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One Piece: Unlimited World Red Deluxe Edition review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Ganbarion
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: T

Since the advent of the eighth generation of video game consoles, remakes and remasters have been a crucial part of a console’s first couple of years. The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One had their fair share of these types of ports in their freshman and sophomore years and still sees a trickle of them as they enter their prime years, so it is no surprise for the Switch to get their fair share of remakes of titles as a way for publishers to gauge whether or not there is a viable market on this platform. To this effect Bandai Namco’s offerings on the platform have only releases of their arcade classics (Namco Museum), a port of their latest Dragon Ball fighting game (Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2) and the One Piece title we will be looking at today.

The One Piece “Unlimited” series is one which originated on a Nintendo platform (Wii) and it’s basic premise is the Straw Hat Pirates going on an adventure taking place on islands with a wide variety of climate, usually with a new cutesy companion in tow. The crew’s variety of expertise is used (Cooking, Construction, Weaponsmithing, and even Archaeology) to ensure their survival on this journey. Unlimited World Red is only the second game in the series to make it to American shores, but given the fact that there is no direct continuity amongst the games, it really doesn’t matter that a player hasn’t played the older titles.

Unlimited Red’s plot is as follows, the Straw Hats are sailing towards the Island of Promises being led there by a tanuki which they fished out of the water named Pato (The cutesy companion of this iteration). Once they reach the shores and dock at a settlement named Trans town, the crew split up to resupply only to be kidnapped, leaving their captain Monkey D Luffy to search his missing crew. This adventure ends up taking them to recreations of locales the Straw Hat Pirates have visited in the past.

You are tasked to explore these lands, fight enemies, collect materials, and construct upgrades. Combat is relatively run of the mill, utilizing between a regular strike and a strong strikes. Combos insist of hitting combinations of the two buttons. Special moves are true to the attacks that are seen in the anime and manga.

When you are not in combat you will be spending your time in Trans Town. Where you can help expand the town, upgrade “Words” (These add modifiers to the characters when equipped), craft items which you can use in combat. Crafting can be the most frustrating part of the game…item collecting is a bit of a slog and requires a lot of luck. So you will find yourself running through the various worlds over and over again in order to get materials so you can upgrade.

The other main mode is the Colosseum mode, where it is a loose re-enactment of the Dressrosa arc of the series. Here you take on a series of combat trials to make your way to the top of the colosseum rankings and an inevitable showdown with the pirate warlord Donquixote Doflamingo. The only perk of playing this mode is there are challenges which allow you to earn crafting rare crafting materials.

Given this is a remake it would be prudent to compare it to the original that came before it. As someone who managed to put in 75 hours, the game does look better on the switch. It’s a lot more clear and the movement is a lot smoother. There are some quality of life changes which a minor but appreciated. Things like making the 2 player mode a menu item rather a button prompt underneath the map made me realize the original had split-screen multiplayer as well. Not having to go to Transtown Inn to go back to the main menu feels like an afterthought, but the original lacked that. The lack of a versus mode is still disappointing, given previous titles in this line had it.

All and all this is an acceptable title for a fan of One Piece who also happens to be a Switch owner. For someone who has never heard of the series this game is not exactly a great tool to expose them to series. Something like One Piece Pirate Warriors would be more suitable. With the impending release of other major titles on the platform, this title might sink to the bottom of the ocean, never to be seen again.

Grade: B-