Ever since the success of games like the Grand Theft Auto series, Red Dead Redemption and so on, there’s been a push toward implementing open-world mechanics in pretty much everything. That includes licensed games. Traditionally we’d expect those to be complete garbage, but we’ve seen games like the PS4-exclusive Spider-Man that has been turning that view around. One Piece: World Seeker’s not quite at that level of polish, but it’s still a pretty decent game that does its franchise justice.
If you aren’t familiar with the series, One Piece follows Monkey D. Luffy, a seafaring vagabond who wants to become King of the Pirates. With his goofy crew, impressive ship and supernatural stretching powers imparted by the Gum-Gum Fruit, Luffy has all kinds of adventures in pursuit of this goal, not to mention in search of the mysterious treasure known as One Piece. Here, Luffy and co. are trapped on Prison Island, a massive prison complex. They’re going to have to battle numerous opponents, including several returning villains from earlier in the series, while searching for a way out.
You’ll play as Luffy himself here; it’s one of the few One Piece games that isn’t just a straight up fighting game. World Seeker is more of an open-world adventure instead, something akin to the more modern Batman titles. You’ll run around fighting enemies, discovering and clearing missions and so on. This will earn you materials and experience that you can spend to improve Luffy’s abilities and create new gear. Luffy doesn’t end up feeling particularly more powerful over time, but that speaks more to how strong you are right from the beginning, which is appropriate for a game based on a long-running series.
Luffy’s able to swing around with his stretchy arms, use Haki attacks for ranged combat or more powerful melee attacks and sneak around to take out opponents without direct conflict. There’s a pretty decent range of things you can do, but Luffy’s not really deficient in any fashion, so you’re able to play the way you want and do pretty well regardless. In particular, I appreciated the stealth options but never felt like they were a required part of Luffy’s moveset. What’s more, moving around the world
There’s not a huge amount of variety in terms of what you’ll be doing, though, and outside of boss battles combat tends to boil down to just smashing opponents with your strongest attacks…assuming you didn’t just stealth-kill them first. You’re mostly playing this one for the chance to play as Luffy and interact with the rest of the One Piece cast. World Seeker does a great job on that end, and the main story is surprisingly involving.
As far as presentation goes, World Seeker looks pretty good all things considered. I played on a PS4 Pro and while there was the odd performance drop, the game generally ran well enough. Likewise, the sound and music is well-suited to a One Piece game, nailing that sense of adventure that’s so central to the franchise.
One Piece: World Seeker is a solid game for One Piece fans but it might not be the best choice for newcomers to the franchise. It expects a certain level of familiarity with the series and doesn’t do much to help bring newcomers into the fold. Still, if you’ve been watching One Piece since you were a kid, you owe it to yourself to spend some time as Luffy.