"A Pirate's Dynasty"
Another year, another Shin Sangokumusou title. "Sengoku what?!" you might ask, let me rephrase that: Another year, another Dynasty Warriors title. This year brings another entry to the market and combines it with a manga series that is extremely popular in Japan. One Piece: Pirate Warriors takes the gameplay of the Dynasty Warriors series and changes the aesthetics to that of the world of One Piece. While it plays like many other titles in the series, One Piece: Pirate Warriors, with its bright locales and whimsical story, is probably the best place to start for anyone who hasn't played one of the games before.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors primary audience would have to be, of course, One Piece and Dynasty Warriors fans. For those outside of those demographics, like myself, you are probably wondering what exactly is One Piece about, so let's sum it up quickly: Pirates are looking for the famed "One Piece", an treasure left behind by the King of the Pirates before his execution. Most of the series follows Luffy, a pirate who develops the ability to stretch himself after eating a mysterious fruit. Developed to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the popular anime franchise, One Piece: Pirate Warriors takes place all throughout the series' story with a few scenarios exclusive to this game. The game is split into 3 modes: Main Log, where player goes through the storyline as various characters in a set order, and Another Log, which allows the story line of each individual character to be played.
The gameplay is pretty basic, but it has a few different features compared to other titles in the long-running series. The face buttons on the PS3 controller allow for weak, strong, and special attacks with an additional defensive dash, while the L and R buttons allow for strafing and add a few platforming elements. These platforming segments and the amount of Quick Time Events the game has are arguably the worse part of One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Sure, the title is based on a cartoon, but the way the action is broken up to accommodate these elements artificially makes the game longer when the action isn't performed properly.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors has replay value in spades due to the number of modes available. This is something the Dynasty Warriors series and its many offshoots have never encountered, but with the licensed used here, many of the extras beg to be played through. In addition to the Main Log and Another Log mentioned earlier, there's an online mode available that resembles King of the Hill and is an interesting side diversion, and a challenge mode available that adds further replay value to the campaigns available. Throughout all modes, players can collect coins that can enhance player abilities in addition to leveling them up through experience gained by defeating enemies, and equipping certain groups of coins at once adds further bonuses.
With all of the other Dynasty Warriors offshoots that have been released this generation (Gundam, Fist of the North Star, etc.), One Piece: Pirate Warriors is the best looking of the bunch. The environments are cel-shaded, and it pretty much looks like the anime, which is pretty different when compared to the dark battlefields presented in the Dynasty Warriors series. The title does use the voice actors from the anime, but the game is only voiced in Japanese, which is possibly due to the niche nature of the title.
As a stand-alone title and when looked at as part of the long running Dynasty Warriors series, One Piece: Pirate Warriors is a pretty niche but well put together title. While the locales are strange and may lead to a night of googling what happens (am I really fighting a skeleton with a Jheri curl?!), the title does what it sets out to do well.
GameDynamo's Score for One Piece: Pirate Warriors (PS3)
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