Wii owners who are passionate about manga and anime will have enthusiastically welcomed the announcement of One Piece: Unlimited Cruise exclusively for the Nintendo console. It will have been less fun to discover that this title has been divided into two parts for purely economic reasons, a clear sign that times have changed and it is difficult to expect (especially from a tie-in) extremely full-bodied and long-lived products. One thing, however, is really hard to complain: the commitment that the developers of the Ganbarion team have made to make the game more faithful
possible to the manga as regards the story (completely unpublished), the dialogues (often really funny) and the presence of all the characters so far appeared in the series. For a One Piece fan, watching the numerous interlude sequences present in Unlimited Cruise is really a blast, also thanks to the excellent polygonal models used for the occasion, which reproduce in the best way the physical appearance and facial expressions of Monkey D. Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Usopp, etc. Very often the purchase of this kind of products is recommended only to fans, and we are certainly not faced with an exception: "to bear" the game mechanics behind One Piece: Unlimited Cruise 2 - The Awakening of a Hero is a feat that only fans of the manga and / or animated series will be able to support. Let's be clear: the developers have had several interesting ideas and the control system appears well studied and suited to the peculiarities of the Nintendo console, but in the end the action is limited to very long exploration phases rather sterile and limited, enlivened only by dozens and dozens of RPG-worthy casual fights. Obtained the X object through the classic backtracking, you can access a new portion of the map and maybe face a boss.
The fruit of the devil
A limited and repetitive gameplay, then? Let's say that the element of variety is represented almost exclusively by the growth of the characters, who in Unlimited Cruise can not only become more powerful and more resistant as they eliminate legions of opponents, but see their arsenal of moves enriched accordingly. Let's take Luffy, for example: at the beginning his attack combo is simply made up of a punch and a kick, but through the level-up not only is this enriched by a devastating further movement ("gom-gom ax"), but it is flanked by accessory attacks as fun to perform (shaking the Wii-mote, perhaps, as in the case of the flurry of punches) as spectacular to see.
It's a shame that the practice of focusing on empowering a single character doesn't pay off in the end, especially in this second part of UC. Once the game has started, in fact, we are asked if we want to import the save of the first episode, which we may have completed in the meantime. If we do, we can have characters already enhanced immediately and make them even stronger, managing to cope with practically every threat in the best way; if we don't, we have to "start over" and that can be a big problem, as even some of the "base" opponents turn out to be quite resistant to our best hits. In short, privileging some characters of the crew rather than others comes almost natural, but this practice pays a heavy price when the time comes to face a boss and our favorites are neutralized: we then find ourselves hitting the enemy with the characters we have not enhanced. , equipped only with ineffective basic attacks. The selection system has not changed: just press the "-" button on the Wii-mote to open a screen from which it is possible to change our alter-ego by choosing it from the nine available. Their characteristics have not changed, so there is Usopp who specializes in ranged attacks thanks to his slingshot and various weapons, Zoro who has the best "melee" attacks due to the three swords wielded at the same time, Sanji who confirms himself as powerful as it is fast, etc.
Cruise without limits
One Piece: Unlimited Cruise 2 - The Awakening of a Hero begins where the first part ends, so Luffy and his companions find themselves having to return to the islands they have already explored to restore Gabri to his original form. Fortunately, the landscape of each location has changed radically, so it is in effect moving within new stages, albeit characterized by a less inspired design than previously seen. The system of transforming objects into points is what we already know and pushes us to interact with the scenario whenever we can to collect something. Materials can
subsequently be worked on to create extra equipment and tools such as bridges, "slings" and ladders. The minigames in which you have to use the motion detection system of the controller have been increased, but still remain very simple and limited. In the eyes of One Piece fans, the resolution of the puzzles related to the collection of objects can give great satisfaction, given that in these cases the plot advances and you can see how the various characters behave in the face of the new discoveries made on the islands. From the technical point of view, no changes are noticed, so on the one hand we have the aforementioned polygonal models well designed and faithful to the Oda line, also equipped with a good set of animations, on the other hand a decidedly dancing frame rate, which alternates phases very fluid (60 fps?) to others jerky, denouncing more than a lack in the work of optimizing the graphics engine. Everything that appears on the screen is colorful and lively, but it certainly cannot be said that the design of the scenarios and of the enemies is up to expectations: we find ourselves exploring very bare and repetitive locations, which represent a step backwards compared to those present in Unlimited Cruise 1, while the opponents boast few variants. The game's dialogues are spoken in Japanese and subtitled in Spanish, while the music and effects do a discreet but not exciting job.
Given its particular nature, it is difficult to assess One Piece: Unlimited Cruise 2 - The Awakening of a Hero without referring to the episode that came out three months ago. Taken in its entirety, the new adventure of Luffy and his crew will be able to win over fans of the series as well as leave everyone else indifferent. Due to the type of structure, this second part struggles a bit to stand on its legs and it is strongly recommended to start it only after recovering the rescue of UC1. The combat system has not changed, the moves available to the nine characters are numerous and the use of the Wii-mote appears basic but effective. There remains the problem of managing the view, unfortunately very bad, while it seems that a step backwards from the point of view of the scenarios has been taken. If you bought Unlimited Cruise 1 and you are a One Piece fan, it would be stupid to deprive yourself of the second part of the story. Don't expect any news, though ...
- One Piece fans will be thrilled
- Great character growth system
- Colorful graphics and very faithful to the manga
- Mediocre scenarios
- Strongly repetitive action
- Nothing new compared to the first part