Given that VR is only just taking its first steps in the gaming arena, not every game is going to be a full-fledged, comprehensive experience. Some, like One Piece: Grand Cruise, are going to be a sample of how things could eventually look. This PlayStation VR experience is what amounts to two brief, shooting gallery minigames that also happen to let you see and vaguely interact with other members of the Straw Hats when you do.
One Piece: Grand Cruise lets people go through two scenarios, both of which involve the same sort of premise. Repel the Kraken lets you visit the Thousand Sunny’s Galley, Chopper’s infirmary, Nami’s room and the upper level. After you look around, a Kraken attacks and you attempt to thwart it. Sea Battle Against the Navy is a bit shorter, as the only rooms you can view are the Galley and Nami’s, before the Navy launches an attack. In each case, Luffy interrupts you while you are investigating to announce the attack has begun.
The shooting games in One Piece: Grand Cruise are fairly simple, and allow people to use either the DualShock 4 or Move controllers. Motion controls let you aim a cannon, and you press a button to fire. The Navy scenario involves trying to hit moving targets, as their ship fires an array of objects at yours. (Considering one of the things flying at me was a turkey leg, I found myself wondering if the Navy had a Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3 rig.) In the Kraken scenario, which is a bit longer, you fire at tentacles until its head appears. Then, when its head shows up, you attack it. Once it is defeated, you are treated to a Doflamingo cameo. Other red and blue characters will participate to aid in the fight, to act as filler, and can often make this already easy shooter even simpler.
The plus side is, One Piece: Grand Cruise looks good. The character designs from the series work well with a VR game. Since we expect over-the-top people, there is not the same uncanny valley where things look real, but not real enough. It also does not have the same issue Megadimension Neptunia VIIR does, where the character models enjoy a higher level of detail and effort than environmental objects. There is some disconnect, but things fit well within the world. Chopper looks the best out of all the cast, as human characters have a bit of a disconnect where the faces’ coloring and shading can sometimes seem distanced from the rest of their bodies, but things mostly look true to the series.
Players are not going to get to take part in detailed conversations with people like Luffy, Nami, Zoro or Robin in One Piece: Grand Cruise. They will not take part in a one-on-one fight with Doflamingo. But they will get to try two minigames where they use a cannon to defend the Thousand Sunny from attacks. It is basic, but it does set the stage for what a fuller, future One Piece VR game could look like. Plus, it shows how well these particular characters transition to a first-person viewpoint in VR.
One Piece: Grand Cruise is available for the PlayStation VR.