One Piece Pirate Warriors is an action game based on the Japanese graphic novel. One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, who are all trying to search for the One Piece treasure. Pirate Warriors covers the first half of the One Piece series, with the end being of the game taking place at the time-skip. The game however does leave out a few arcs, with one missing major arc being Skypiea.
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Tecmo Koei, Omega Force
Genre: Action//Hack-and-Slash, Fantasy
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: March, 2012 (JP); September, 2012 (Rest)
The main campaign allows players to take control of Luffy, fighting his way through a large variety of stages that consist of different arcs from the series. There are many different aspects to this game compared to the typical Dynasty Warriors style title. As opposed to the standard fare in which the player must slaughter hundreds of generic opponents to gain territories, the player may have to solve puzzles or activating switches to also progress into the next area. The attention to detail of the title is also very good. Certain enemies only appear on certain stages, replicating the graphic novel, and the characters would also change depending on the arc.
Aside from the campaign, the game also offers the “Another Log” mode. In this mode, the player can assume the role of multiple characters from the franchise. Unlike the main campaign, Another Log has less alternative gameplay elements, focusing primarily on beating a ton of foes up in an attempt to reach the stage’s boss.
Interestingly, One Piece Pirate Warriors offers more depth than usual in the hack-and-slash genre. Each character has their own unique set of moves that imitate that of the series almost perfectly. As characters level up, they obtain more new abilities. This isn’t all that’s included though; two characters also have something special: Franky, the cyborg, has an energy bar; Brook, the skeleton musician, has a music bar. These change how the game is played, such as Franky’s energy bar affects how weak or strong his attacks may be. The extra detail made the game more interesting and fun, enabling players to feel like they’re reliving the show or graphic novel.
Players may also team up with artificial intelligence-controlled allies. On occasion, should a mission be accomplished correctly, the ally would join the player’s side. Players may also control those characters for brief periods of time.
Typically, the enemy artificial intelligence is not particularly bright, and enemies are easily lured into large special attacks to be easily annihilated. Bosses do not fall so easily, however, and require good timing and skill with the special attack and the characters general abilities. There was no button bashing against the bosses, offering a fun challenge.
At the end of each stage, the player receives a rank for completion based upon various factors such as health lost or enemies taken down. The higher the player’s rank, the higher the experience obtained for levelling up characters. Additionally, the player will also receive coins at the end of each stage. When placed in the right combination, these coins can reward the player with further power-ups. The maximum number of coins for each character is nine, allowing three sets of power-ups. Unfortunately, the coins are random and often require grinding to obtain full sets.
The online play for Pirate Warriors enables the player to team up with other members in the world and tackle missions in Another Log stories. The final feature for the game is the challenging mode these were a list of missions that were extremely difficult to complete even with a maxed out character and the right coins in place. This feature added some enjoyment as it felt like there was a challenge rather than the typical slice and dice most people are used to.
Visually, Pirate Warriors looks very much like the animated show for One Piece, with each of the stages being very consistent to the original version. The voice actors for the show also make a return; although, the English dub quality isn’t quite on par with the original. Additionally, the soundtrack was rather disappointing. Major fight scenes just felt less climactic than they should have, and it would have been a great addition to include the show’s soundtrack.
One Piece Pirate Warriors was a very fun hack-and-slash title, retelling the story well and allowing the player to experience the plot of the series while beating up entire armies of marines or pirates. Grinding somewhat spoils the title; however, but beyond that it lives up to a high standard for a Dynasty Warrior-esque title.