Bandai Namco expands the story of One Piece Odyssey with the DLC Reunion of Memories, but unfortunately the result is below expectations.
Launched on PC and consoles earlier this year, ONE PIECE ODYSSEY it turned out to be a pleasant surprise, not surprisingly we included it in our ranking of the best video games based on anime in the last decade. Assuming that the developer ILCA had come up with new tricks capable of further improving the playful formula of the turn-based role-playing game, we recently tried our hand at the first and only expansion of the product, however discovering a DLC without flashes, devoted to recycling and unexpectedly poor. Below we therefore tell you our consolidated opinions on ONE PIECE ODYSSEY – Reunion of Memories. Come on, it’s time to cast off!
Waford’s Ultimate Mystery
Set immediately after the final showdown of ONE PIECE ODYSSEY, but before the inevitable departure of Luffy and his companions, the “extra” episode restarts from the party held on the legendary Waford island by our heroes.
One step away from weighing anchor and setting sail again, the Straw Hat Pirates participate in the last banquet to properly greet Lim, the young girl who, after initially depriving them of their powers, is so closely tied to the corsairs that she cannot want to say goodbye to him (for all the details, read our review of ONE PIECE ODYSSEY). Just during the celebrations, however, a girl identical to Lim – but characterized by a completely black dress and in possession of a dark cube with a rather threatening air – sends the crew back into Memoria again, trapping them this time in a distorted memory. Catapulted back to Alabasta, Luffy and the others not only realize they can’t leave the reality created from their own memories, but they discover that the story has changed quite a bit from how they remembered it: if the aforementioned Kingdom of Alabasta has completely fallen into the hands of Crocodile, who after acquiring immense power has routed both the Navy and the royal army, to then ascend the throne, the judicial island of Enies Lobby was instead attacked by a notorious pirate intent on freeing his subordinates.
Analyzing the few elements in his possession and once again demonstrating great acumen, Nico Robin therefore deduces that the only way to leave Memoria could be to erase major discrepancies from their memories and restore the original events (not very different from what happened in the “fragmented memories” of the base game).
Instead of losing heart, Straw Hat and his men set off again to stop Crocodile again and remedy all the other anomalies created by the black cube of the false Lim, ignoring that along the way they will have to collide with old enemies and even some historical allies .
A superfluous and avoidable filler
Following the course of the base game’s campaign, the DLC once again makes use of the “World of Memory” to drag Luffy and his companions into one trouble after another. Since the main flaw of ONE PIECE ODYSSEY was the absence of an original narrative structure, we appreciated ILCA’s decision not to give us yet another retelling of already known events and to set up an interesting what if for this round. Also because the Japanese developer seized the opportunity to involve characters in the extra episode that had not appeared in the main game, such as Ener, Perona or the powerful Mihawk.
On the other hand, however, we did not like the team’s choice at all reuse the same settings already explored in ONE PIECE ODYSSEY: instead of recreating Skypiea, Thriller Bark or other important milestones in the journey made by the Straw Hat Pirates, the studio set the DLC in the same islands that we had already revisited last January, triggering an unbearable sense of déjà vu within us. To this it must be added that, while the plot of the tie-in had concluded in a more than convincing way, the last secret of Waford revealed by Reunion of Memories seemed to us basically superfluous and false.
The expansion also disappoints in terms of content, as the package does not include any secondary activities and has even been stripped entirely of the exploratory component that distinguished the main game. Although the unpublished chapter is set in the vast maps of Alabasta, Water Seven, Enies Lobby and Dressrosa, these are not freely explorable; on the contrary, a botched, hasty and too linear narrative structure it tends to automatically advance our heroesentrusting full control to the player only in the vicinity of boss fights or in the rare moments in which the captain is called to choose the path to follow.
So long as the DLC can be completed in as little as 5 hours, the ILCA team has in fact implemented small narrative crossroads which, at least on paper, should entice users to replay the content a second time, in order to take all the selected paths. In practice, however, this solution does not work as it should the various paths lead to the same destination, the differences are minimal and not at all interestingand moreover the two endings of the expansion can be easily unlocked already at the first rodeo (you are one click away from the guide to the endings of ONE PIECE ODYSSEY – Reunion of Memories).
A failed experiment
Ludically speaking, the DLC introduces absolutely nothing to the formula of the main game, if not the Limited Orders. While the Dramatic Scene system of ONE PIECE ODYSSEY set optional conditions which, if met, allowed you to take home a huge amount of bonus experience, the so-called “battles with limited order” can only be overcome if the player fully respects the conditions established from time to time. As a result, in order to continue with the story, you find yourself having to win a certain match within a maximum number of turns, prevent a team member or momentary ally from being knocked out, and so on.
We are convinced that this curious experience has been devised to meet the needs of all those who at the time considered ONE PIECE ODYSSEY too easy and offer them a slightly more demanding challenge. In our opinion, however, the Limited Orders do not raise the level of challenge at all, especially in the case in which the user has already fully upgraded their pets, but on the contrary they are only frustrating, as they force the player to adopt precise tactics and in short deprive him of great freedom which embellished the tie-in’s combat system.
One Piece OdysseyPlayStation 5 Analyzed VersionONE PIECE ODYSSEY – Reunion of Memories is an appendix to say the least listless. Net of interesting narrative premises at first glance, the DLC proved to be disappointing in every respect: an already superfluous and forgettable plot is in this case aggravated by the total removal of the exploratory component, which on balance translates into an extremely linear experience and boring, and from the exasperating recycling of settings and bosses already proposed by the main game. Except for a single semi-unpublished mechanic, which at least in theory should have increased the challenge rate, but which in practice does not greatly influence the overall difficulty of the expansion, the combat system does not offer anything new. Bearing in mind that the longevity barely settles on about five hours, the € 25 required to be able to face the extra episode of the tie-in seem excessive and unjustifiable to us.