Dynasty Warriors disguised as One Piece.
What One Piece: Pirate Warriors Got Right
- + Colourful cast and impressive backdrops
- + Cel-shaded art-style is great
- + Extra storylines for One Piece fans
What One Piece: Pirate Warriors Got Wrong
- - Repetitive button-mashing combat
- - Mindless A.I.
- - Lack of diversity in gameplay
Tecmo Koei’s Omega Force division are well known for their loosely historical action games, most notably Dynasty Warriors, and several licensed tie-in spin-offs as a result of partnerships. The latest property to gain their “Warriors” tag is the anime and manga series of One Piece.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors is a faithful adaptation of the franchise and is sure to please hardcore fans of both the anime and manga series, and those who enjoy the style and gameplay of Dynasty Warriors. However, unless you're a hardcore One Piece fan, Pirate Warriors’ repetitive combat, cannon-fodder enemies and lack of variety makes it a PS3 exclusive you can definitely afford to miss.
Pirate Warriors is essentially a playable action hack ‘n’ slash anime. Like its source material, the game follows the crazy adventures of a carefree and kind-hearted young boy named Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of the One Piece series. Luffy gains the properties of rubber and superhuman strength when he accidentally eats a supernatural fruit called the Gum-Gum Fruit, and is able to stretch his body at will. With his powers, he leads the Straw Hat crew across the seas in search of the titular treasure.
Pirate Warriors' story mode, Main Log, allows players to play through the primary storyline as Luffy. Battle mode allows the player to use specific characters in battles. As you progress through the main chapters, the "Another Log" mode unlocks and lets you play through the main game as the other crew members of the Straw Hat Pirates, such as Roronoa Zoro, an expert swordsman, or Nami, a busty thief and pickpocket. There are several stories within Another Log which are exclusive to the game, which is a great treat for One Piece fans looking to experience some new adventures..
evidently draws most of its gameplay elements from the Dynasty Warriors
series with a slightly more comedic and bizarre direction, attributable to the colourful cast and setting of One Piece. But besides the unique backdrops, a couple of puzzles and platforming sections and light exploration, the game has no other unique traits of its own.
Some boss battles prove to be fun and enjoyable thanks to the eccentric nature of the characters and Luffy's bad-ass rubber limbs.
Luffy’s wonderful ability to slap pirate fools with his elongated arms so easily and rapidly is one great element of the One Piece anime which works with the game adaptation: the peculiar elasticity of Luffy's body allows him to propel or accelerate parts or the whole of his body, as if shot by a slingshot, and perform “Gum-Gum actions”, fantastically impossible moves and combos which form the crux of the gameplay.
But other than Luffy's wonderfully imaginative “Gum-Gum actions”, Pirate Warriors frequently and disappointingly retreats back to the core mechanics and gameplay of Dynasty Warriors: fighting hordes of mindless enemies with the same set of moves over and over again. Battles spliced between the storyline are pretty much “defeat every enemy to proceed” scenarios, uninspired boss battles and some quick-time events when reaching the final stages of defeating the area's boss.
Luffy has some movesets and combos to use at his disposal, but you’ll most likely button-mash your way through the levels just to get through the agonisingly simplistic battles. It also doesn’t help that the variety of enemy types and models aren’t very diverse, and serves to make the entire game a dull affair.
Nami is probably the best reason to play through the storyline. You know why.
An online mode is also incorporated. Quick Match and Custom Match allows you to search or create a lobby to find someone to go through a chapter together, essentially acting as a co-op version of Another Log. The only other major difference from single-player is you are granted an online ranking.
In terms of presentation, Pirate Warriors is aesthetically pleasing. Warm and colourful, the cel-shaded backdrops and characters match the anime and manga cutscenes and resembles the art style of its source material for an authentic experience. However, not much else about the game can garner a similar amount of praise.
The Final Verdict
One Piece: Pirate Warriors’ initial drawcard and lasting appeal lies in the amount of vested interest you have in the One Piece universe and broader franchise. If you’re a major fan of Luffy and his crew and their adventures from the anime and manga, then the game’s storyline and eccentric cast of characters will keep you playing, and might be enough to distract you from the disappointingly simplistic and uninspired gameplay and overly repetitive combat mechanics.
By Nathan Misa