Top Critic Average
Romance Dawn is a misfire all around that only the absolute most completist of One Piece fans should give it a look. It’s a shame, because One Piece is normally something quite wonderful. Such a waste.
Overall: If you’re a One Piece noob, it’s a 6/10. It plays fine but suffers from a ‘this is for the fans’ attitude. This of course could also be a positive thing, and if you’re a huge fan of the series it’s probably going to be closer to a 7 or even an 8/10.
If you're a One Piece fan and you want to relive the story, this game's as good an excuse as any; however, One Piece Romance Dawn is not recommended for just about anyone else.
One Piece: Romance Dawn is easy to summarize: It just isn’t any fun. I have no doubt that it could have been fun. As an outsider to the series, I was excited to see what it was all about. I had grand ideas of exploring the seas, fighting rival pirates, and experiencing a great story. All of those elements are here (kind of), but it’s surprising how lame they become thanks to terrible design. Ultimately, this game isn’t worth the time of anyone but the most devoted and patient fans of the series. The 3DS has several RPGs that are far more entertaining.
One Piece: Romance Dawn is an attempt to fit a vast amount of story into a concise RPG, but the result is flimsy and underdeveloped. The turn-based battle is fun in a very average way, and the rest of the experience tempted me to put down my 3DS and just watch the One Piece anime instead. It’s not a complete disaster by any means, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to play a condensed version when the source material is readily available.
One Piece: Romance Dawn is a great idea that was poorly executed. While fans and newcomers will appreciate the story, the gameplay feels like an afterthought. It becomes bland after mere hours and starts to feel like you’re going through the motions. This is not the reaction you want in an RPG, especially a long one like Romance Dawn.
One Piece: Romance Dawn has some potential, but the long drawn out cut-scenes and lack of difficulty in the combat drags it down. Every level feels like it’s five to ten minutes of wandering around and fighting, then the same amount of time with the cut-scenes. Unless you’re a huge One Piece fan, you might want to think twice before picking this one up. It’s not terrible, but it definitely has its flaws.
If the presentation wasn't so horrible, One Piece: Romance Dawn would be a decent way for a JRPG fan to spend an afternoon after they've exhausted their library of other more innovative titles. If you've always wondered what the fuss was with One Piece, you'd be better off watching the show or playing the fun, but flawed Pirate Warriors series.
If I haven't made this clear enough - this is a bad game. And yet, I couldn't stop playing it. Perhaps because it's so simple, it's easy to tune out to while I'm playing it. Like a bit of pulp fiction (or, indeed, the typical manga), Romance Dawn is a "page turner" without being remotely memorable.
Newcomers and veterans alike will scratch their heads at missing plot points or elements that are simply glossed over leaving only hardcore fans knowing what exactly is going on. The presentation is acceptable, but the surprising lack of stereoscopic 3D and some weird animations will make it not all exactly tick. The open sea of 3DS software has a bevy of good games to explore but sadly, Romance Dawn isn't one of them.
It would have been fine to integrate the storytelling in the play—of which there is absolutely none—and had a “meh” battle system, because that would bring this up a few notches. But instead, it’s little more than an interactive manga with some battles tossed into some of the most boring environments this side of Dragonball Evolution. In fact, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but give me Dragonball Evolution instead of Romance Dawn. At least then I feel like I’m playing something.
One Piece: Romance Dawn probably won’t be the worst anime based RPG you play, but it will certainly be one of the laziest designed. The combat system may be engaging enough for fans who are already familiar enough with the story to know what to expect, but for newcomers this game is a disservice to the fun of the series. Someday, when a better title takes its place, Romance Dawn will have a respectful position for where it all began. But for now, this is just a dud of a game in the box of a collectible import.
While I hoped that Romance Dawn would remind me why I was ever interested in One Piece in the first place, it instead cemented the idea that this series and game just isn’t for me. It’s not worth the time of all but the most hardcore of fans.
Sailing the seas, encountering strange and weird enemies and boss battles, and seeing Luffy’s strange rubbery elastic body, One Piece: Romance Dawn had the potential to be a fun, action filled turn-based RPG, but instead Three Rings Inc. has developed something that is a complete wreck.
It’s my understanding that previous One Piece video games have established a positive reputation both among the series’ fans and the gaming community. If that’s the case, it’ll be better for both parties to ignore this title and hope outsiders will do the same in hopes of preserving that standard.
One Piece's 3DS debut in One Piece: Romance Dawn sets sail but is quickly sunk under monotonous fights, endless corridor roaming that would put Final Fantasy XIII to shame, and a recurring reminder that it is merely a slapdash port adapted to none of the 3DS' strengths.
Frankly, it’s difficult to ascertain who would glean any semblance of enjoyment from One Piece Romance Dawn. Any ardent fan of the Straw Hat Pirates’ escapades will only find themselves angered by how little effort has gone into this tawdry misadventure, whereas this paragon of poor design will do nothing to bring new fans into the flock. Namco Bandai has published a number of surprisingly solid titles tied to their Shōnen Jump properties in recent years, but they've indisputably missed the boat on making One Piece Romance Dawn anywhere close to worth playing.
At best, Romance Dawn is a no-frills JRPG that relies on an almost photographic memory of the anime to enjoy. At worst, it’s a boring, monotonous slog through a universe you never feel like you belong to. If I hadn’t already sunk 20 hours into this adventure and were given the choice to do it all over again or take a long walk off a short plank, I’d take my chances at the bottom of Davy Jones’ locker. Do yourself a favor and watch the anime instead.
If nothing else, Three Rings could have put in the extra man hours to salvage Romance Dawn from the germinating trash heap of poorly actualized One Piece games by at least paying tribute to Oda's spirited creation. Yet, since they abstain from doing so, apparently with almost every fiber of their being, they've put forth a product so systematically undercooked as to make even the most unflappable One Piece zealots question their faithfulness.