IGN Review of One Piece: Grand Adventure
When One Piece: Grand Battle released just one year ago, the party fighter did a few things very right, and a few things wrong. As expected, the freshmen effort had a the likely issues a rookie a fighter would display: Somewhat limited roster, lack of fighting depth, and a few balance issues. Even still, Grand Battle was strong enough in its core design (which, by the way, takes a ton of inspiration from the Power Stone series) to still consider it above average, and was reviewed positively my the majority of gaming press. This time around, One Piece: Grand Adventure sets out to do what nearly every fighter does, as the team works out the kinks, expands the roster, and (hopefully) delivers an experience that's once again worth the time and cash of the franchises fan base. Mission accomplished.
From the get-go, One Piece: Grand Adventure displays all the fundamental elements of the previous game. Players can chose from any number of One Piece fighters, taken verbatim from the anime show and manga comics, select a fighting mode, and kick the crap out of the competition in a free-roaming 3D arena. During battle, which usually consists of gigantic over-the-top combos and super-attacks, players can smash open item boxes, grab random weapons (such as oversized baseball bats and huge cartoon bombs) and use them to throw or beat down opponents. The fighting is amazingly simple, bordering on a glorified button masher, but the speed and style of the game lends itself to a party atmosphere, making One Piece: Grand Adventure less of a technical fighter, and more of an arcade celebration of the series. Still, hardcore gamers can rest assured that the hard work and training will definitely pay off, as a few of the more grandioso attacks take some serious skill and strategy to use. Even still, the overall gameplay on the field is nearly identical to One Piece: Grand Battle, aside from a few graphical bumps and gameplay tweaks.
So if you're looking to pick up One Piece: Grand Adventure, where does all your cash go? After all, if the gameplay is relatively the same as in Grand Battle, couldn't you just play the older version again? Sure, but you'd be missing out on what may be one of the most robust collections of features and extras in licensed gaming history. Just because Grand Adventure doesn't have a totally revamped gameplay core, doesn't mean the product is a wash. For starters, the One Piece roster has been upped to 24 total fighters, each with unique move sets, multiple special attacks, and up to five costume changes. In addition, nearly 50 characters from the show appear as "support characters", allowing their fighter the opportunity to cash in on the special attack gauge in order to have an ally drop in and team up on their opponent. To top off the roster, there are four spaces for customized characters, and since the Grand Adventure mode is essentially a fighting based RPG, that means the longer you play in the single player mode, the more butt you'll kick in multiplayer.
Speaking of Grand Adventure mode, that's where the real meat of the game is this time around. When booting up the game, players can select between two overall modes: Grand Adventure, and Grand Battle. Grand battle is essentially a more beefed up version of the original game, offering a versus mode, arena mode (where you begin at rank 100 and progress up through ranks of leveled enemy fighters), tournament mode (a heavy favorite for parties), training mode, and a fully customizable "special battle" mode where you can change everything from item appearance, movement and attack speed, and how much damage each attack can do. It's amazingly in-depth, especially considering it isn't even the main mode of the game. In Grand Adventure mode, however, the gameplay gets far deeper, as the story has Monkey D. Luffy on a quest (as always) to become the greatest pirate of all. Players will have access to an overworld map held on the high seas, and can navigate Monkey's ship on set courses to go from port to port. Depending on the location, players can battle in one-on-one fights, in new battle royal events (that have the main player fighting a ton of weaker baddies all at the same time), or engage in some mini-games.
After each event, players will gain experience (as well as possible bonus items/exp/support characters if they fulfilled the special "bonus" mission within the fight) which can be used to level up specific attributes for their fighter. As an added piece of depth, Monkey will actually recruit other pirates to travel along with him (a total of six roster spots in all), which can be selected in a mini-character select screen before each battle. If all the slots are full, players will have to decide who stays on the ship, and who goes home. Add in multiple events to accomplish missions, unlockable special items that give attributes to your fighters, hidden characters that will/won't join your party based on your fighting success rate, and a ton of extra show-based content and you've got a shockingly deep adventure mode added to an already considerably deep fighting package.
In fact, the overall presentation of the game lends itself well to the franchise in nearly every way as well. While the game is very similar to One Piece: Grand Battle on a graphical side, the menus, interface, HUD, and storyboards have an awesome look. After playing countless licensed games over the years, it's easy to see where teams cut corners to AIn fact, the overall presentation of the game lends itself well to the franchise in nearly every way as well. While the game is very similar to One Piece: Grand Battle on a graphical side, the menus, interface, HUD, and storyboards have an awesome look. After playing countless licensed games over the years, it's easy to see where teams cut corners to speed up production, but with One Piece: Grand Adventure, it's as if the team had all the time in the world to add in little nuances to the license, as well as a ton of added content. Along with each of the modes we went over, the extras are huge. With enough play time, gamers will be rewarded with five full Adventure modes (each unlocked after completing the last) starting with different characters and playing different locations, a full model viewer where you can check out each fighter with all costumes, items, a biography and showcase of support characters.
In addition, the sound test mode allows you to play each of the 85 music tracks in the game, and art galleries show not only 70 pieces of character art from the game, but also zoom-able scans of every card in the One Piece customizable card game (totaling 266 cards), which also have a ton of art each. In fact, the only downfall to the overall package is the amount of voiceover work that went into the game
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