Graphics:
7.0
Gameplay:
7.8
Sound:
7.1
Control:
7.7
Replay Value:
7.5
Overall Rating:
7.3
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Bandai Namco
Developer:
Ganbarion
Number Of Players:
1-2
Genre:
Genre
Release Date:
July 8, 2014


The concept is enough to put a smile on anyone’s face: Pirates with superpowers. I’m actually surprised nobody thought of this before. Of course, you sorta have to like the Japanese art style; specifically, the hugely popular manga and anime cultures. If you’re a fan of such colorful, very much over-the-top artistic themes, you’ll probably enjoy One Piece: Unlimited World Red . At its core, the game is a beat-‘em-up action game based on the “One Piece” television series and as you might expect, the stirring combat is the highlight.

Technically, the production doesn’t necessarily impress. The level design isn’t exactly spectacular and some of the animations aren’t perfect. But the bottom line should be obvious: If you like this style, you’ll enjoy the visual presentation. The distinct Japanese flair is loaded with color, flashy special effects, and characters that are basically caricatures (or in some cases, not even human). Toss in that cel-shaded format and you’ve got a unique presentation that should appeal to all you anime lovers out there. Again, it’s not technically superior – the frame rate can stutter, too – but for what it is, it works.

When it comes to the sound, you have to make the standard concessions. You need to understand that cornball effects and cheesy voice acting is a staple of this particular style of entertainment. Those who are familiar with anime and manga know precisely want to expect, and there are no surprises here. The soundtrack fits the hectic, vibrant on-screen action, the effects run the gamut from silly and ridiculous to powerfully effective, and the balancing is decent. When analyzing such games these days, I feel I only have to say one thing: “If you know Japanese culture, you know exactly what to expect in terms of graphics and sound.”

Unlimited World Red is a spin-off adventure featuring a non-canon story penned by author Eiichiro Oda. The story boasts a few appreciated twists and turns, and begins on a strong note: Protagonist Luffy’s crew has been kidnapped, so he’s out to rescue his buddies with the help of Pato, a raccoon who can bring drawings to life (for whatever reason, this reminded me of Okami ). From the moment your rousing adventure begins, you will realize just how critical the atmosphere is; if you’re a fan, you’re good to go. If not, this extremely rich, colorful assault on the senses might prove downright obnoxious.

For the sake of argument, let’s just say the presentation is to your liking. You’re familiar with anime and manga, you’ve heard of “One Piece,” and the completely bonkers box art didn’t turn you off. Okay, so you’ve gotten that far. Now, you want to know about the gameplay and for the most part, I’ve got good news: This is a fun, engaging, in-depth quest that feels fresh and original from start to finish. Even though the game is an action brawler at heart, it tries to expand beyond that somewhat simplistic format and delivers a relatively robust experience.