One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 PS3 Review
Publisher: Namco Bandai Developer: Omega Force Genre: Action Players: 1-2
Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
One Piece is a huge hit in Japan. It started life as a series of comics, and later spawned a hugely popular anime series. Here in the west, it has more of a niche appeal, although this hasn’t stopped Namco Bandai from releasing One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.
The game has an original storyline, which is sure to go down well with fans. Events take place two years after the Straw Hats Pirates entered the New World, and members of the crew have seemingly been brainwashed. It’s certainly a tale that fans of One Piece will get more sense out of, as non-fans may find it difficult to keep up with the barrage of characters that are introduced throughout.
The introduction of characters in the story is almost as busy as One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2’s battlefields, then. If these busy battlefields make the game sound a lot like Tecmo Koei’s Warriors games, then you were correct to think that, as this game was actually developed by the same folk. With that said, there’s battlefields full of enemies for you to show exactly who the boss is, and the kill count on the screen remains just as satisfying as ever, with the body count quickly rising into ridiculous numbers as you cut hundreds upon hundreds of them down in each stage.
The game also has a number of other things in relation to the Warriors games and its various spinoffs. There are two main attack buttons, of which allow you to combine for a number of combo attacks, and there’s also a special attack which you can bring into play once you have filled a gauge up. Most enemies are also there to give you something to kill as opposed to giving you a challenge, which means that the game is Dynasty Warriors in all but name.
Each character (there’s 27 of them in all) can also enter Style Action mode with a press of a button once you have filled the meter. This knocks the enemies back and allows you to go on the relentless attack, and if you fill another meter up during this period, you’ll then be able to call in a crew member to inflict further damage to your enemies with a crew attack, and the member will stay around until the gauge depletes again, with your chosen character then being reintroduced back into the battle. As for other things, there’s no block or jump options, although the game does give you a rather helpful dodge move, and there’s also a button that unleashes an attack that is exclusive to your chosen character.
As these games go, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is another acquired taste. There’s certainly plenty of fun to be had hacking and slashing through thousands of enemies, and it’s a game that gives your brain a rest but one that will work your fingers down to the bone. It’s certainly repetitive in a number of ways, but it’s also got a charm in the same way that Dynasty Warriors has, and certainly gives you a feeling of empowerment.
It’s a shame that the camera loses the action from time to time. When the battlefields are busy with enemies, the pulled out camera sometimes loses track of your character, but thankfully you are able to lock onto the tougher enemies, which does help somewhat. Still, when they do occur, the camera issues are just as annoying as they sound.
When stages are completed, the game goes through quite a lengthy process, in which your selected character is levelled up, money earned is totted up, crew levels increase, coins found on the battlefield are added to your ever growing collection, and whatnot. Speaking of the coins, your characters can equip these between levels for various stat boosting effects .
As for the money you earn, you can use this to individually level up characters, although each character can only be levelled up as high as the current character with the highest level, but this does mean that you won’t have to take individual characters through stages again and again just in order to level them up, which is less of a grind for those who don’t like doing such things. Money can also be used to buy various fan pleasing extras in the shop.
As for modes, the game includes the Pirate Log, which is the main story mode, although it also includes the Free Log and Challenge modes. Free Log allows you to play any missions that you have already completed, and the Challenge mode presents you with a number of tasks to complete. All modes but the Challenge mode can also be played online or in split-screen.
When it comes to the online options, there’s a rather wonderful rescue feature in which you can request assistance or help out someone else who requires it on a certain level. You sadly can’t send an SOS out in the midst of a level, although it’s still a valuable feature to use between missions if you are struggling somewhat on a certain one. What I don’t like about playing online is that other players are able to skip through the story, regardless of if you’ve seen it or not, surely an option should have been included for mutual consent as opposed to someone being able to rudely skip through scenes in the way that is possible?
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is a bright and attractive game with some great animations, and with so much going on, I don’t think I witnessed it slow down even once. It’s certainly a game that can be called visually striking, and the art style of the manga and anime has been beautifully captured. As for the music, it’s just as energetic as everything that is going on on the screen.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 may be repetitive in a number of ways and has some rather annoying camera issues, although it’s still a likeable enough game. Like similar games, it’s just nice to be able to put your brain to bed and rip through hundreds of enemies. Fans of One Piece will meanwhile be in their element with all the playable characters as well as a unique storyline to play through.