One Piece: Grand Adventure hands-on

Grand Adventure mode features tons of story-based battles, and the game's basic fighting engine is just about as solid as we'd expect of a well-done anime fighter, with simple controls and fast, frantic action. A mere two attack buttons keep the attack strings simple (though tapping or holding the buttons sometimes results in additional effects), while long-range grab moves and devastating super attacks provide some variety. You can also pick up and hurl items like barrels. The main gameplay innovation this time out is the accel-heat system, which basically lets you spend power meters to break out of combos or power-up your attacks... at the expense of losing your blocking ability.

In the course of your grand adventure you'll also encounter various types of alternate battles and mini-games, such as one vs. many melees and sports, shooting, and racing-centered challenges. Many of these feature special performance requirements, such as finishing by a certain time or getting a certain score. Measure up and you'll gain special items which can boost your character's stats... or just help them look cooler. A password system will let you transport your custom characters to a friend's game, so you can easily visit the wrath of a level 99 Monkey D. Luffy upon them.

The game looks slick and typically runs extremely smoothly, with some good music and the engagingly enthusiastic English voicework making up the audio. With seemingly all the bases covered, One Piece: Grand Adventure should provide series fans with a lot of high-seas havoc upon its release in a few weeks.