|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ganbarion||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: Jan. 22, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jwan Jordan
July 18, 2007 - As an anime fan, I have endured the worst in gaming adaptations of my favorite anime television shows. I've played Dragon Ball Z Sagas, Inuyasha, Eureka Seven, a ton of Naruto titles, and the list goes on. All of which seem to be generic watered down clones of the Dragon Ball Z game developed by Atari. To put it simply, anime games have are never innovative. In most cases, developers just take the cast of characters and throw them into a one on one fighting tournament for no reason. Yet there is now hope for us anime gamers that cover the globe with our Spirit Bomb casting hands. Namco Bandai is currently developing a game based off the popular and awkwardly drawn anime known as One Piece.
Known for its innovation, the Wii isn't bringing us another mediocre anime fighter. The game is titled One Piece: Unlimited Adventure and with good reason because this game looks great! You play as Luffy's team known as the Straw Hat pirates, which includes Luffy, Zolo, Sanji, Chopper, and company. The story takes place on a mysterious island that hides a strange element that can control time. By first glance, it seems the game takes place in the distant future of the series. The cast are dressed in different clothes, slightly similar to their appearance on the current manga and television show. There are also characters onboard that I, personally, have yet to see. One new character being a peculiar looking muscular man who actually looks very entertaining to play as.
As you play the game, all characters are at your access, and you can change to any one of them instantly. Each possesses their trademark fighting styles which makes them true to the manga and TV show. For instance, Zolo, with his promise to be the best swordsman ever, fights using his three sword technique. As he dashes through herds of enemies, the blur effects and graphical dashes add a specific anime style touch that brings a lot to the characters. I can only hope that each character has a specific usefulness that gives you more of an incentive to use them all. As you level up, you develop new moves which add to more flamboyant and deadlier combos. It appears that the many enemies Luffy has made on his adventures will also show their ugly cursed fruit faces.
After you've defeated an enemy in the single player game, he becomes unlocked and you can challenge a second player in versus mode. If you've played One Piece: Grand Battle for the PS2, then you know exactly what to expect: one on one fighting in small arena with a One Piece background setting. The only real difference looks to be the enhanced Wii graphics and fighting with the Wii-mote and Nunchuk. I think the single player game is going to be well worth it though
All the characters can use key items such as nets, fishing rods, and pickaxes. The pickaxe, for example, can be used to break down boulders, and the nets can be used to capture bugs, which I can only imagine bug catching is part of some peculiar type of mini game. One of the more unique features is the use of fish you catch with the use of the fishing pole. After fishing, you can use Sanji, the chef, to cook them into health potions and other useful items, which you can use anytime during gameplay.
Though the Wii isn't necessarily known for it's graphical power, One Piece: UA looks really great. It has a new generation cell-shading effect that brings the characters into a three dimensional world while still keeping their anime appeal. Sanji's flurries of kicks are followed by long wide swipe effects that give a great sense of power, and dashing gives a fast paced blur effect that fans of anime have come to love. As the characters run, jump, and, of course, pose dramatically subtle details such as clothes and capes floating in the wind and water particle effects are done in good measure. Even watching Sanji cook looks cool!
With this being a Wii only title, the Wii-mote and Nunchuk play their parts. Using the bug net or pickaxe, for example, requires you to flip the Nunchuk back and forth in order to pull fish out of the water or break boulders down. A demo showcasing a gamer playing as Zolo the swordsman looked fast paced and enjoyable. Just be sure to move all breakable objects from your immediate surroundings as you play as Zolo while standing in your living room.
One Piece: Unlimited Adventure is shaping up to be the anime game we have all been waiting for. With inspiring anime graphics, great fighting combos, and innovative gameplay, and use of the Wii mote, this is going to be a must have for One Piece fans. Keep checking back for updates!
CCC Freelance Writer