Do you like One Piece? Do you not consider yourself a masochist? Have you ever wondered what makes video games fun? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may want to tread carefully from here on out.
And for everyone who saw my poll last week – this is that post. I really wish this game was just an April Fools’ joke.
This game is called Anime Pirates, also referred to as “One Piece Online.” I played the game twice, for about an hour each time, and I left each session with a literal headache.
As someone generally unfamiliar with both browser-based games and One Piece, this was an odd thing for me to play – I didn’t quite know what to expect, especially in how it might differ from more “traditional” console gaming. While it turned out to be along the lines of what I expected, the discrepancies are merely glaring faults with this game.
After logging in, you have the option to choose one of six character classes – summoner, swordwoman (unfortunately, while it actually says “swordwomen,” it’s only one person), magician, swordman, gunner, and archer. I chose the derpy “swordman,” named him Jebediah, and began my bizarre adventure.
And as you can see from the bar above the game screen, you are always having a few things pushed in your face – a link to the Facebook page, a link to “Top up” (aka micro-transactions), and more. If you log on from the main site, you’ll come across this, but if you log in with the link at the end of this post, you can avoid it.
After entering the game, you’ll be greeted by two things – an introduction area with several characters involved in the first quests, and some awful English. As one example, this is what the login message said – “Welcome to One Piece World! Get your dream and become King of Pirates; Recruit crew as much as possible; Playing too long is not good for your health; Enjoy your Healthy Life!” Besides this, the dialogue is incomprehensible much of the time, explanations are difficult to understand… it’s bad. I can certainly understand that everyone isn’t going to write and speak in perfect fluent English, but when you’re releasing a game exclusively in English, you need to at least make sure it’s understandable.
Ignoring the terrible English, I think all of the quest related characters originate from One Piece – I do remember that Luffy showed up for some unexplained reason towards the end of my session. Unfortunately, the quests are probably the worst part of the game. In order to complete quests, you do not need to manually walk anywhere, you do not need to manually fight opponents, you do not need to do much of anything on your own.
As you can see, there is a “Click for auto” command. By clicking on the green text next to the arrow, you will automatically walk wherever you need to go for the next quest. Of course, this is bugged in this very first level, because while it says at this point that I was supposed to go to Captain Jack, he has nothing to say when I talk to him. Ace on the other hand, who has an exclamation point above his head, does have the next quest for me.
In the above screenshot, you can also see that there is a lot going on across the screen. As even more commands are added, it can be a bit frustrating to try and remember what is located where, not to mention what they actually do, and this is made even worse by poor menu design. The left half of the screen just has character stats and the chat box, so it doesn’t feel as congested.
As with any other RPG, the team can be equipped with armor, although it can also be temporarily “enhanced.” I didn’t play long enough to notice the advantages of this, as everything was so easy that I didn’t even need to think about it. In fact, it would have been a waste of precious energy to think about it, because all battling happens automatically.
After accepting a quest and automatically teleporting to the battle field, all the player needs to do is click on an opponent and watch. As you get farther in the game, you unlock formations to arrange your crew, which can make or break your success, but it feels like an extremely artificial means of limiting success. For the most part, it relies on pure chance until you start to recognize what patterns work against what. With the entire thing relying on the setup alone, it becomes painfully boring.
The only game I can think of that used the “don’t pick manual commands” idea is Final Fantasy XIII, but even then manual commands were an option and necessity at times, and battles weren’t something that you would merely sit back and watch.
It was very disappointing to see that the greatest potential redeeming factor turned out to be one of the worst parts of the game. So as a whole, the gameplay is extremely boring. Everything that could have at least been decent was handled terribly and serves to remove all potential fun from the game.
I didn’t play enough to see any semblance of an interesting story – it all seemed like a bunch of disjointed tasks that merely took me from place to place. The music in the game isn’t too bad, but it can get very repetitive. The visuals are better than I expected and also had the advantage of not causing my laptop to explode. Of course, there are also frequent events where text does not fit in the available space. When the English is difficult to understand in the first place, not being able to actually see all of the text adds to the issue.
As sad as it may be, there are also some noteworthy issues that have nothing to do with actually playing the game.
My first issue with the game was an expected one as soon as I saw the game referred to as “One Piece Online” – the game seems to be infringing on the copyrights of Shueisha (the publisher of Japan’s Weekly Shōnen Jump) and whoever else owns rights to One Piece. Nowhere on the site does it say anything about who owns the rights or that they’re licensed to use them for the game. Along with this, the company (PlayWebGame, not to be confused with PlayWebGames) only has two games, the other being a Naruto one.
Another issue with the game was when I wanted to log back in. Depending on where you logged into the site, whether through the normal website or the link I have at the end, your login credentials will need to be different. Why? If I knew, I would have avoided a pointless headache.
So, this is literally one of the most boring video games that I have ever played. There is nothing remotely fun about this game – it is literally just clicking on what to do next and then watching it happen.
So, to sum up the positives and negatives of Anime Pirates.
+ One Piece art style and characters
+ Visuals are better than expected
~ Music is okay, but gets repetitive
– (Probably) not copyrighted
– Beyond boring
– Awful English
– “Click to advance”
– Automatic battles
– Terrible menu design and explanation
– Coherent story?
– In only an hour of playing, I ended up with an awful headache – twice
Overall – 2/10.
Frankly, this game is awful in nearly every way that matters. I feel bad for the One Piece fans who were expecting something at least halfway decent out of this. If the developers want this game to actually have an impact in English-speaking countries, they need to at least give everything a complete rewrite.
If you want to play this game, you can sign up here. If you decide to play this game and pay for some of the micro-transaction based bonuses, I get 10% of it by commission. The sadist in me wants everyone to click that link, but you’ll probably live longer if you choose not to.
I considered putting together a decent featured image, but my migraine from playing this game convinced me otherwise. And no “Albums of the Week” this week either. I hope you at least like the blog’s new background – more info on the “finer details” page.
In better news, the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Rebellion BD/DVD release is this week! I’ll hopefully receive my limited edition set before the weekend and get working on my post – it’ll be the same general deal as what I did for the first two Madoka movies and my Bakemonogatari set. If I do get it by the weekend, I will definitely have my review posted no later than Saturday night. If I don’t get it by the weekend, I’m going to cry myself to sleep while eating delicious ice cream and watching K-ON! for the hundredth time.