One Piece: Pirate Warriors Review
One Piece, the manga series created by Eiichiro Oda in 1997, has rocketed from a manga that the creator was worried wouldn’t find a fanbase to one of the most popular franchises of all time. It has successfully spawned a great anime and film series, but has never quite been made into a successful video game. Tecmo Koei looked to change that with the release of One Piece: Pirate Warriors on the PS3 and, to their credit, have mostly succeeded.
What I Liked
Tonnes of Content
Up to this point, every One Piece game I have played has been short on true value. You would play through the short story mode only to find nothing left to do. That isn’t true with One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Not only will the Main Log, which is the original story mode, take you at least ten hours to complete, but you’ll have another Log to complete for all twelve of the other playable characters in the game which also takes a considerable amount of time. Combine this with online play and you have a tonne of playtime and value in the game.
Great Art Style
One of the best parts of One Piece is its fantastic art style. Over the years, the style has really evolved and it looks amazing at this point. One Piece: Pirate Warriors captures the art style present in the current chapters of the manga and gives gamers a good idea of what older chapters would have looked like if the current art was in place all along. Bright, vibrant colors and character models that do the series justice work together well to make the game look like the manga come to life.
The characters of the One Piece series are what make it the powerhouse that it is. From a man who can stretch like rubber to a blue nosed reindeer that turns into a human shaped creature, the characters populating the One Piece world are varied to say the least. This is very apparent in One Piece: Pirate Warriors, as you have thirteen major characters from the series to play as. Each of these characters play fairly differently from each other, though some are clearly more powerful than others. The variety in the characters means gamers are less likely to get bored when switching between characters while playing the game.
What I Didn’t Like
Too Many Enemies
While this game is a spin-off of the Dynasty Warriors series (so the huge number of enemies makes sense), it doesn’t make fighting hordes of weak enemies any more fun. It isn’t uncommon to blow through hundreds of enemies in each level without remembering a single interesting battle aside from the final boss. It’s clear that a lot of work was put into these final boss encounters, but if even a little bit of that effort was put into making interesting regular encounters we would all be a lot better off.
Although the environments in the game mirror the art style of the manga very well, they’re all fairly boring in terms of layout. More often than not you are simply running through square, flat areas where a large number of enemies will attack you. There isn’t much difference between fighting in several square boxes and fighting in the environments in One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Adding a little more life to the areas, such as NPCs running from the battles or environments being destroyed in your wake, would have made for a much more interesting presentation.
Similar to Dynasty Warriors: Gundam and Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage
While the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam and Fist of the North Star series haven’t really caught on in North America, they have dedicated, niche audiences that can’t wait to play each new entry. One Piece: Pirate Warriors, while a fair bit more appealing than either of those series’ will likely have the same fate. Dedicated One Piece fans will find something to love here, though fans of beat ‘em ups should check the game out too.
While One Piece: Pirate Warriors doesn’t fix everything that is annoying about the Dynasty Warriors franchise, it does an admirable job of it. With lots of content to explore, a large cast of playable characters, and the classic art style of the One Piece series in place, One Piece: Pirate Warriors is the best Dynasty Warriors-type experience in years. While the price is a bit high for a downloadable title at $50, fans of the series or beat ‘em ups in general should definitely consider picking this game up.