The One Piece anime and manga is super popular with its colorful characters and stories of adventure. The show was popular enough to bring about the creation of various video games, some of which step away from the canon established in the show. One Piece: Unlimited World Red was a game release on the PlayStation 3, which told a story about the Straw Hat crew outside of what happens within the Grand Line; you can check out my full review of the PlayStation 3 version here. The game was also released both on the 3DS and PlayStation Vita, a port of what was in the console version of the game.
What is here on both platforms is essentially the exact same game that was on the PlayStation 3. The story, characters, missions, and extras are all pretty much identical to their console counterpart. The differences, however, lie in both the limitations of both the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita, which yield some interesting positives and negatives to say the least. It is a bit unfortunate that there is no exclusive content or real incentive to draw gamers towards buying the portable versions of the game, unless you are a real die hard One Piece fan and want to own every version of the game.
On the PlayStation Vita, many of the assets and renders retain some of their quality on the portable system. While not looking as pristine as the models on the PlayStation 3, the Vita version of One Piece: Unlimited World Red still looks pretty good. One of the main differences, however, is the lack of the back shoulder buttons on the PS3 controller. To compensate, the actions and moves are remapped to a combination of buttons on the Vita. This changes up a bit of the fluidity during the action in battles and roaming around, but not to the point of being detrimental to the experience. There is cross-save functionality between the PlayStation 3 version and the Vita version, so you’ll be able to continue playing with your data on the go. There is no other communication between both systems however, so you won’t gain much of anything having both versions.
On the Nintendo 3DS side of things, the differences become a bit more obvious. The bottom screen of the 3DS serves as a map screen, as well as a display of different objectives and stats. This is immediately more helpful compared to the PS3 and Vita versions, as you don’t have to constantly pause to view the map screen. This change makes the experience of playing One Piece: Unlimited World Red arguably more enjoyable for longer durations. Graphically, the 3DS version is the most inferior of all, as the models and environments all seem to have more jagged edges and less detail in the textures. There are no Street Pass features, which is a shame because such a thing could have been the real pull for fans to get the 3DS version of the game and interact with other players, as well as add some additional replay value for the title.
Sadly, the portable versions of One Piece: Unlimited World Red don’t address any of the console version’s issues. Enemy AI is still poorly programed, getting around areas take a long time, and the boss fights are still terribly unbalanced. If you had the choice of getting either one of the portable versions of the game, the Nintendo 3DS version would be my suggestion. The cross-save functionality isn’t really enough to justify buying the Vita version, especially if you are already playing through on the PlayStation 3. The 3DS version, while not much better, at least has the map screen and objectives on the bottom screen, which is helpful despite being graphically inferior to the Vita and PS3. Ultimately though, these games are just as bad as their console counterpart and are still not the One Piece games that fans deserve.
This review was based off physical copies of One Piece: Unlimited World Red for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita provided by Bandai Namco.