barely matched his shins

    • 3PointDecoupage

      Hes supposed to be 8-9 feet. Significantly taller than the others.

    • Göran Isacson

      Yup. That’s how One Piece rolls, while it seems like the majority of people are of regular height you’ll ever so often find people who are just SUPER-TALL for no real reason. LIke, Doflamingo, one of the villains, is supposed to be a whole 10 feet tall. It’s just how that world rolls.

      • Aidan Gamble

        Aokiji’s like 11 feet for some reason as well, most of the villains are incredibly tall just ’cause (with the exceptions of all villains pre-Crocodile and Rob Lucci).

  • Lifestreamer

    I actually liked Redfield, in my opinion he is almost in the same league as some characters from extra canon material like golden lion Shiki or ex-admiral Zephir, Pato on the other hand was not memorable at all.

    The character models and environment are gorgeous and come straight from the manga artistically speaking (NOT the anime), even the music was so fitting! It just proves that the ganbarion staff truly understands Oda’s style the best regardless of the use of cel shading, Koei did a very good job with Kaizoku musou/Pirate warriors also but not as good as unlimited world red did.

    The game obviously has it’s faults, but I really want to see this style perfected, also there are a lot of proeminent faces missing (Moria? Kuma? Monet? MAGELLAN? Wtf?), so I’ll gadly wait for a sequel after playing this.

    • Yes, I thought the music was actually the original composer! …But I forgot to check, lol.

      True, Redfield did have a good background and motive. I think the part that bothered me was … how … hammy he was. I mean, he was hammy by OP standards, and that’s saying something lol.

      I actually liked Pato after I realized exactly what his bg was (hint: his fruit). It’s never really mentioned in the game, though (which, ironically, is something I like).

      • Lifestreamer

        Kohei Tanaka is the animated series composer, but I don’t think he was directly involved in this project, just competent musicians who did a good job at capturing the atmosphere of the series and a bit of Tanaka’s style.

        ****** SPOILER ALERT *****

        Lol Red was hammy, but he had a point, the influence of the time is an unforgiving factor regardless of how formidable you are as an individual (100% sure he could clean the floor with the entire crew in his prime, oh well, it’s just a non canon anyway)….but it does not justify anything…..still hammy XD.

        ***** END OF SPOILER ******

        Pato was this game mindf**k, the creature was a pen with a mythical zoan of a Tanuki giving it life, voice and transformation powers…

        …Yep, the devs used the same heavy junk as Oda.

        • I was … trying to keep the conversation spoiler-free, but OK lol XD Basically what you said, I agree with :P

          (Maybe add a warning for spoilers in your comment?)

    • British_Otaku

      Ganbarion often have Robin have brown eyes instead of blue as well, which is a bit of fanservice that Strong World did if I remember right. It really shows that the studio has worked with One Piece since the PS1 and their first game but with barely any fatigue but lots of great nods.

      Redfield was a lot of fun, but I’m a little unsure about tying something so interesting to another Unlimited mascot (Not terrible, but never amazing) and standard plot which only makes him feel nonsensical and fillerish aside from moments when he takes action alone. I haven’t seen Film Z but see Redfield as almost being another Shiki as well.

      Those three better make it in Super Grand Battle! X.

      • Lifestreamer

        Ganbarion likes to stick to the details, almost no one knows that Robin’s eyes are brown, also Hancock’s blue attire being another example, also every stage we have a pandaman cameo, someone at youtube found him in every single one.

        About Red, it’s Pato’s fault, he felt nonsensical cause we were seeing Redfield through Pato’s thoughts and view, when we got to see Red by his own actions he got a lot better, but unfortunately it was a bit too short…

        And yeah, Super Grand Battle! X is now carrying our dreams right now, Monet is a must even as support, leave the kung fu dewgongs for the background (gigant battle reference).

  • Suicunesol

    How responsive is the combat in this game?

    When this game was announced, I was really excited and wanted to pick it up if it got localized. But now I’m just not sure. A recent video I watched on youtube made me wary that it might be a sluggish brawler with pretty cutscenes (and voiced cutscenes with still models).

    • They’re pretty responsive. The characters don’t move as “snappy” as in Pirate Warriors, but that is more an aesthetic effect than anything and the characters are nevertheless responsive. I had the same concerns, but after playing it, I was completely, pleasantly surprised.

  • Kornelious

    Picked this up for both PS3 and Vita……Worth every penny :D

  • HarakiriKami

    Havent tried the Wii U version then?

    Gives you the ps3 and 3DS benefits in one

    Having the cross save between 3DS/Wii U PS3/Vita is useful too

    • No Wii U :(

      • HarakiriKami


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