One Piece: Pirate Warriors

One Piece: Pirate Warriors is a new game by Tecmo Koei  released exclusively on the Playstation Network.  One Piece: Pirate Warriors is based on the One Piece Anime/Manga made in the same Musou action style game that Tecmo Koei is known for (Dynasty Warriors, Warriors Orochi).  Tecmo Koei managed to stay pretty faithful to the One Piece series, but  they deviated from the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay to their detriment. The manga for One Piece has been running since 1997, and the Anime since 1998 so its a pretty long running series.  The game manages to cover the One Piece story from the beginning up to where the story is last year where the Straw Hat Pirates reunite.  One Piece is about Monkey D. Luffy trying to become the Pirate King.  He assembles a crew he calls the Straw Hat Pirates that travels around the ocean getting stronger as they look for the One Piece which will make them the greatest pirates in the world.

While I know plenty of adults that like One Piece, it is definitely more for kids/teens.  At one point it was airing in America on Fox on Saturday mornings under the 4Kids label.  They made some changes to it like replacing cigarettes with lollipops to make it even more kid friendly.  That being said the series deals with death and other more adult topics as Luffy and his pirate crew attempt to realize their dreams.

The game manages to capture the look and feel of the series perfectly.  If you are a One Piece fan you won’t be disappointed with the game visually.  As far as how they presented the story I have mixed feelings.  The game sometimes does an amazing job at reproducing certain moments from the series into the game.  At other times they will use something that’s similar to a manga style where they show a static image and have a voice over talking.  This presentation doesn’t work well and makes them look lazy.  If they would have taken actual manga panels I would be more forgiving.  At least they got the actual voice actors to come back and do the game.  Oh, and one other thing that’s very important to some.  There is no American voice track.  This game is only in Japanese and subtitled, which is completely fine by me because it’s the only way I would have played it.

The game itself plays well for the most part.  If you were expecting a Dynasty Warriors style game like I was you might be a little disappointed.  In Japan when the game was released earlier in the year it was called One Piece Musou which implies a certain mindless game where you run around and beat the snot out of a lot of guys without having to put a lot of thought into it.   For a lot of people this is boring and tedious.   Personally I like it as an escape in gameplay.  I can have fun and tune out at the same time.  In this game they kept some of it, but not enough for my liking.

The game has several different modes.  Main Log is the main story mode that you play through with Luffy. Another Log is a mode that lets you play through the game with other characters that you unlock playing through Main Mode.  You can add a second player for coop play in Another Log.  Online Mode is basically Another Log but allows you to play with people over the internet.  Challenge lets you play through 2 different levels that are REALLY hard.

My main annoyance with the game is in Main Log.  As I’ve said the game is supposed to be a Musou style game like Dynasty Warriors, but they tried to do something different here.  There are 16 different levels that they call Episodes (17 if you count the tutorial).  Each episode has one of 3 play styles assigned to it.  The first type is Musou, which is the standard that Dynasty Warrior fans are used to.  The second type is Boss, which is basically a major boss fight that might have some Musou mixed in. The third and most annoying type is Action, which has a deceptive name.  Action is really more of a silly QTE (quick time event) puzzle game with a little bit of fighting.  I despise these levels. They aren’t fun, and feel like a waste of my time.  I don’t mind puzzles in games where they belong, but this isn’t one of them.  It also doesn’t fit with the style of the show.  Does any One Piece fan remember that episode where Luffy flies jumps from one thing to another for 20 minutes before he fights people?   No? . . . That’s because it doesn’t happen!!!  Why they bothered wasting our time with this crap is beyond me.   Stick to what you’re good at and don’t bore people with meaningless gameplay.

Another Log saves this game from being bad.  As you play through Main Log you unlock more of the Straw Hat Pirates as well as a few others.  Each person has their own story that you can play through.  Most of the cut scenes are taken from Main Log, but you get a few extras.  Some characters only have one Episode, but most characters have a few.  I’ve played through Zoro’s storyline and he has 8 solid Musou episodes.

When playing through Another Log in 2 player mode, it splits the screen side by side which makes the game a bit hard difficult to play.  I wish they tried it top bottom or gave you the option to do top bottom split screen.  In a game like this where you have 30+ enemies on-screen at one time seeing as much of it as you can helps.  It’s still fun playing through in 2 player mode despite this flaw.

Playing online I never felt like I knew where the other player was unless they were next to me.  I feel like they should have made the characters a different color on the map screen.  That being said, online play felt good.  I never felt lag as I ran around kicking butt.

Challenge has 2 different Episodes at the moment that are REALLY hard.  You have to play through it by yourself. No one can help you.  I haven’t gotten through either of them yet.  Basically each episode has all the bosses in it that you have to get through in different rooms.  Sometimes a room will have 3 bosses that you have to fight at one time.  I’d like to try to keep playing the game and building up my characters to eventually get through at least one of these episodes.

When you play through any mode regardless of who you are using, you gain experience points and level up your character.  The max level you can hit is 50. As you play through the game you also find coins.  Each coin is unique and has different abilities, boosting your health, attack, or defense.  Some coins can combine together to unlock other abilities. The coin system is a nice addition to the game and makes me want to keep playing to collect them all.

One Piece Pirate Warriors is only available for the PS3, and right now you can only buy it through the PSN network.  In other countries there are physical copies, but not here in America.  No official plans have been announced to sell it in stores.  Despite it only being sold online only, it has a price of $50.

All in all I like the game’s replay value/fun factor in Another Log, but playing through Main Log felt like a chore at times.  It can be fun playing 2 player, but I wish the screen orientation was different.  I think it’s a decent game, especially if you like One Piece, but I think the overall population should wait for a sale.

Positives              Negatives
  • Cut Scenes were done really well like they were from the  Anime.
  • Original Japanese voice actors have  reprised their roles.
  • Another Log lets you play as a bunch of other One Piece characters.
  • Online play is smooth
  • Main Log should have stayed a traditional Musou game.
  • The way the story was presented should have been more consistent.
  • No English track for those that hate reading.
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