As an absolute fan of One Piece, I was very excited when I heard the news that a game based on this anime was due to arrive to the North American region. It’s great to see Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew of the Straw Hats as they arrive exclusively for the Playstation 3. You’ll engage on an exciting and exhilarating journey battling against other pirate enemies as well as the marines. It’s time to stretch and smash as One Piece: Pirate Warriors are about to get wild!
For the readers who aren’t familiar with the One Piece anime series, Luffy has eaten a devil fruit and granted him the powers of rubber. Thus, he can stretch every part of his body but with a price. Those who possess the powers of the devil’s fruit will not be able to swim and instead will sink and drown into the sea. One day, Luffy does face danger as he ends up in the middle of the sea in the midst of drowning. Luckily, his friend, Shanks, has come to the rescue, but at the expense of losing his arm. Before setting out to sea, Shanks gives Luffy his straw hat and tells him to return to him later on. He too is motivated to set out on an adventure in search for the “one piece” which is the greatest treasure in the world hidden by the pirate king, Gol D. Roger.
Having the graphics presented in a cel-shaded manner is a great choice. It actually feels like you are playing right in the middle of the anime. The characters are well-detailed and remain consistent in terms of their appearances in comparison to their anime counterparts. Although the voice acting is offered solely in Japanese, there are subtitles in English that will allow you to understand what’s going on. It seems that the same voice actors in the anime also participated in this game’s audio. The amazing sound effects especially during battles help to liven things up.
The tutorial in One Piece: Pirate Warriors does a wonderful job in teaching you to hack and slash your way to victory. The combos are simple enough since it involves pressing different face buttons. You control the character’s movement with the left analogue stick while the camera perspective can be shifted using the right analogue stick. Although controlling the camera can be cumbersome at times, the control scheme overall is easy enough for players of all levels and ages to get started immediately.
You take control of Luffy as well as other characters in his Straw Hat crew. This plays out much like the Dynasty Warriors series where you’ll be executing multiple button presses in different sequences to perform combinations of attacks. You can be pulling of Luffy’s gattling gun where he throws a large number of punches in one instance. He can also fling himself onto his enemies as he head-butts them for some real pain. And as always in this type of game, you also have the ability to perform special attacks using the circle button. There are moments where Quick Time Events kick into place. These effectively add more impact to the action as well as breathe life and character to the game. People who appreciate the anime will definitely get quite an enjoyment out of these Quick Time Events.
As you begin the game, you’ll notice that only the Main Log is accessible. This is how you access the main story campaign, which takes you to various key events during the One Piece plotline. These are consistent with and true to the actual anime, which means a great deal to fans, including myself. Every time you complete a stage, you’ll be able to access it in Another Log mode. But this time, you can use other characters including Zoro and Robin, to go through the same action sequence. On top of this mode, there’s also the multiplayer mode where you can play online and engage in the same amount of hack and slash craziness.
Regardless of what mode you choose, there will be hordes of enemies coming at you. Be it the marines or competing pirate crews, you’ll be busy for hours on end as you pull off different types of combos. You’ve also got bosses that keep things challenging for you, especially when you have to take care of the pesky enemies surrounding you. As a result, you’ll be punching and kicking away while at the same time dodging like crazy. But eventually, the gameplay can get old and tiring as all there’s really involved is essentially button mashing.
In One Piece: Pirate Warriors, leveling up is typical during gameplay. This occurs every time you knock out enemies and successfully complete the stages. Every rank up you get will result in a new combo that you can use. Furthermore, throughout your journey, you’ll be able to collect joins which can be used to boost specific character attributes. Players who are seeking to discover every new feature and content in the game will, in effect, be satisfied with One Piece: Pirate Warriors’ unlocking system.
Amongst the games from the Dynasty Warrior series, this particular one, One Piece: Pirate Warriors, is the most excellent despite the somewhat repetitive gameplay. The $49.99 price available only as a download from the Playstation Network may seem like a stretch for players. While fans may jump at the opportunity for this game, others may hesitate especially when they can be weirded out by the anime itself. At the very least, you’ll want to get a “piece” of One Piece in order to get a better idea if this game is for you.