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One Piece: Romance Dawn

Score: 86%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: Three Rings
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG/ Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

Fans of the One Piece series will be very familiar with the characters by now, but they might not have seen any of the origins, of Luffy collecting his crew for the first time. The new One Piece: Romance Dawn will let you play through those origins.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the characters and scenery look pretty much like what you would expect to see based on the series. Your characters are very familiar by now, down to Luffy’s straw hat and Zoro’s green hair. You’ll also see very familiar enemies. Apparently Luffy has been dealing with the same enemies over and over from the moment he met his first crewmate, Zoro. These enemies all look just like you’re used to them as well, which is nice. I like having familiar territory to work with.

They do speak out loud, but it is all in Japanese. You’ll have to read the subtitles for English. It’s really not so bad though because they only speak in cutscenes and outside the action, never during action. This means that you won’t miss anything while reading. As for the background music, you really don’t need it, so if you want to listen to something else while you play, you can.


One Piece: Romance Dawn opens with a very young Luffy telling Shanks that he really wants to come with him. As is normal, Shanks tells him that he is too young. Shanks’ crew discovers that Luffy has eaten the Gum Gum Fruit that they had stolen, which changed his body into rubber, which as we all know by now is his super power. About this time, some bandits enter the place looking for wine, which all the pirates have already drank. The bandits cause some trouble and leave. Later, Luffy finds them talking bad about the pirates, so he tells them to stop. Of course, they don’t listen to him and instead treat him very badly, which is when Shanks shows up to rescue him. Unfortunately, the bandit leader kidnaps Luffy and takes him on a boat which is then attacked by a giant sea monster. Luffy would have been killed except that Shanks shows up and saves him at the last minute. When Shanks and his crew are leaving for good, Shanks gives Luffy his straw hat and tells him that he can return it after he becomes a true pirate. 10 years later, Luffy sets off for his own pirate crew, first killing the sea monster. In the first few minutes of the game, you will see all of this in full detail, giving you the story of Luffy’s origins.

Romance Dawn is a game that is played in separate missions and quests. You will start with one island that you can visit and after you clear it, more will open. When you get to an island, you can choose from six options. Land will obviously land you on the island to start whatever mission or quest is on that island. Room is another option. Inside your Room, you can check up on your character, change their items, and other such things. Item Storage is simply your chest where you hold everything. Your pouch will only hold 30 items, so you’re going to need to keep your stuff somewhere else. Your chest will hold a lot more. Item Foundry is a pretty neat thing. You can use it to craft items rather than buying them. Plus sometimes you make better items than you can buy. You’ll find the plans hidden in chests on various islands. Ship’s Log will let you save and change game options. Finally, there is Help. If you ever forget how to do anything, just go check the Help. Pretty much everything you need to know is in there.


When I first started playing One Piece: Romance Dawn, it was taking a lot longer to kill enemies than I felt it should have. Then I realized that even though One Piece: Romance Dawn is a turn-based game, you do still control where the character starts that turn from. This means that if you’re smart, you will learn how to line up the enemies so that you can hit more than one at a time, especially with a stronger attack, like the Gum Gum Pistol. You can take out a lot of them all in one turn, if you do it just right. One more thing to remember - if you knock the enemies against a wall, it’ll do more damage and sometimes it will make them drop a chest with helpful items. You will also find chests around the level, so break open barrels and crates and open every chest that you find.

I can guarantee that you are going to take damage frequently. You just need to make sure to keep the damage as low as possible. You do not restore to full health when you level like in some games. Even if a character dies in battle, they still get the EXP. All characters are restored to full health at the end of a level when they get back to the ship. There are quick time events, which I still think are a pain, but luckily if you don’t get them on time, you won’t die immediately. You’ll just be hurt a bit usually.

You can’t save just anywhere, but there are save points inside the levels. Some save points will restore you to full health. One thing that is really nice is that you can store your items at a save point. Since you can only hold 30 items in your pouch, but 500 in your storage, it is handy to be able to dump off things that you won’t need during the level, like crafting items. So far, I feel like Romance Dawn has been a game of average difficulty. It starts out pretty easy, but it does pick up as you progress. There is nowhere that you can make it easier or harder, but if you’re having trouble getting through, simply go back and play a previous level to level up your characters a bit more.

Game Mechanics:

One Piece: Romance Dawn sports a turn-based fighting system. Your characters will go based on their speed as will your enemies. You can see whose turn is where on the right side of the screen. All of the action happens on the top screen, while the bottom screen is a map. The map will fill in as you get to places. You use the stick to move around (the D-pad will not move you). (A) breaks opens things and opens chests, and (L) and (R) will turn your camera for you. It took me a bit to get used to the controls. They still feel a bit clumsy, but you do have full control of your viewing experience, which is nice. Since the battles are turn-based, you will be able to choose your moves. (A) is your basic attack and (Y) is your special move. You can also choose to defend, use ability, and get items from your pouch instead of attacking, as well as flee from battle if you really want to. Neither the touch screen nor the 3D are used in Romance Dawn.

One Piece: Romance Dawn is a bit different from the previous One Piece games that I have played, but it is still just as much fun. I do prefer the action battles of the previous games to the turn-based one, but I like the way the turn-based works. I really liked getting to see the story of how Luffy gathered his crew. If you’re a fan of One Piece, you are going to want to play One Piece: Romance Dawn, if only for the story. Plus, it is a fun RPG that you can carry with you anywhere.

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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