Game Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition (Switch)

Originally released onto the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita three years ago Omega Force revitalizes the iconic musou action game One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 for the Nintendo Switch; except this time it’s been expanded with previously released downloadable content and given the hybrid treatment. In terms of content then this Nintendo Switch release is the ultimate One Piece: Pirate Warriors experience; but does the overall performance and presentation suffer as a result of hybrid hardware? Let’s find out in our review.

Title: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: Omega Force / Koei Tecmo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1 – 2
Online Players: N/A
Install: YES (13.2GB)

Our View:

Originally released onto PlayStation platforms, as well as Windows PC, back in 2015 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is the hack-and-slash action game that merges the popular musou formula with the One Piece story. This Deluxe Edition meanwhile expands the original game with the inclusion of previously released ‘premium’ downloadable content as part of the main game as well as introduce new gameplay mechanics that are exclusive to the Nintendo Switch.

At first glance One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 may seem like its predecessors, One Piece: Pirate Warriors and One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, but dig down deeper and you’ll find a refined gameplay experience that’s been tailored to One Piece and Dynasty Warriors fans alike. Cell-shaded-visuals bring One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition more in line with the anime (and manga) that it is based upon while gameplay mechanics, such as the Kizuna Rush Attack and the numerous amount 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, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition is as you remember it in previous games, and in turn the original release of game. 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 that has been adapted from the source material. Having knowledge of the source material 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 – Deluxe Edition you will be welcomed with multiple gameplay modes; most notably are Legend Log, Free Log and Dream Log alongside a 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 a large portion of the One Piece storyline, namely from Fucisha village, where Luffy began his adventure, to the Dressrosa Arc, with every other major arc played out in-between.

Free log on the other hand allows players to re-play any previously completed level, but this time players can use any character they desire – so long as that character has been unlocked. The third, and final, gameplay mode is Dream Log and this consists of an alternate game play style in which players navigate around multiple islands, which in reality is just a level select screen, in order to defeat strong opponents that play out in a similar musou manner. Once an island has been selected, and in turn defeated, players can progress onward to the next island – and by defeating strong opponents they will become accessible in other gameplay modes as playable characters.

Whichever ‘log’ you chose the gameplay will remain the same, as this is a Dynasty Warriors styled game 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. Compared to the traditional musou warriors rules One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition is easier to play, with the same rules per map, but occasionally the rules for winning the mission can change; such as time restricted or protecting a certain character – so it’s best keeping an eye on the dialogue and notifications that appear on screen.

Regardless of the mission, and character chosen, players will have access to various attacks and those familiar with past musou experiences, such as One Piece: Pirate Warriors, Dynasty Warriors or even Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star, will be familiar with the control layout. In this case light attacks and heavy attacks can be chanined together for combo attacks while pressing the special attack button, when the yellow guage has been filled, will see a devastating attack performed.

Basically if you’ve played any previous musou 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 predetermined as part of the mission, 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 the 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 Free 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 – Deluxe Edition does very well; story progression and cut-scenes. The game cuts out the filler and leaves what’s needed; so much so that each main story arc is done as a single mission with CGI cut-scenes, in the style of a visual novel-come-manga, 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 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition such a great experience; it starts from the ‘very beginning’ of the One Piece timeline and works its up way through to one of the later arcs of the storyline. 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 customize your characters  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 One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition does a pretty fine job of representing it – even on Nintendo’s hybrid console.

This Nintendo Switch edition, or this Deluxe Edition if you prefer, of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 further enhances the already refined experience by including, from my knowledge at least, all of the premium DLC that was released onto the Windows PC and PlayStation Store; including the special pre-order only bonuses. In this case twelve DLC missions, of which are accessed from the Dream Log, and a large selection of outfits, of which can be used in any gameplay mode, are accessible right from the start.

Surprisingly that’s not all this Nintendo Switch edition of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 has to offer as the game even supports local co-op play with single joy-con support. It’s an impressive feature and is enabled by detaching the Joy-Con controllers from the console and pressing + on the character select screen (or on the Dream Mode hub world).

Doing this will enable the Controller select screen to appear and by pressing the small SR & SL buttons on the side of each controller 2-Player support is activated. Naturally local 2-Player is supported via mixture of 2 sets of Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers; but being able to play split-screen local co-op with single Joy-Cons and on in table-top/portable mode is an impressive feat; and it works surprisingly well with the camera staying firm and only turning to points of interest when needed.

Naturally this Nintendo Switch edition of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition deserves all the praise and attention it gets; but unfortunately it’s not without a few flaws and this most likely due to the hybrid nature of the console. Compared to the PlayStation 4 version this Nintendo Switch variation isn’t visually as impressive, with textures looking edgey during combat and environments being rather bland or -at times – failing to load, but the biggest difference comes in draw distance and lighting effects.

Although numerous enemies appear on screen at once they can sometimes be seen ‘popping-in’ at a distance or – if running fast – in front of you. Lightning meanwhile looks superior on the other versions of the game with characters having more realistic effects and colours on them. Truth be told unless you sit with both games side-by-side you may not notice; but once you do its hard to look away.

Regardless of this minor flaws One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition is another high-quality Nintendo Switch port that brings everything we loved about the original release, and so much more, onto the Nintendo Switch; and despite a few niggles with the visuals, and its lack of an online mode, it’s a solid experience regardless of whether its being played in portable or docked modes.

Score: review-stars-4

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 – Deluxe Edition is available worldwide for the Nintendo Switch as a digital download and as a physical release.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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