One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 Review (PS3)
The One Piece series has been a staple for anime and manga fans, stretching over 600 anime episodes and a manga that began in 1997. As such a big series, it has seen plenty of video game releases, including the newly released One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 on the PlayStation Network. Read on to find out whether this is an adventure worth taking or if the good times have come to an end.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 takes place in a Dream World, where Pirate King wannabe Monkey D. Luffy and his crewmates are out on a regular day of sailing the seas when a strange fog appears. This purple fog starts turning people into zombies, leaving Luffy to fight against his own crew mates to free them of the fog. Even worse, he must team up with he sworn pirate enemies and the Marines, who are usually tasked with trying to capture Luffy. It’s a lot of chaos as Whitebeard, Blackbeard, Luffy, and Marine Admiral Akainu battle is out to get things right.
From the outside looking in, Pirate Warriors 2 might look like just another Dynasty Warriors type game. In some aspects that is correct, as you control a single character moving around a battlefield fighting off waves and waves of nobodies, taking out a few generals, and having a boss fight here or there. A lot of the action is very much mashing buttons while you take on 50+ enemies on the screen, pulling off insane moves, while moving between missions that change during each battle. You might be supporting a character in one part, then moving on to taking over enemy territories. There is a lot going on but I never got the feeling of being overwhelmed as everything is pretty much spelled out for you.
Your main time throughout the game is going to be in the Pirate’s Log, where you have the option to play an episode in the main story or a crew episode. In the main story episodes, you will be able to select the character of your choice and your crewmate for the battle. There are over 12 story missions to play through either alone or locally through a split-screen option. The local option is nice, though the split-screen can be a little bit of a pain, as there is so much action going on in the screen, that when you split it, things can get hard to see through. There is also an SOS option, where you can request help on a story mission from someone online. The story missions will take you near 10 hours to complete, but that isn’t everything to do in the game. However, we will get to that later.
In the story episodes, you will be allowed to select a character to use, setting his coins, skills, and crewmate. Each character is divided into two different types: Attacker and Technical. Attackers are all about doing as much damage as possible while just going nuts, while technical is all about precise movements and attacks. Your selected character has two major attack buttons that as you level up, you can learn new combinations of the two to pull off some slick moves. A special attack gauge will fill up as you defeat enemies, allowing you to unleash a special attack that hits multiple enemies on the screen. Players can also enter a Style Action Mode, where you begin to glow and start doing major damage to surrounding enemies. During this mode if you do enough damage, you can call out a crew member selected before battle to pop out and doing some more damage on enemies before changing back into your original character. During each level, you will be graded on damage given, received, your special attacks with your crewmates, and the coins you collect during the game.
Throughout your time in the game you will find coins from treasure chests or dropped by enemy bosses. As you find duplicates of a single coin, it levels up the coin. There are two things that these coins can be used towards – skill notes or coin sets. The coin sets start with a single slot for attack, health, and defense, however as you level up more slots will become available. You basically set a coin in each slot to give bonuses to each of the three groups. Coins can give you extra bonuses when placed next to each other. It is really a lot to take in and the gains feel kind of minor, but that didn’t stop me from placing coins on each character. Skill Notes are collected through the game and they play as bingo cards, where as you collect coins on a card that go in a line, you unlock a skill that you can use with your characters. These skills boost things like attack and defense when health is low.
Outside of the main story there are crew episodes. On these episodes you are tasked with defeating a crew member to unlock their use throughout the game. These episodes differ in difficulty and level recommendation, so there are some you may not get taken care of until after you have already beaten the game. The crew episodes play exactly the same as the story episodes, where you have your main mission and also side objectives to complete. If you want to get your perfect combination of main character and crewmate, then you will definitely want to check out these episodes, though you can still pick from around 6-8 crewmates without ever really touching this section. There is also a challenge mode, putting you against a set number of bosses under certain conditions.
Combat is not all there is to the game, as just like the Naruto games, you will have some options to use Beli (money) acquired in the game to buy movies, music, crew gallery: actions, Voices, Facial Expressions, consumable items, and other. There really isn’t much that you can do with any of these things you buy, but for those who want to unlock everything and I am sure trophy people, this will be a place you visit often.
Presentation wise, this game is solid yet not overly spectacular. The action is extremely colorful and in your face, with special effects really shinning through. The worlds are also about as colorful as the action and characters, but not very crisp looking and most of the levels look eerily similar to each other, just maybe with a different coat of paint put on them. Anime cutscenes look great, though nowhere near the level of Naruto. One area that may keep some people from flocking to the game is the audio, where everything is a bit lackluster and the voices are only available in Japanese. This isn’t an issue to an Otaku like myself but to the average person picking up a hack-n-slash adventure, this might put them off, though it really shouldn’t. Another area of issue that is actually very valid is the camera, which can be a pain when trying to take on 40 or so guys and all of a sudden you can’t see your character or the guy you are attacking because of a wall.
All in all, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is a solid game that will give you 10+ hours during the main story and easily 20+ if you add in all of the crew episodes, and any time spent online. The combat can be a bit simplistic and shallow, but it doesn’t keep it from being enjoyable. It is a game that can be enjoyable without any knowledge of the amine/manga, and by people who don’t care for either of those mediums. In fact, as someone who never followed the series, the game has got me excited to dig in and see what all the fuss is about. If you want a fun game with plenty of flashy attacks and all sorts of crazy characters, it might be time for you to Pirate Suit Up and pick up One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 off the PlayStation Store.