One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Calum Peak 01.03.2012

Review for One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP on Nintendo 3DS

One Piece is originally a Japanese Manga akin to Naruto and Bleach in popularity. The world is in the age of pirates where every sea is a challenge, every isle a danger. The target? The titular treasure that everyone is after. Now, it is not every day that a title like this would get localised, but it appears that there has been a strong bleeding effect from the East in recent years. Enter One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP, produced by Ganbarion, which has nurtured the Jump! series in the past. Unlimited Cruise SP sets to pack the two Wii versions that were available to Japan into one tiny package. After the long wait, does One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP deliver? Sail on to find out…

Right out of the gate One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP proves to be a little disappointing. One Piece appeared to have suffered a little 'lost in translation' -- not all of the content was there. Japanese gamers received two story arcs (Part 1: Treasure Beneath the Waves, Part 2: Awakening of a Hero) and the Marinford Episodes, which follow the manga arc. Unfortunately it appears that Part 2 hasn’t made it to European shores, leaving us with Part 1 and the Marinford episodes to play through -- poor call, Ganbarion.

Onwards then, following Monkey D. Luffy and the rest of the Straw Hat crew, as they find their regular travels interrupted. Luffy is briefly captured, being told that four special treasures await, and that all the crew are whisked away to four islands that have appeared. Here the main meat of the game commences, which involves exploring as much of the island as possible to progress. This brings in some problems; the pacing at the start is extremely slow and monotonous. You can switch between crew members at any time to help you take on repetitive enemies, but there are only so many times you can mash the 'A' button. Thing is, you are expected to level-up your characters through use, so they start off with a very basic move set that gets better over time. However, instead of sharing experience across all the crew members, you have to level all nine characters individually -- better get your thumbs limbered up then.

Similarly, the main adventure also suffers from severe grinding for items to convert in order to progress. This isn’t helped by the fact that the platforming controls are a bit on the loose side -- traversing ledges can result in some frustrating falls and a few choice words. Level design on the whole is a decent affair. Across the four themed islands there is plenty to explore, and areas open up in a Metroid-esque fashion as abilities build, allowing for the discovery of more hidden loot. Each island has its own look and feel, presented cleanly with bright visuals, although textures can be a bit on the basic side. The frame-rate is also consistently poor, regardless of 2D or 3D modes.

Screenshot for One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP on Nintendo 3DS

Fans will be happy to hear many of the tunes make an appearance from the anime series, albeit adapted. However, character sounds get repetitive to the point of annoyance quickly -- every attack, sprint and action is voiced...every single time.

As opposed to the RPG style play, the Marinford episodes follow in the footsteps of the manga arc. Here you take control of a wide range of characters to fight a plethora of bosses from all angles of the siege. One bout of combat will see you as the Straw Hats, whilst the next will have you wrecking whole armies as the White Beard pirates. Unfortunately, these episodes feature similar problems to the main adventure in regards to combat and frame-rate and only offer a brief reprise from the main campaign; it will only last a few hours. Players unfamiliar with the world of One Piece may also find the story a little difficult to understand without knowing the entire backstory to the confrontations.

Whilst the premise might seem promising, One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP is far from a stellar game. With a very slow start and clunky mechanics, players will find it difficult to get into, even fans. Top this off with the fact that the full game isn't even included at full price and the drawbacks keep piling up. However, the game does pick up some steam later on, it is just whether it is worth your time or not to reach that stage...

Screenshot for One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP has an enjoyable story locked away, but digging it out takes quite some time. Characters all have their quirky idiosyncrasies and the world is vast. It is just a shame that so much content has been cut from the European version, and that it is plagued with a whole host of other issues. One Piece: Unlimited Cruise SP is a game for the fans only, and even they might feel insulted by it.


Namco Bandai


Namco Bandai





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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