One Piece is a beloved anime and is one that naturally translates into the Dynasty Warriors formula. It has large scale battles and lots of nameless soldiers and locations, so it was no surprise that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 played very much like I expected a One Piece game to play and is a treat for any fans of the anime.
The game was developed by the team at Omega Force who handles all of Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors games. I have to say they have gotten good at the formula, and even though the game has similar aesthetics to the Dynasty Warriors series, Pirate Warriors 3 has certain mechanics that are unique to it that really fit with One Piece. For one, you can use your crew members and use combination attacks by pressing the attacks buttons additionally after your combos are completed; this will cause them to jump in and launch an additional attack. I found that this became a vital part of my strategy as you have to kill enemies with Kizuna moves in order to receive exclamation marks that make up your grade.
Each ally in the battle can be used for Kizuna attacks and when their meter is full, you can activate a Kizuna Rush which can use up to two characters you have maxed their meter with. In Kizuna Rush mode, you deal more damage and anything you beat counts towards your “!” marks. You can also use a Kizuna Rush that overrides your normal super and makes a combination attack using your two allies as well ending the Kizuna Rush and resetting both allies’ bars. This mode is fantastic to use on Bosses and tough enemies as it allows you to juggle an enemy and deal a lot of damage fast.
The game has the most amount of playable characters I have seen in a One Piece game thus far, with a whole list of characters appearing for the first time as playable, like Shanks, Doflamingo, and Sabo. All of these characters have their own move-sets that unlock as you level them up and all can be playable in free mode in any of the missions. The missions themselves are pretty standard as these types of games go: you can capture territories, protect allies, stop your territories from being captured, and even just beat up certain enemies. The missions aren’t laid out that similarly and new mechanics show up enough from time to time, so it doesn’t get super repetitive.
The game has a few modes. The story mode recalls the One Piece narrative from the very beginning of the series all the way to the most current arc. The story was summarized nicely, and a lot of key moments were kept with treasure moments — moments that show up if you fulfill certain requirements during the mission. These moments are usually key character segments during the story and help make the story feel more complete. The only problem I had with the story is that the end of the game seems to improvise a narrative that isn’t actually what happens in the manga or anime; however, its a minor gripe as currently the anime hasn’t even finished the current arc yet.
In addition to story mode, there’s a Free Mode that lets you replay any mission with any of your unlocked characters once you complete them in story mode. This is mainly for replaying story missions and unlocking Treasure Moments that you need certain characters for, and for completing each chapters “Legend Dairy,” objectives you need to complete to unlock certain items for use on your characters. It is also useful for leveling your various characters that you unlock through the story. There is an online mode but that is basically replaying the story missions, only with other people. For that reason, it doesn’t have a whole lot of impact but if you want to play with friends you can play co-op either online or locally.
Next there’s Dream Log mode, which allows you to unlock the other characters that you can’t unlock through the story by completing semi-random missions in order to move forward to fight the character you want to unlock. It adds some variety to the game and also gives you a reason to keep playing by giving you additional characters to unlock. The missions also aren’t just the story missions either and help to make it less monotonous.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is the most complete of the series so far with the most unlockable characters and more to do. Whether it be Story Mode, Legend Dairy, or Dream Log, the game gives you plenty to do and even after just playing through the main story, my initial playthrough clocked in at about 21 hours, and thats without completing the Legend Dairy or playing much of the Dream Log. If you’re looking for a game that will keep you occupied, this title from Bandai Namco has a ton of content that will give you plenty of bang for your buck.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is probably the best One Piece game on the market right now and feels like a proper game from the series through and through. The Story is huge and has plenty of content, there is a character for everyone to play, and it’s fun to co-op with friends. It’s a must play for fans of the anime and manga and is just all around a fun game to play. Now if only we could get a proper One Piece fighting game over here…
A PS3 code was provided to BagoGames by Bandai Namco for the purpose of this review