One Piece Thousand Storm – Good for Fans but Not Much Else

Set Sail 

It’s time to throw down
with the navy using your hand-picked crew of noble pirates – or something like
that. I’m not super familiar with One Piece, honestly. But One Piece Thousand
Storm is just that: beating up navy baddies and expanding your crew of lovable
miscreants. 

Press Ganged

A pirate captain is
nothing without his crew.

  •  Use medals to acquire new characters and
    upgrade current ones. You earn character medals by completing missions. Once
    you have enough you can spend a bit of coin to use them to recruit someone new
    – or if they aren’t new you can enhance their stats instead.

  • Always equip cards. Each crew member can
    equip 4 cards to start, and that number increases as you enhance them with
    medals. Cards that match the crew member will often give them new combat
    skills, but even mismatched cards will increase their stats so long as they’re
    equipped.

  • Upgrade your cards. You can use duplicates,
    unwanted cards, and other special items to increase a card’s level – thus
    boosting the stat gains and potentially increasing the potency of its
    associated attack skill.

  • Position matters. Most combat abilities have
    a specific area of effect. Know what these are, and try to move your crew to a
    good spot in order to maximize effectiveness against groups of enemies.

  • You can switch between your two active crew
    at any time. Use this to your advantage and call upon crew with the best skills
    for a given situation when you can. Be aware that there’s a cooldown for crew
    that have been swapped out, though.

  • Mind your energy. Special abilities have a
    cost, and if a character runs out of juice they won’t be able to use any of
    them.

Middle of Nowhere

One Piece Thousand Storm
is an okay game that puts a popular license to decent use. It’s not likely to
win anyone new over, but it should please the fans.

You Are a Pirate!

On Piece is the kind of
anime that I’ve always had trouble starting. I know it’s popular, and I know it
has quite a few fans, but I’ve just never been able to put the effort in to checking
it out for myself. There are likely a lot of references in One Piece Thousand
Storm that I just didn’t get, and I’m only mildly familiar with a handful of
characters, so feel free to take my comments about the plot with a grain of
salt. That said, it also didn’t suddenly make me want to binge watch the show,
either.

Fan Serviced

As always (I think),
there’s an over-arching story involving pirates and legendary treasure. You, as
the faceless, almost ethereal protagonist, get to decide which of three
locations you want to be your home in order to determine your loyalties and
your starting crew. Then it’s off to beat up the navy, because getting into
over-the-top anime fist fights on dry land with a militarized force that’s
supposed to be all about boats and the ocean makes sense, I guess?

I’m fairly sure that
even if I were super into the show I’d have nothing nice to say about the
story. You don’t have to be familiar with any of it to see how completely
unimportant and by-the-numbers it is. The script follows along the unwritten
freemium tie-in game checklist pretty consistently. A notable character just
happens to stumble onto you, another notable character provides lazy exposition
on how you have to DO THE THING, tutorial, first notable character asks for
your name, and so on until you either fall asleep during the cutscenes or just
start skipping over them (do this and you’ll likely enjoy the game a bit more).
Lame shoehorned story bits aside, even my limited knowledge self can see that
there’s a pretty big roster of (presumably) popular characters that you can add
to your crew.

When it comes to beating
up the navy, well, it’s largely hands-off. Your active crew members (you can
have several characters but only use two at a time) will wander around the
battlefield and attack enemies autonomously. You can tap on enemies to target
them, tap a location to move to that spot (they’ll start moving on their own
again as soon as they reach it), tap to switch between your two crew members,
and tap to activate special skills. This probably sounds like an issue but to
be honest I actually prefer it to what I imagine the alternative would’ve been:
awkwardly moving around with a virtual stick and mashing a virtual button to
attack until the gameplay becomes more tedious than the story. At least with
this less direct control approach you can usually ignore the mundane stuff and
focus on the strategy of character placement and skill usage.

I find the menus and
non-action elements to be more of a problem, honestly. While the combat is
simple but entertaining for what it is (and also mildly strategic), character
management is a pain. For one thing, menus are the same sort of jumbled mess of
too much information that’s not as important as it wants you to think it is that
you’ll find in lots of free-to-play games. Then there are the scene cards.
These are basically stand-ins for equipment that you can attach to your crew
members in order to boost their stats as well as unlock new combat abilities.
It’s not a bad system so much as a pointlessly convoluted one. Some cards
unlock the same ability for some reason, despite being different cards, and you
can select whichever version of that ability you want but until you upgrade a
given card enough neither one will be better than the other. But sometimes the
skill will improve for some reason. And you can equip cards meant for other
characters in order to get the stat boosts but you won’t get any new abilities
from them. I dunno, I mean I didn’t have trouble figuring any of this out, but
I think it could do with a good streamlining.

Yo-Ho-H’Okay

All told, One Piece
Thousand Storm is an okay game. The combat is decent enough, and there is some
wiggle room for crew customization, but it’s difficult to care enough to want
to continue when the management elements feel more like a chore or a job than a
fun or satisfying thing to do in order to make your crew more formidable. I’d
expect series fans to get a kick out of being able to put their own crew of
favorites together, but outside of that there isn’t anything here that stands
out from the crowd.


– Review by Rob Rich



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