The Pirate Warriors series is what got me into One Piece and now I buy the manga, movies and watched some of the anime and so with Pirate Warriors 3 releasing, I was extremely excited to play what could easily become one of my favourite games of 2015.
Following the adventures of Luffy and the Straw Hat crew from the very beginning up to where the manga is currently at (with an original ending as the manga is on-going), I was pleased to play through some of my favourite moments with a multitude of characters in their first PS4 outing. I was speaking with a friend the other day about how anime games are generally very good, and Pirate Warriors 3 is one of the best examples of game based on a manga and anime done right.
It’s a lovely experience being able to witness the first moments of One Piece as Shanks leaves Luffy who thenvows to become king of the pirates, and how it then flashes forward to describe his first adventure and how he came to meet Zoro, the first person to join his crew. It’s a game aimed at fans and those unfamiliar with the series will be left in the dark as the arcs are quickly skipped through but as a huge fan, I appreciated that the characters have been recreated with love and care and that I could act out many of my favourite battles. It’ll undoubtedly act as a great entry point to those interested in the series.
The story takes a good 15-20 hours to complete considering the amount of arcs it covers and whilst the button mashing remains enjoyable throughout, it does become tiring for your hands and so I found myself taking breaks every few missions but sadly, there’s not much that can be done to change this. We all know that Robin is the best character to play as but I had a lot of fun with all the characters I tried and each very different enough for me to choose favourites, despite each character essentially playing very similarly. Omega Force, as with the previous two games, have painstakingly recreated the characters we love and brought them to life in their own unique style, breathing life into the series in a fresh way that stands out among the other titles in the Warriors series.
The gameplay is simple yet addictive and you’ll find yourself mashing square and triangle at a furious rate, along with the odd circle to activate your devastating special attacks. This is the same for every character but some characters may have better range or be better at close combat, or might have special effects added to their moves. With so many characters to pick from, you’ll have to find who you prefer playing as. Unique to Pirate Warriors 3 is the tag team system so an ally can throw their attacks into the mix but more importantly, you can perform new attacks together that deal a lot more damage than your own individual skill would. Each mission revolves around capturing bases and defeating specific enemies, whilst ensuring that your bases and allies are protected, to ensure victory.
Along with the lengthy story mode is free play, which allows you to replay any mission with any character, and Dream Log which is much more substantial in that it allows you to unlock more characters and sees you pick a character as you carve out your own adventure. The missions are more or less the same, although there is a cool world map, as what’s available in the campaign but, if you’re like me, you’ll want more to do once you’ve finished the story and so Dream Log is a perfect addition that invites several more hours gameplay and the thrill of unlocking more content. Plus, it gives you another chance to check out all the cool costumes you’ve unlocked throughout the campaign. Of course, there’s other content in the form of biographies, model viewers, movies and music.
It’s visually better although not leagues above its PS3 siblings but the change is noticeable and appreciated. Pirate Warriors 3 benefits most from the PS4 when it comes to framerate which mostly remains steady throughout despite the fact that you can easily knock out 1500-2000 and more people per stage, with very little slowdown. The draw distance isn’t particularly great with textures evidently popping in the closer you get, and some further action looking a bit clunky when viewed from afar, but it’s not something that took me out of the game and with so many enemies, I’m not entirely surprised that it doesn’t run entirely smoothly.
Fortunately, the areas and characters have been recreated with such loving attention and care, and I can only praise Bandai Namco and Omega Force for how they’ve tackled the series. I adore the variety of outfits and the character model viewer included, and hope that we’ll see some DLC outfits in the form of One Piece Film Z’s outfit as they’re really well-designed.
I’ll always be slightly disappointed that there’s no English Dub, especially as it’s one of the greatest ones out there and the series has become so popular since it’s first volume that it’s a shame there’s not been a single dubbed One Piece game – at least, not of what I know. Fortunately, the Japanese voice-actors and actresses all seemingly reprise their roles and I’m very happy with that as they too give a fantastic performance. There’s plenty of dialogue in-game and the laughs are still hilarious – Perona’s ‘horo horo horo!’ never fails to tickle me. The OST is, as expected of One Piece, a joy to listen to with the main theme easily to recall, and I’d happily listen to the OST in my free time.
If you’re a One Piece fan then you owe it to yourself to buy Pirate Warriors 3 . It’s packed with loads of fun content, allows you to play through your favourite arcs and you can play as many of your favourite characters (I’ll forever be upset that Vivi isn’t playable!) and it’s so true to the series that it’s hard to fault as a fan. The gameplay surely won’t be for everybody but it works, and I can only praise how different each character feels with how simple the gameplay is. I think One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 will end up in my top ten of 2015 once the years starts to come to a close, and it fully deserves it.