If you are familiar with the Dynasty Warriors franchise, you know it’s basic gameplay is to either capture the map or defeat certain enemies with flashy over the top button mash gameplay. One would think that this type of gameplay would mesh perfectly with the One Piece franchise and four games lately seems to prove this notion correct. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed entries 1-3, but how does this latest one stack up? We found out in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4.
I hope you are familiar with One Piece and its 900+ chapters of characters and lore because this game is definitely for the fans. Previous games have gone more into depth with the earlier story beats, but this game opts to only touch on 3 major arcs pre-time skip. Not surprisingly in the least, but I was a bit disappointed, that a lot the post-time skip story was glossed over. What we get is the re-introduction on Sabaody Archipelago, Dressrosa, Whole Cake Island, and Wano. Like the previous games since the current arc in Wano is still currently going, the game does its own version and story of it. If all the words and names don’t mean squat to you well this may not be the game for you. It heavily relies on its audience already knowing the story so it doesn’t have to go too in depth. The crux of the game is its gameplay… which can be hit and miss.
Pirate Warriors is an exercise in mindless fun in a good way, you’ll go through scores and scores of enemy fodder easily pulling off some of your favorite character’s most powerful moves. The combat has been expanded since the last game, adding air-combos and more transformations. Each character feels like its own person and feels true to the source material. Some characters excel in the air while others are heavy hitters. At times, you really do feel like your favorite Straw Hat living out that power fantasy.
Unfortunately, other times you feel just plain frustrated. The controls aren’t very tight and can be very squirrely which can be pretty frustrating when you can’t hit your target. Sometimes fighting against the camera can be an uphill battle. While there is a lock on system, it doesn’t lock the camera on the target but your character to the target. And even then you can lose your target pretty easily when there are lot of enemies on screen. It’s hard to control characters who can stay airborne at times since you can’t really control your altitude. And when things get really hectic and fast, I often found my camera caught in a wall or behind a building. It’s not awful, but definitely could be a lot tighter.
Pirate Warriors also has a Free Log mode, which lets you replay any mission with any characters you’ve unlocked and a Treasure Log mode that are missions with different challenges and enemies. Every mission is ranked so if you want the added challenge you can go for an S rank on everything. There’s enough here to keep you busy for quite some time, especially for those completionist.
This game at its core is plain ol’ mindless fun and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I wish it was more polished. I feel like the last entry offered more and had a tighter control scheme. If you’re a fan of One Piece, this can keep you busy for a while. You’ll get frustrated at times, but overall you’ll have fun. However, if you aren’t into One Piece then I really can’t recommend this to you. With a bunch of other games coming out, I would say just grab one of those.