Game Review: One Piece: Pirates Warriors 2
So this game is more of an expansion pack adding in such important parts from popular manga/anime series One Piece, such as Logia-type users, Haki and of course, access to Thriller Bark and Skypeia? Did you understand any of that? If not, none of this review is suitable for you and you can just skip it.
Despite being a sequel, One Piece: Pirates Warriors 2 is nothing more than a glorified, full-priced expansion pack to 2012′s One Piece: Pirate Warriors on the PS3, adding in worlds based on the two missing story arcs that were promised as DLC in the first game (Thriller Bark and Skypeia), accommodating for Logia-type characters and having the ability to use haki during fights and sadly, nothing more.
Since the first game was able to base it’s plot on nearly 15 years worth of source material, the original game had a story that was just following Luffy’s adventures, all the way from when he met Nami up until he went into the New World but since Pirate Warriors 2 only had one year’s worth of material to adapt, it’s had to make it’s own original “Dream Story” that is more of a fan’s wet dream that anything that can fit into the One Piece Universe. After Luffy and his crew break into Punk Hazard to defeat Ceasar Clown, they come across a mysterious laboratory filled with dials that release a gas that turns everyone’s on Luffy’s Crew, except Luffy and Nami, into evil killing machines. Now Luffy has to team up with other fan-favorite characters such as Ace, Marco and Perona to defeat famous villians such as Blackbeard, Buggy and Akainu across the Grand Line.
Since the Pirate Warriors series is nothing more than a One Piece spin-off of Tecmo Koei’s Dynasty Warriors series (which has so many of it’s own spin-off based on popular series like Gundam, Fist of the North Star and soon, Legend of Zelda), the design is very reminiscent of old-style “hack ‘n’ slashers” so the “difficulty” in the game can be solved by simply mashing the attack button faster. My first play-through took me around 10 hours or so to complete but the amount of replay value is superb. the ability to go back and complete past missions with one of the other 40+ characters, all with vastly different playing styles, unlocking all the stat-boosting coins, completing the various missions and challenges greatly double or even triple the initial length of the game.
Sadly, like many other games of it’s genre, it falls short on it’s gameplay. Bashing buttons to unleash such fan-favorite attacks like “Gomu Gomu no Pistol” is initially fun but after fighting through your 1000′s+ horde of identical enemies, it starts getting tedious and repetitive. The original game was able to remedy this by adding lots of fun platforming and adventuring sections that really broke up the monotomy of the button bashing but Pirate Warriors 2 has removed all of this and is just a purely mind-numbing button-masher now. It feels like Tecmo Koei’s went 10 steps forward with game content but went 12 steps back when it came to gameplay.
Controls are as tight as any of the major Dynasty Warriors titles but like that series, combos feel like they don’t work and spamming the special attack buttons normally work well. Despite each character having nearly 20 moves, it doesn’t feel like characters ever have more than 3 attacks; Light, Heavy and Special.
Graphically, it shows how HD graphics have really helped anime-inspired games. The use of cel-shading helps give Pirate Warriors 2 a very similar style to the anime which it’s based on. The game, since Namco knew how niche the fanbase would be, uses the original Japanese soundtrack which has all the original voice actors/actresses from the anime reprise their roles. Sadly, Pirate Warriors 2 nearly just re-uses the soundtrack from the original game and barely adds anything new. Sure, tracks like “Prepare for Pirates” and “Here comes the challengers!” are catchy battle themes that have remained in my iPod for the last 18 months, but simply re-using the entire soundtrack with barely any change feels lazy on Namco Bandai’s part.
This game is certainly not suitable for people who aren’t fans of the exploits and adventures of the Mugiwara Crew and even long-time fans who enjoyed the first game in this series will be pushed to try and maintain their enjoyment of this game. However, One Piece fans who did not play the first Pirate Warriors game will get a lot more out of the sequel than I did.