Note: There aren’t any screenshots taken from the One Piece Odyssey demo because we weren’t allowed to nab shots of it.

It’s kind of weird but I get my knowledge of One Piece mainly from the Bandai Namco games, primarily the Kaizoku Musou (One Piece: Pirate Warriors) series. I know, I’m ashamed of it too, but there are just too many damn episodes of the show and I always lose interest in the middle of it. Thankfully, One Piece Odyssey seems to be geared for players like me…those who don’t know what the current arc is but are familiar with the older ones.

I say that because the game seems to feature the Kingdom of Alabasta quite prominently in everything.

Well…at least in the snippets of gameplay that I’ve seen.

It didn’t make an appearance in the demo that I played at the Thailand Game Show though, weirdly enough.

Instead, in the demo, the Straw Hat Pirates have been separated somehow and need to rescue Nami, who’s in danger. In your party are a handful of the crew; Luffy, Frankie, Chopper, Usopp, Sanji and Nico Robin.

The One Piece Odyssey demo’s more like a tutorial, with the game teaching you how to navigate the hilly jungle area you’re in. There’s no way to change from Luffy as the main character in the exploration parts of the demo, as his stretchy ability’s needed to traverse the chasms you need to cross.

It’s not particular difficult though, as the handholds you can shoot Luffy’s arms to are clearly highlighted and there’s a handy mini-map that shows you the path.

Battles in the demo are all preset sadly, so there aren’t any random encounters.

There’s really no way to die in the demo too, as the characters are all Level 40 and only grow stronger as they fight.

It does give a sense of how fights flow though.

Basically, all fights in One Piece Odyssey are turn-based and your crew’s separated into multiple battle areas.

You can move from one area to the next to help your comrades, but only if an area’s been cleared of enemies beforehand. In the demo, that happens a few times. The first with Usopp getting cornered, and later with Nami.

It’s honestly a weird battle system, especially for a JRPG.

I’m of the impression that it’s needlessly complicated right now, but that of course might change with the full game.

Maybe it’s because the characters of the demo are over-leveled but there’s no sense of danger that the game desperately tries to project for your party members who are separated and under attack in another area in battles.

Other than that little twist, battles are your typical JRPG fare but with a One Piece theme.

Characters use their signature moves in battles, though the moves are relegated to special skills that need skill points to use. Some skills are great to focus damage on one enemy, others can hit multiple (like Sanji’s kicks) at once.

I didn’t really get to explore the skills a lot in the demo (because the game forces you to fight a certain way for most battles to teach you the ropes) but there’s a ton of moves for each character so no worries about that.

There’s also not much to the plot that’s revealed in the demo.

Wait scratch that…none of the plot’s revealed other than the Straw Hats seem to be lost and have no idea where they are.

Despite it all, I came away from the demo quite impressed.

I’d never have pegged Bandai Namco to make a One Piece JRPG, much less one with a turn-based battle system! The battles seem to be needlessly complicated in the demo, but that might just be because I didn’t have enough time to get used to it.

The visuals are decent enough, the voices are great and the battles remind me of the anime.

Isn’t that all that expects from the game?

Whatever the case, I’m cautiously optimistic for One Piece Odyssey when it launches in January 2023.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. Recently, Sal served as a juror for the Indie Game Awards at Taipei Game Show 2020. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.