Review: One Piece Unlimited World Red – Deluxe Edition

Is Unlimited World Red the ultimate One Piece experience?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/20/2017 19:15 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
1-Up Mushroom for...
Excellent presentation; wild combat that suits each character; hub is fun to expand and makes beating each level worthwhile; portability of Switch lets the home console experience go mobile; all the DLC is here!
Poison Mushroom for...
While the environments look good, the actual level design is a bit bland; backtracking can become a slog; difficulty level is low.

Straight up, One Piece is my favorite comic of all-time. The manga has been published for years now, spanning across over 80 different volumes here in the West and yet it’s nowhere near the finish line. I’ve yet to come across a video game adaptation of the series, however, that really wowed me. Enter One Piece Unlimited World Red – Deluxe Edition (yeah, that’s a mouthful), the latest brawler to feature the cast of beloved characters from developer Bandai Namco. While it isn’t perfect, Unlimited World Red is an adaptation of my favorite series I can finally get behind.

The core system of Unlimited World Red revolves around the central hub of Transtown. Players begin the game as main star Luffy, who must set out to rescue his captured teammates (that happens a lot in One Piece!). From Transtown, players will traverse individual levels, fight swarms of bad guys, gather gear and resources, then return to the hub. Once back, players can expand the town with new structures, take on side quests, and so on. It’s good fun and makes setting out on missions and beating levels irresistible.

It doesn’t hurt that the combat is so dang good. Once all of Luffy’s comrades have been gathered, players can configure sets of three and have at it with the packs of foes roaming level maps. Each character fights in a manner consistent with their manga/anime selves: Luffy brawls with his stretching limbs, Zolo slashes with swords, Sanji has killer kicks, and so on. All of the combat is spot-on, visceral and, most importantly, fun. There’s also a feature called the Strong Word system which allows for some customization of a character’s move set and stat bonuses. It’s cool in theory, but it’s oddly implemented—- characters never even utter the phrases that you pick for them! Still, it’s nice to have the option and for what it is, and it works well enough.

The game is visually sumptuous, offering visuals that look darn close to an anime, at times. Some of the environments are quite the sight to behold, and all of the character models look great. Being the Ultimate Edition, the game comes with all of the DLC that was released for Unlimited World Red on other platforms. One Piece casuals might not appreciate this as much, but fans will love the different costumes that can be chosen for their crew. Speaking of One Piece newbies, Unlimited World Red is probably not going to be a good point of entry for the series in general. It takes place deep into the storyline and doesn’t do much to establish who the characters are. If you don’t mind going in blind, the gameplay will definitely support the experience, but overall this feels like a title meant more for longtime fans like myself.

One area of the game I had a little issue with was the way that levels are structured. They’re a delight to look at, but they’re fairly bland. Go from point A to B, backtrack, repeat. Given how creative the majority of the game is, it’s a letdown that Unlimited World Red doesn’t have more innovative level designs. I also think that there isn’t a lot of challenge here. It’s almost too easy to take down foes, with the exception of boss battles where the difficulty ramps up. These are some minor flaws, but worth noting for those who might be wanting something a little more nuanced.

I mentioned earlier that this isn’t the first go-round for Ultimate World Red. This version has been optimized for Switch and it shows; the animations are more buttery smooth, while the assets themselves look crisper and clearer here. Everything runs at 60fps, though the cutscenes have noticeably not received the same level of augmentation. Regardless, this version comes with the benefit of all the DLC as well as Switch’s portability, meaning you get to take a console-level experience with you on the road. Again, as a One Piece fan, this game really scratched that itch of wanting to cut loose with Nami, Luffy, Chopper, and everyone else the way that the manga portrays them: brutal, efficient, over-the-top, and just downright glorious to behold.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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