One Piece: Pirate Warriors is Tecmo Koei’s attempt at making an anime game that’ll work with its Dynasty Warrior-esque gameplay. They made a whole lot of changes, of course. You still run around button mashing enemies and you still have that same old musuo power. But somehow all the ingredients that I know and love with Dynasty Warriors doesn’t add up with all the other crap put into this.
To start, the levels (and maps) are incredibly ridiculous. Your stories are broken up into episodes to mimic the series itself. This just proved after awhile to be incredibly taxing on the player. You have to stop when you just want to keep going. It proved especially difficult for me, who had to play through the whole game nonstop and every time I saw the “to be continued” logo I wanted to stop and sigh that it still wasn’t over. In Dynasty Warriors you’re able to quickly go to the main commander if you wanted to and defeat him to advance the level. This allowed you a sort of choice, or rather; it gave the player freedom to do whatever the hell they wanted on a certain map. In Pirate Warriors, you’re not given that option and it’s too linear for its own good. The game will actively stop you from advancing until you backtrack to open a door, or a gate, or a door-gate.
This wouldn’t completely terrible if only the controls you had to use to open said door-gates would be smooth or even entirely responsive. Sometimes you have use your stretch powers as Luffy to go over obstacles, toggling QTEs. You hold R2 (which in itself is a bad idea already as the R2 button on dualshocks is such a bitch to press down) and move the cursor over a specific spot to then press square. The damn the cursor won’t move sometimes. I’m not even exaggerating, if you press it to the left, it’ll fly to the left way more than you wanted it to. If you press it slightly in the direction of where you want the cursor to land, it either won’t move at all or suddenly appear over the spot. It’s just odd and leads to the disconnect between the player and the game. I wouldn’t have minded the hiccup if it was a minor part of the main log, but it’s not. Every level has a lot of that.
The fighting itself is the same button mashing we’ve seen in other Tecmo Koei games. But this time around it becomes very evident of how routine it is, thanks to the constant stopping you have to do when a new obstacle gets in your way.
The bosses are interesting for the most part, each bringing a new style of fighting that will have you using different techniques to defeat them. Each boss also grants you a new R1 move and ultimately a fantastic musuo attack if you hold the circle button down long enough.
Besides the main log, there are challenges, another Log (play the story of other allies from Pirate Warriors), and co-op play. You receive coins after each episode/level as well, though these hardly do anything to really change the tide of battle. More stamina, more health, more defense, more attack can be gained but in reality you can do without it. There’s a “collect them all” aspect to it, but you won’t even care to.
It’s not all bad though, the graphics are wonderful and they managed to make a 3D version of One Piece very well. The different characters play differently and there’s plenty for fans of the series to spend a lot of time with on this game. Emphasis on if you’re a fan of the series. If not, you’ll find the entire thing to be a taxing experience not worth your time or money. But especially the money.
[+Graphics and art style is fantastic] [+Many different characters to play as] [-Bad controls lead to the platforming aspects becoming a drag] [-Pointless coin system] [-Fighting is incredibly routine] [-Story is only understandable to already established fans] [-Taxing gameplay]