Gaming

One Piece Odyssey Hands-On: Open world, tactical battles

Designed like a true JRPG, felt like it too

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It dawned upon us that BANDAI NAMCO is known for having a string of One Piece video games out there. Across multiple systems, the franchise mostly hosted a ton of role-playing games and some fighting games here and there. This time around, the company is looking for some way to merge the two themes into the next generation.

One Piece Odyssey is the fruit of their labor, and is initially designed to be a “fully-fleshed out JPRG” by their standards. Their new, next-gen optimized title brings together all the role playing mixed with turn-based combat. All in an ideally open world setting. Of course, the stars of the show include your favorite characters from the popular anime itself!

We got a chance to try this game out for ourselves at the Thailand Game Show 2022. Here’s what we think about this upcoming JRPG:

The Straw Hat Pirates journey into the unknown

In One Piece Odyssey, you join the Straw Hat Pirates in an adventure to a mysterious island called Waford. Legend has it that it’s a place where no journeyman has ever come back, as a wild storm covers the island and all nearby areas. During the Thailand Game Show preview, we even got a preview of one of the areas you can visit, Alabasta.

No One Piece game is complete without the full force of the Straw Hat Pirates as some of your favorite characters are here. From Monkey D. Luffy to Chopper, everyone has a role to play especially in a more open world setting. Of course, it wouldn’t be an adventure without some back and forth banter within the crew, especially with the members you take with you. I only wished that the banter didn’t take up 60% of the time you spend playing the game.

Much like any open world game, you also get your fair share of main and side quests with the rest of the crew. With these, you get to explore some of the areas in a whole new way and even discover some secrets to help clear the storm. Visually, everything looked detailed enough and designed well against the One Piece art style.

Turn-based combat with some rock-paper-scissors

As a Japanese RPG, there’s no better way to express it than through turn-based, command-focused combat. For One Piece Odyssey, this comes in the form of enemy Encounters throughout both main and side quests that are usually done with groups of enemies. Much like all other JRPGs, each character comes with their own set of attacks designed for either combat or support.

In a rather unique twist, Encounters come with enemies in which you are either strong or weak against. Think of it like playing Pokémon but with One Piece characters and enemies, which I honestly found pretty cool. Instead of going into every battle and just keep attacking, there’s an added layer of strategy added to it. At the end of each Encounter, your crew members earn XP and even level up to gain some strength and attribute boosts.

Also, as an additional combat mechanic, you can even initiate attacks that deal damage within an area-of-effect and can heal other members, given the open world setting. This is honestly good when dealing with hordes of enemies during specific Encounters. Although, this is only available for a specific set of characters, so choose wisely.

Need more plot details

The thing though is, well, the short demo we played during the Thailand Game Show 2022 didn’t really provide much details on the full story. Somehow, the gang found themselves already within the island areas, fighting a storm that clouds the whole area. Also, there are a bunch of new characters you will meet along the way.

As revealed during the TGS 2022 festivities, One Piece Odyssey comes with the arrival of Lim and Adeo, two mysterious characters with their own sets of abilities. Although, it’s quite unclear as to what their intentions are for the Straw Hat Crew. Hopefully, more details will be revealed soon.

Overall, One Piece Odyssey serves up a promising title for JRPG fans and even One Piece fans alike. I honestly enjoyed the short time experiencing this game, from the exploration to the combat mechanics. If anything, I can give the amount of dialogue in between loading and cutscenes a pass despite how much of your time is consumed by it.

You might have to wait a while for the full game as One Piece Odyssey will be available January 2023 for both modern and next-gen consoles plus the PC.

Gaming

Microsoft is being prevented from buying Activision Blizzard

Sued by the FTC

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The year started off with a bang. Microsoft, already a respectable name in the gaming industry by itself, announced the impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard for US$ 68.7 billion. Perhaps it’s fitting that the year will end right back where it started. The FTC is officially suing Microsoft to block the monumental purchase from going through.

Announced today, the United States’ FTC (or Federal Trade Commission) has filed a legal claim against Microsoft, stating that the acquisition will allow the company to suppress competition between its rivals in the gaming industry. The commission believes that it has enough to effectively block the purchase. Allowing Microsoft to go through with the purchase will supposedly enable the company to prevent Activision Blizzard’s titles — including the Call of Duty franchise — from coming out easily on other platforms.

Since the announcement of the acquisition, Activision Blizzard has gone through a rocky year. The company had its dirty laundry aired out: a plethora of disagreeable practices from within the company. Exacerbated by the rocky launches of Diablo Immortal and Overwatch 2, it’s not exactly a stellar year for the company.

In fact, it’s not a good year for monopolistic practices either. Recently, Ticketmaster found itself under the microscope after a massive kerfuffle preventing Taylor Swift fans from purchasing tickets to the star’s upcoming concert.

While the deal between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard is still up in the air, it seems company acquisitions aren’t as easy as this year has made them out to be.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft announces a modular Adaptive Mouse

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Buyer's Guide

PlayStation gift ideas for 2022: The best of the best

God of War: Ragnarök tops the list

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Gamers, rejoice! The Christmas season is finally here. That means it’s also the perfect time to secure PlayStation titles and peripherals to boost the gaming experience. Here are some of the best gift ideas for gamers on both PS4 and PS5:

UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection

This collection retails for PhP 2,490 and includes both critically acclaimed single player adventures, UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End and UNCHARTED: The Lost Legacy.

Dive into complex history from the point of view of thieves Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer. Its PlayStation 5 option is remastered with improved visuals and framerate.

God of War: Ragnarök

Already widely considered as the game of the year, Santa Monica Studio’s sequel to the 2018 God of War features Kratos and Atreus going on a mythic journey across nine realms together before Ragnarök arrives.

Kratos will use his weapons like the Leviathan Axe and Blades of Chaos as he puts everything on the line to fight for family while facing fearsome enemies from Norse gods to wild beasts.

God of War: Ragnarök is priced at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Horizon Forbidden West

From Sony comes an action RPG wherein Aloy braves the Forbidden West, a frontier that conceals mysterious threats.

The adventure will take gamers to a far-future, post-apocalyptic world of Horizon where land is dying and vicious storms keep ravaging what’s left of humanity.

That said, it will be up to Aloy to uncover the secrets, forge alliances, and defeat the enemy to prevail.

Horizon Forbidden West is available at PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7

For those into racing, Gran Turismo 7 brings together the very best of the Real Driving Simulator.

The game reintroduces GT Simulation Mode, on top of the head-to-head GT Sport Mode, GT Campaign, Arcade, and Driving School.

With over 420 cars available at Brand Central and the Used Car Dealership from day one and over 90 track routes including classics, Gran Turismo 7 promises both unparalleled detail and experience.

You can purchase the game for PhP 3,490 for PS5 and PhP 2,990 for PS4.

The Last of Us Part I

The Last of Us Part 1

The multi-awarded game gets a PlayStation 5 treatment. Protagonist Joel smuggles 14-year-old Ellie out of a military quarantine zone, which jumpstarts a brutal cross-country journey.

This package includes The Last of Us single-player story and celebrated prequel chapter, Left Behind, which explores the events that changed the lives of Ellie and her best friend Riley forever.

The Last of Us Part I costs PhP 3,490 as well.

Gaming peripherals

As for accessories, you should get your hands on the DualSense Wireless Controller for PS5 which now comes in new colors. The controllers are now available in Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Galactic Purple, and Nova Pink, as well as Gray Camouflage.

It is available in all PlayStation authorized dealers starting at PhP 3,990.

Speaking of those colors, one can now customize their console itself with the PS5 Console Covers which are priced at PhP 3,090.

To complete the immersive gaming experience, the PULSE 3D Wireless Headset delivers with PS5 system’s Tempest 3D AudioTech and comes with dual noise-cancelling microphones.

It is available for PhP 5,590 in Midnight Black and Gray Camouflage.

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Gaming

Xbox will raise prices of new titles next year

Will soon cost US$ 69.99

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New video games are expensive. Since the launch of the PlayStation 5, stores have been charging US$ 69.99 for every new release. On the flip side, Microsoft has kept its own slate of titles at the usual US$ 59.99 price point. However, that’s about to change next year. The company is raising the prices of first-party Xbox titles to US$ 69.99 next year.

In a recent statement (via The Verge), Microsoft has announced that new next-gen titles coming from Xbox Game Studios next year will face a price hike to reflect their “the content, scale, and technical complexity.” The announcement specifically names Forza Motorsport, Redfall, and Starfield (incidentally, one of the most anticipated titles next year) as part of this starting slate.

Prior to today’s status quo, new titles always sold for US$ 59.99. By itself, the old price tag is already hefty. However, it was one that was eventually accepted, especially after increasingly longer playthrough times.

Now, however, players are once again in a renewed state of justifying the expensive prices of new games. Titles are US$ 10 more expensive these days. Plus, special editions, which are becoming more common, have even higher price points.

If anything, Microsoft has waited until after the holidays before hiking prices up. If you were looking at a new title for your Xbox Series X/S, the holidays might be the best time to grab it. Or, as always, you can pay the monthly price of an Xbox Game Pass to access a trove of titles including new ones.

SEE ALSO: Xbox outsells the PlayStation for the first in 11 years

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