Game Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (PS4)
03/09/2015 Leave a comment
Omega Force returns with its latest incarnation of the One Piece timeline; however unlike past versions this one starts from the beginning. It’s a bold move, but with the Pirate Warriors franchise reaching new platforms within Europe – in this case both PS4 and PS Vita – it’s a smart decision.
|Title:||One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3|
|Publisher:||Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Developer:||Omega Force / Koei Tecmo|
|Resolution:||1920 x 1080
|Local Players:||1 – 2|
At first glance One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 may seem like its predecessors, but dig down deeper and you will find a further refined gameplay experience that’s been tailored to One Piece and Dynasty Warriors fans alike. For starters the upgraded cell-shaded-visuals bring it more into line with the anime (and manga) that it is based upon; meanwhile new gameplay mechanics, such as the Kizuna Rush Attack and the extended number of enemies on screen, add a further tactical gameplay element that will no doubt please die-hard Musou fans.
Of course, for the most part at least, Pirate Warriors 3 is as you remember it in previous games; You choose a character, enter a mission and then defeat the boss before the time limit is over. It’s pretty much the same here, except this time there are a few surprises in-store; and it all revolves around the One Piece storyline from the manga and anime. Having knowledge of either the manga (or its anime adaptation) isn’t crucial; but it does make the game a much more entertaining experience – especially when you see the references played out on screen; but alas we will talk about that later.
Upon starting One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 you will be welcomed with multiple gameplay modes; most notably are Legend Log, Free Log and Dream Log alongside a co-op online mode and gallery option. All three “Logs” will offer the same gameplay elements but they will be presented in different ways. For instance Legend Log allows players to play through the entire One Piece storyline, from Fucisha village where Luffy began his adventure, to the more recent Dressrosa Arc with everything else in between. Free log on the other hand allows players to re-play any level previously completed level within Legend Log but this time using any character that has been unlocked; whereas Dream Log consists of alternate missions, such as from a villians perspective, and a wider range of characters becoming unlocked which can then be used in Free Log.
Whichever ‘log’ you chose the gameplay will remain the same, as this is a Dynasty Warriors styled videogame after all, and as such each level will see your chosen character progress forward in a particular location defeating as many enemies as possible. The objective of each mission differs on a level by level basis; but it is usually to defeat a ‘certain character’ within the time frame while protecting your own crew-mates and AI forces. As always players will have access to various attacks but the combo mechanic seen in past Pirate Warriors – and Dynasty Warriors – titles remains the same – with light attacks using Square and heavy attacks using triangle while combing them together will create a combo with a stronger attack. The Special attack button (circle) also returns and depending on how high the special attack gauge is, which gets bigger as you level up, depends on what type of attack will be dealt.
Basically if you’ve played Pirate Warriors (or any other Dynasty Warriors styled game) then you’ll have an idea of what to expect; however a new introduction, in the form of Kizuna Rush Attack, has been added thus allowing more destructive combos to be dealt. The Kizuna Rush attack allows team-mates, which are usually chosen before a mission begins, to team-up for singular attack on opponents and it’s done so by charging up a new gauge – which is filled up when opponents are defeated. It’s similar to a Special Attack but it does a lot more damage – especially when up to four additional characters can be recruited for the attack. To some this attack may seem like overkill, especially when the AI opponents are pretty weak, but on mid-level-bosses and final bosses they do become quite useful (even on easy difficulty).
Another new element introduced within the game are secret side-quests; these mainly appear in Legend Log and see alternate aspects of the story brought to your attention. For instance during the fight with Don Krieg on the Baratie a secret side-quest mission will see Zoro’s fight with Mihawk; while another secret side-quest (once again if completed) will see a short set of dialogue sequences where Nami stole the grand line map from Buggy the Clown. These side-quests basically add a bit more story to the game and are not crucial to the plot itself – but they are still a nice addition and offer some good throwback chances if the conditions are met.
In hindsight this is something One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 does very well; story progression and cut-scenes. The game cuts out the filler and leaves whats needed; so much so that each main story arc is done as a single mission with CGI cut-scenes, in the style of a graphic novel, being used to merge the gameplay together. A perfect example being the first mission; it starts off with the CGI cut-scenes introducing Luffy and his dreams of becoming King of the Pirates but then changes to a visual-novel-styled dialogue when interacting with Coby at that point it returns back to a CGI cut-scene with Zoro tired up on a marine base and then ultimately throws you into the gameplay. That’s not all either; as dialogue sequences and cut-scenes will appear ‘mid-game’ to further refine and explain the story. Basically unlike past games, and even most Dynasty Warriors titles, this isn’t a simple beat-them-all-up and leave type of game – it’s a game that has a story to tell and provides an easy ‘fast’ way to do it.
This, in essence, is what makes Pirate Warriors 3 such a great experience; it starts from the ‘very beginning’ of the One Piece timeline and works its up way through to the latest story arc. Coincidentally this is also the focus of the game – it’s story – as other than that there’s not a lot else to do. Sure you can view the gallery and use money to unlock more parts of it or even customise your characters outfit and stats by using items obtained in the game; but at the end of the day the One Piece story is what drags people in and Pirate Warriors 3 does a pretty fine job of representing it.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is now available for the PS3, PS4 and PS Vita as both a digital download and retail product.