Namco Bandai had a lot to show this year at their booth and the first game I want to get into is One Piece Pirate Warriors 2. Exclusive to the PlayStation Network, Pirate Warriors 2 follows the exploits of Monkey D. Luffy, his crew of Straw Hat Pirates, and the rest of this cooky world as they battle it out for supremacy. Don’t worry if you have no idea what I just said however, as knowing the characters will hold no bearing on being able to jump in and go with this title.
Unlike the original installment in the series, One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 does not directly follow the plot of the anime, instead taking place is a “Dream Story”. In the game, a mysterious fog has turned all of the pirates against each other, causing the Straw Hat pirates, Marines, and others to join forces. As someone who doesn’t follow the anime or manga, I didn’t feel lost at all as the story is very much second fiddle to the fast paced combat.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 plays very much like a Dynasty Warriors game. You have a set battleground that you run through, fighting hordes of enemies and their bosses, then moving on to the next area of the map. Your character of choice has two different main sets of moves and then a few special moves to perform. One of the big additions this year is a new battle element called haki. There are three types of haki in the game. Conquers, which only a few characters such as Luffy can use, allow you to overwhelm all the enemies around you and makes them faint. Defensive haki causes all enemies to move slower, and then Offensive is basically what it says. All of these added a new kind of strategy to the basic bash-em up gameplay.
Another boost to the game this year is offline/online co-op for up to 2 players. The entire game can be played by yourself or with a friend. The online portion also has a “rescue” feature that allows you to call forth your friends to help you out in a battle. There are also challenge levels, like the first game, which add a fair amount of replay value. I didn’t get to try out either of these modes but they do sound promising. The combat in general was fast paced and extremely fun, with a huge amount of Japanese goofiness that really made it shine. The game offers a huge cast of characters that you unlock through your playthroughs.
The environment in the game was colorful and very detailed, with the world feeling like it came straight out of an anime. There was a new world called Skypiea, which was just a floating level that looked great, and the few levels I was shown in the demo were extremely unique and fun. The characters were very vibrant and I was told they had different moves and costumes from the first game.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 is a fairly straight forward hack-n-slash but that is not necessarily a bad thing in this case. The world is beautifully crafted, has a distinct Asian flair to it, and the characters and their moves are wacky and unique. It likely won’t be a game for everyone but after getting some time with it, it’s a game that I am looking forward to playing just a little bit more.