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Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

One Piece has always been one of my favorite manga. I’ve never watched the anime on the other hand so the colorful designs in Pirate Warriors 3 are new to me. Pirate Warriors 3 is a game like Dynasty Warriors or the more recent Hyrule Warriors, meaning you’ll face a lot of enemies as a lot of famous One Piece characters. It’s the perfect game for the fans but also the perfect game for newcomers since it covers the entire One Piece saga.

The complete story 

The One Piece manga and anime have come a long way and is filled with content. The story is so big that no other One Piece game dared to tell it completely, but that’s exactly what Pirate Warriors 3 does. From the start of little Luffy to the Grand Line adventures, everything you know about the story is there. Of course, the story focuses on key moments but that doesn’t take away the fun. It’s great to see all your favorite heroes in action and it’s even better to know that you can fully control 37 of them! Unlike the other two Pirate Warriors games, the alternative characters, meaning the young and old variations, are playable as one slot. The 37 playable characters truly are different this time around and that’s one of the big plusses of the game.

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As said before, the game lets you play the thrilling story of ‘Pirate King to be’ Luffy and his crew. This can be done in the story ‘Legends’ mode where you play trough different arcs of the manga storyline. Since the last arc features some untold stories, the creators were a little creative in adding bosses, which of course weren’t the original ones we were expecting. Without spoiling it too much, don’t expect the big bosses in the last arc. Aside of this, the game does a great job story wise. It features all important characters including the iconic bosses to defeat. Fans of the manga/anime will have a blast playing trough these without a doubt. Pirate Warriors 3 is the only place where you’re able to go trough the entire One Piece story and it feels great. The storytelling is supported by interactive comic frames that have the famous One Piece humor, all in Japanese but subtitled in English, as it should!

The Dream Log

Besides this interesting story mode, the game also has a Dream Log mode. This is an important mode since it unlocks characters that can’t be unlocked in the main mode. In Dream Log, you pick a character you want to play with and pick one of the two sides. After that, the game will randomly create a map, enemies and allies. You advance by taking down the enemies. On some places in the Dream Log, you’ll face stronger enemies and key characters, defeating those will result in a new playable character. It’s a very fun and yet hard mode, if someone of your team dies, it’s game-over and you need to redo the entire segment. Unlocking new characters isn’t that easy!

 

A lot of great content

 

Free Log and online play

Aside of these two modes, the game offers two more. First of all there’s the Free Log, a mode that lets you replay finished story missions with any character you like. You are no longer limited to the Straw Hat crew but can select every other playable character. This is a great mode for getting to know the other characters and their (special) attacks. Last but not least you have the online mode that basically is the same as the Free Log but you play it with another player online. This is a great mode and it’s impressive to see that the game runs fluently online with that crazy amount of enemies on the screen. As far as content goes, it’s safe to say you’ll be able to spend a lot of your free time in this game. Unlocking all characters and searching for hidden treasures throughout the three playable modes will most-likely take you more than thirty hours.

Classic Warriors gameplay with a twist

Now that we’ve discussed the game modes, it’s also important to talk about the game a little more. Pirate Warriors 3 plays as a classic Dynasty Warriors game, meaning you’ll have to face a lot of enemies at once. It’s incredible to see how many enemies are running on your screen and taking them out in a brutal combo is genius. You have light, heavy and special attacks to take them down. Each character has its own way of controlling so picking your favorite is a very personal thing. Aside of the random guys, you’ll also need to defeat so-called captains or leaders to open up gates or take control over certain environments. During most sessions, the objective changed to keep things interesting. First you needed to take over an environment and after that you needed to take down a boss character that appeared on your map for example.

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To this point it all looks familiar to those who’ve played a Warriors game before, new are the support attacks and special ‘Kizuma Drive’ attacks. Based on the story, you’re assigned with a support characters. This character will help you by attacking the enemies for you. Interesting is the fact that you level up this support character, the more combos you inflict; the higher the level of the support character. Once this level reaches the maximum, you can use your Kizuma Rush attack, which is a powerful dual attack with a nice animation. This Kizuma attack inflicts a lot of damage and is best used to take down large packs of enemies or bosses. Your normal special attacks are powerful and fun to watch as well but nothing can be compared to those Kizuma attacks for sure. The only downside about it all is that the game will always chose the support character for you. It’s a shame we could never select it ourselves.

A small RPG layer

The gameplay doesn’t stop there however. Pirate Warriors 3 also features a small but noticeable RPG layer. After each fight, you level up your character, based on how good you’ve done, you get rewarded with points. These can be used to increase the health, attack, defense or specials of your character. Playing as one character for a longer time will result in a more powerful one to use in battles. It’s important to ‘train’ your characters well so that you can advance in the story or Dream Log mode. Without a high level character, you won’t be able to defeat some of the enemies. It’s something that feels very natural and it doesn’t take much of your time but leveling your characters can’t be forgotten. All characters also have a kind of skill tree that can be activated by completing certain tasks. It’s a small but fun RPG element in the game.

Gorgeous presentation

This bring us to the last point worth discussing, the presentation. Since the game is also releasing on PlayStation 3 and Vita, it isn’t the best-looking PC or PlayStation 4 game out there. That doesn’t take away the fact that the amount of characters on the screen is truly impressive. The game looks and feels like a playable anime episode thanks to the cell-shaded graphics, gorgeous cut scenes and fun comic panels. It could have looked a little better for sure but we’re not disappointed.

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What couldn’t be better on the other hand is the soundtrack. From the main theme to the combat and location themes, everything fits the game perfectly. This is by far one of the best One Piece soundtracks out there and I’m sure a lot of fans will enjoy the famous tunes. Aside of this, the Japanese voice action is original and sounds incredibly realistic. A lot of time and love went into the soundtrack and we’re sure a lot of you will love it as well.

Conclusion:

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is a classic Dynasty Warriors spin-off like Hyrule Warriors. If you didn’t like previous Warriors games, stay away from this one as well, there’s nothing to enjoy if you don’t like the Warriors genre. If you do know and love the franchise, than this Pirate Warriors 3 is without a doubt one of the most fun entries in years. It’s the perfect game for the fans; it’s the game they’ve been dreaming of for ages. If you aren’t a One Piece fan, give this game a shot since it’s the perfect starting point for newcomers. The great amount of playable characters and fun game modes transform this game into a truly fun game to play and to have. See you all on the Grand Line!

8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.