|System: PS2, GC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Cole||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
The title of this game may be somewhat misleading with the word Adventure in it, because One Piece: Grand Adventure is actually a Grand Action game a fighter to be precise.
If you missed the original One Piece which was released last year, youre missing out on one of the most interesting and fun fighting games to come down the pike in a mighty long while. There are places in Canada where you would get into a fight for just using phrases like down the pike and mighty long while. That may or may not be how I got my fat lip. The debut of One Piece was a good one, but it wasnt a perfect game. It was on the right track but the developers needed to refine their vision and bring it on home. Grand Adventure is the homecoming that weve waited a year for.
Based on the anime series, One Piece, which features Monkey D Luffy, a rubber pirate in searching for the legendary One Piece treasure, this is a story that involves beating the snot out of anyone that stands in your way, and some of these enemies are endowed with incredible powers. Monkey D has a motley gang of pals consisting of a chef, swordsman, robber and a clown, to name a few, that will lend him a hand from time to time. You can choose your favorite character at the beginning of the game and explore the 3D environment looking for action wherever you go.
There are two main modes to the game, the Adventure mode which is essentially the Story mode where Monkey goes in search of the treasure. You will navigate your way from port to port using the map to scout out your next location. Along the way you will encounter a variety of enemies to fight and mini-games to complete. The more fights your character wins, the more experience points he will acquire that will be used to increase his powers and unlock new items. These RPG elements add a nice dynamic to the gameplay but compared to a standard RPG game its more of a flavor than the main course. The other main mode is the Grand Battle mode, which gets its name from the original game. The core gameplay is very similar but there are some new features and additions - and overall its just a lot smoother. There are several sub-modes in the Grand Battle mode including Verses, Arena, Tournament, Practice and Special Battle.
Ill make no bones about the gameplay, it can be shallow. The controls and moves are arcade-simple but the fast pace of the game, the variety of animations and the interesting characters make for a very fun and entertaining game. Its great to pick-up-and-play and although its touted as a party game, the lack of more than a two-player mode kind of puts a damper on that. Unless you only have one friend. Its almost a button-masher but the combos and super attacks blend virtually seamlessly, making the combat appear more complex than it really is. Serious hardcore players will find that there are some more complex moves and combos that can be pulled off with a lot of practice, but the game can be very successfully played at a much simpler level. Aside from the spectacular special attacks and combos, you can smash open crates and find a variety of wacky weapons to use on your opponent. Its the games equivalent of power-ups. Anticipating the next unlockable weapon or item keeps things fresh because some of these can take you from zero to hero in one good swipe. I know that may turn some purist fighters off but this game is definitely more focused on fun. Hardcores can put their skills to test in the multi-player modes.
Grand Adventure also has a grand presentation. Its a great looking game, almost rivaling the animation of the cartoon series. Expect to see almost all of the characters from the show as well as some new ones. As for music, there are almost 80 tracks of tunes. Thats a big soundtrack. Could have used more voiceovers. The menus are easy to navigate and the entire game has a clean, colorful, artistic look to it that is very pleasing to the eye. There are 25 different fighters, each with different move sets and unique special attacks. The variety of modes, the insane amount of unlockables and the sheer element of fun makes Grand Adventure a game not to be missed.
CCC Senior Writer