It’s time to sail the seas with Monkey D. Luffy, and the Straw Hat Crew as they embark on a great adventure, searching for the mysterious treasure in One Piece: Pirate Warriors. For its 15 year anniversary, Namco Bandai and Dynasty Warrior’s Tecmo Koei have teamed up to bring you a button-bashing free-for-all One Piece gaming experience.
The story starts from the East Blue Saga up until the New World Saga just before Luffy sets off to find a crew to find the legendary treasure One Piece. Fighting your way though key elements of the story, you can see how friendships were made, foes were defeated and experience the life of the rubber pirate.
The game gives you four ways to play. In the Main Log you get to battle your way through the story as Luffy searching for the treasure and try to become the Pirate King. You also get a chance to unlock additional characters such as Roronoa Zoro, Nami and the adorable Tony Tony Chopper. When you have leveled up and completed certain tasks with the different characters, you will be able to activate Crew strike. Characters which can be used for a Crew Strike will have a green ring around them. When you are close enough, press R2 to complete the chosen combo displayed in the top left corner of the screen. This allows you to throw down some moves, then you get to gain brief control of your partner to finish the job.
Whilst you get to briefly play each of these characters, you are able to play through mini versions of the stages in Another Log. The stages, known as MUSOU Stages, are all about helping local villagers oust enemies who have taken over various territories. Here you are given instructions as to which territory you need to clear first or which character you need to assist in order to clear the different mini missions in the level. If you fail a mission, the level will continue and ask you to attempt another task. You will only ever get the dreaded Game Over screen should you or any of your team mates be defeated. As these levels do require a lot of baddie bashing, you can always recruit a second player to help you out.
Once you have played through Main Log, you can try your hand at the Challenges. Here you get to fight wave after wave of bad guys and bosses then post your high score on the leaderboard. You can even recruit help and play with friends online as you battle your way through various levels.
The button configuration is simple with Triangle and Square being hit in various orders to give you different attacks, Circle for your special attack and X allowing you to evade or sprint. The only disappointment for me was there is no jump button. It is a minor issue on the grand scheme of things but when you want to jump over a crowd of bad guys or jump between platforms it does become a little tedious. This can also be said for the fighting system. It does help that you can button-bash your way out of danger but again a little more thought to how different moves could be pulled off wouldn’t have gone amiss. I also at times felt lost with the narrative during the Main Log as some of the story sequences weren’t explained well or had missed bits out.
Whilst I do have a few hang-ups regarding the game, as a non One Piece fan, I was pleasantly surprised. The catchy music and beautiful graphics, which I cannot fault, kept me going and, more importantly, wanting more. One Piece: Pirate Warriors is a game you can easily loose a couple of hours to and feel like you’ve had an adventure.