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One Piece Unlimited Cruise SP 3DS review

Half Piece: Limited Cruise, more like

While we're grateful that Europe is suddenly getting a lot of games long before they're even confirmed for America, like Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower, it doesn't necessarily follow that the games in question are always worth shipping over from Japan. Sadly, One Piece Unlimited Cruise SP is a good example of this.

It's basically a 3DS port of the Wii game, One Piece Unlimited Cruise Part 1, that sees you taking control of Luffy and a bunch of his fellow pirates as they explore various islands in search of the One Piece, the ultimate treasure.

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The Japanese version of this game contains both parts of Unlimited Cruise, instead of just the first one, meaning this version is essentially missing half of the game. Still, this wouldn't be a problem if the main game itself was fun and, while there's definitely some enjoyment to be had from One Piece 3DS, the game seemingly does its best to hide it from you.

The opening few hours are an immensely dull grind, as you slowly run around an island fighting countless identical enemies, collecting items and bringing them back to various crystals on the island, unlocking new areas every time you've collected enough.

The lack of any meaningful tutorials or instructions means many players will get frustrated wandering around, and navigating the samey levels is a chore.

Pieces Of Hate

Things do eventually pick up as you start to build up your characters' abilities, the enemies begin to show some variation and you get to travel to new areas, but by that point you're likely to be sick of the whole thing and ready to jack it in.

Add to that the choppy frame rate in both 2D and 3D and the lack of an English voiceover (we prefer the Japanese one anyway, but it's hardly that familiar to younger fans of the One Piece cartoon in Europe) and it's difficult to like this game.

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The one shining light is Marineford mode, a very short story mode that takes place during the cartoon's Marineford story arc and focuses on battling, rather than adventuring. This is more enjoyable than the main grindfest, though you'll likely finish it in an hour or two.

Stick with One Piece and you will eventually begin to enjoy it, as it does become a decent little action-adventure game. The question is whether or not the end justifies the means, though, and not many people will think the effort you put in slogging through the game's opening hours will be worth the pay-off.

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