One Piece: Romance Dawn
Top Critic Average
Only recommended for those who read this review and still want to buy the game anyway.
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 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 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 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.
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.