One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 – The PS3 Attitude Review
Be prepared for some achey thumbs as we find out whether Pirate Warriors 2 is the game One Piece fans wanted.
The story focuses on Luffy and Nami as they fight to free the remaining members of the Straw Hat Pirates, who are being manipulated via dials, whilst battling off rival pirate gangs and the Marines. To those not so savvy with the One Piece universe, dials are mysterious devices that store energy and are created with the remains of specific shellfish.
Whilst the new non-canon story has a loose plot to tie all events together, it’s not very in-depth and has little room for character development. Luckily, the characters are as fans remember them but, if you’re new to the series, you’ll still be able to understand the story and characters easily. There’s an in-game knowledge base to get you up to speed with the world, characters and terms, too.
The gameplay is one of the biggest focuses in the game, and although it’s as simple as mashing square and triangle, there’s a lot more depth if you’re willing to take advantage of the game’s mechanics. The main focus is to defeat as many enemies as possible alongside bosses, and in doing so, you can capture enemy territory to increase how many allies you have on the field and vice versa.
You’ll only control one character on-field but you’re able to select a Crew Member to assist you, allowing you to create more powerful special attacks. You even have a chance of controlling the other character for a moment, but only if you’ve defeated enough enemies during Style Action; this is when you become more powerful for a while and can use stronger – and flashier – special moves.
There are different character classes such as Attacker and Technical, but they don’t vary greatly. The biggest difference is that one class has more elemental-based abilities but, even with the recommendation of who to play as before each stage begins, you’ll manage fine with whichever character you choose – and there’s plenty of choice!
The graphics truly shine and aid in giving the game personality, something that a long-running anime and manga series like One Piece demands. The animations are beautiful and capture the anime-stylings of the show, especially the over-the-top actions that rubberman Luffy and crew are capable of. It can sometimes get a little bit too hectic and you may lose sight of your character, but rest assured you can fight your way out of obscurity.
The animated cutscenes look equally as good but it’s a shame that there aren’t many of them. There are, however, small segments that are prompted during specific battles which give fights a much more epic feel, standing out amongst the thousands (no, we’re not exaggerating) of cannon fodder you’ll fight in between.
Each character also has unique special attacks and stage outros. For example, if you complete a stage with Nami then you can expect her to walk away with a generous bundle of loot.
The audio is equally as pleasing; both the soundtrack and sound effects are satisfying and a delight to listen to. The soundtrack fits the theme of adventure the game aims for, whilst attacks pack a delightful, anime-inspired punch.
Sadly, it seems that developer Omega Force and publisher Namco Bandai think that One Piece, despite being one of the most popular anime series to date, is still not popular enough in English-speaking countries; that’s right, there’s no English dub. This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but the translated subtitles frequently sport errors.
Luckily, the Japanese dub is very good and – we can’t stress this enough - listening to Perona’s ‘Horohorohoro!’ laugh will always bring a smile to our faces.
There’s a generous amount of lasting appeal to be found in Pirate Warriors 2, especially with its many side-missions (known as Crew Logs). The single-player offering is pretty expansive, and is easily roughly 15 hours in length.
Crew Logs are unlockable episodes for every playable character, each of which can easily take up to an hour to complete. Your chosen character fights for various reasons, ranging from a crew member wanting to prove their worth or attempting to make amends through fighting; because that’s how the Thousand Sunny crew rolls!
There’s also a co-op mode in which you send or receive a Rescue Request to help someone during a stage. You can play together online or locally on all story stages apart from the Prologue chapter, as you’re forced to play as Luffy for these 2 stages.
Although One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 may lack the grand sense of adventure found in the anime, it’ll be sure to please fans with its range of playable characters, true-to-character charm and addictive gameplay. However, if there’s a Pirate Warriors 3, which there likely will be, we’d like to see a more fleshed-out story mode to complement the rest of the content found in the game.