Developed by Koei and Published by Bandai Namco, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is the latest release from this famous combination. For those not familiar with the One Piece anime, you follow the story of Captain Monkey D. Luffy and his crew The Straw Hats on their adventures to become King of the Pirates.
The story of the game has you playing through the scenes of the anime series, although at a much quicker pace. Monkey D. Luffy, inspired by his idol the famous red-haired pirate Shanks, wants to become the King of the Pirates. So, he picks his crew and set sail on their ship the Going Merry to seek adventure and to achieve that mission. Along the way, they’ll meet new crew members, and lose others – and possibly some ships too.
The game plays in a very similar way to other Koei/Bandai Namco titles, such as Samurai and Dynasty Warriors. By that I mean the main action starts you on a battlefield with set objectives and it’s up to you and your crew mates to tackle thousands of enemies to achieve those missions. You can usually choose from most of the crew, except those in the story line that are required for that particular mission. Each character has their own set of attacks and special moves to keep things interesting. There is a strong RPG element where you can level up the characters as you play through the missions, and with the berries (money) and medals you collect, you can unlock panels of the growth board. These growth boards allow you to boost your basic stats, enhance your combos or learn some passive skills. There is a communal growth board that affects each of your crew and an individual board to boost particular characters you might prefer to play as.
The controls are very responsive and the attacks are as varied as they are amusing. Having not watched the series before I enjoyed watching all the amusing attacks like inflating your body and squashing the enemies, or launching the enemies in the air and performing a cloud of flying fists to hit them multiple times. Each mission has a system on how you are judged from the difficulty level you played on, the number of enemies you defeat or how long it took you to complete the stage. The better you perform, the more experience, berries and medals you receive to upgrade your crew. The missions themselves were quite a fair difficulty and could be enjoyed by many, the only thing that kept tripping me up at times was the navigation of some of the maps. These can have have multiple floors and the map changes as you go up and down them which can be confusing, not really knowing which way to go.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 looks great, with very crisps graphics reminiscent of the anime, but a downside is that the game is subtitled as all the voices are in Japanese, which may not be for everyone. The character designs in the series itself are quite amusing, with many anthropomorphic characters including one of your crew members who is the doctor of the crew, but also a small reindeer. Thanks to some fruit he can become a full-sized reindeer or a human reindeer hybrid. The characters all have bizarre traits as do the enemies and it is interesting to discover them all and learn the story as you play through.
The game can be enjoyed in different ways; you have the dramatic log, which is just playing through the story line or the free log, which is playing through the episodes which you have played through and unlocked on the dramatic log. Then, there is treasure log, where you can explore other quests not directly related to the main story. Regardless of which game mode you choose, any experience or berries you collect then can be used to upgrade your crew. But in a similar fashion to other Warrior franchise games, you can enjoy the main story and the other game modes with a second player locally.
I am already a fan of the Koei Bandai Namco Warrior games and this style paired with the One Piece anime works great. The wildly random characters and story line are very interesting and gripping and if you enjoy smashing slews of enemies with quirky comedic moves then you will enjoy yourselves here. The format can become quite repetitive after a while, but I feel there is enough variety in characters, moves and enemies along with the fun story line to make this a good game.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
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