One Piece: Pirate Warriors Review
- Posted September 29th, 2012 at 21:19 EDT by Justin Griffin
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One Piece: Pirate Warriors is a gorgeous game oozing with production value. There's plenty of content on offer, and while gameplay fails to differentiate from the Dynasty Warriors formula, it's hard not to enjoy such a mechanically sound, visually impressive adaptation.
- Amazing presentation, graphics, story, voice acting
- Epic boss fights in awesome settings
- Addictive EXP gain and coin collection
- Basic battles become boring over time
- Removal of the ability to jump in favor of unnecessary "unique actions"
- Recycled Dynasty Warriors content with a new face
(continued from previous page) ...elastic limbs feels great when you round up 50 or so and let loose with your special attack. It's just that there is little-to-no change in the action, and repetition quickly sets in. Combos are performed by a mixture of Square and Triangle button-mashing, but the combos don't vary much in style or effect, and only a small number can be executed. The decision to remove jumping in favor of dashing is also frustrating, as it hinders your mobility when surrounded by forty-odd enemies.
The inability to block, along with small platforming segments shoehorned in to break from the endless killing, make dashing an unfortunate necessity. Since many battles take place at port towns or on the sea, the areas you need to traverse are often separated by water. The solution to this wet divide is to give Luffy "Unique Actions". These are performed with R1 and R2, the former of which deals contextual attacks and counters to enemies. The latter sends the camera behind Luffy's back for an over-the-shoulder perspective used to target points that Luffy can use his rubber limbs to slingshot himself towards. Sadly, this adds nothing to the game, as it's only used to change which part of the map you're in so you can battle another horde. This breaks the action, changes your point of view, and forces you to clumsily aim for a set object that you must be a certain distance from to target.
At the end of a story episode, you receive experience based on how many enemies you killed, how quickly you responded to quick-time-events, and how much damage you took. Based on these factors, you're also given a rank, and you may be rewarded with coins. The experience raises your level, which increases your health, attack, defense, and your special attack, allowing you to destroy waves of enemies even more effectively. Coins act as equipment, baring the face of a One Piece character, icon, or item. Equipping these will raise certain stats or boost the power of a combo. There's also a system in place that grants special effects if certain coins are equipped alongside compatible partners.
If you grow tired of Main Log and Alternate Log's side-story missions, there's Online Mode, Challenge Mode, and a gallery. Online Mode allows you to battle through episodes with a friend to gain experience and coins. This can help ease the repetition of single-player gameplay, as you compete with an ally for kills and spoils and help each other out of tight spots. Meanwhile, Challenge Mode is unlocked after Main Log is complete, and only grants victory if you clear episodes while also fulfilling the criteria of new trials. Gallery allows you to view all the content that you've unlocked, including character bios, a glossary with important terms from the story, cutscenes, music, and the coins you've obtained. The gallery's bio and glossary sections are essential for newcomers who want to delve into the game's story without missing a beat, and many of the cinematics are definitely worth a second view.
All things considered, One Piece: Pirate Warriors is far from a bad game. The voice acting and music are great, the graphics and presentation are superb, the source material is interesting and hilarious, and there's an addictive leveling and item-collection system in place as a reward for battle. Though tedious and uninspired, battles can still be fun, and it's obvious that a lot of work and polish has gone into making this game worthy of the One Piece empire. It's just unfortunate that Unique Actions are clumsily executed and the only significant changes made to the Dynasty Warriors formula. Repetitive action and less-than-stellar attempts to be different are the only problems that mar this otherwise commendable title.
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