One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Review


This was reviewed on PS4

With almost 800 manga chapters and over 700 episodes of the anime on my belt it goes without saying that I am a huge fan of One Piece. I've also been a fan of the Dynasty Warriors' gameplay, so combining those two into one means I'm already a fan and will play it immediately. It feels like every year a new Pirate Warriors comes out every year and I always enjoy myself with each entry. After playing the third entry in the series I would like to report good things are happening for this entry in the series. In Pirate Warriors 3 you have 37 playable character that vary from your favorite straw hat pirates, allies or villains from other story arcs; the developer also brings back the original One Piece Story that I very much enjoyed. 


Story

One Piece starts off with the execution of the current Pirate king Gold Roger. Before he was executed he announces to the world that he left all his treasure in 'One Piece' at the end of the grand line. This event created a new era in the world known as 'The Great Age of Pirates' with many pirates searching for One Piece and making all there dreams come true. Many years later you are put into the shoes of Monkey D. Luffy who dreams of finding One Piece and becoming the king of the pirates. This was motivated by his role model Shanks; who was a pirate apprentice for Gold Roger. Shanks put his hope in Luffy to be a great pirate by giving him his precious straw hat. A promise was made between them as well as a dream. In order to achieve that dream he needs to start his own pirate crew. He starts off in the weakest sea in the world, it is known as the East Blue; the story of One Piece starts there. 

Pirate Warriors 3's story mode is divided into five chapters, the first chapter is divided into five episodes while chapters two to five are all divided into four episodes. Majority of the time each episode tells a whole story arc from One Piece; while some story arcs are divided into two episodes. the game does a good job of summarizing the story arc before getting into the action in each episode. Unlike past Pirate Warriors game this entry does a really good job of including all the important story arcs from One Piece. I will admit not having some of the smaller story arcs like an Alvida episode for example is sad but I can understand why they didn't do it.

Gameplay

At the end of the day Pirates Warriors 3 is still gonna play like a Dynasty Warriors game. If you're not into that then you might not enjoy it but if you are I'm happy to report that the gameplay has gotten better. When first playing as Luffy in the first episode I will admit it felt weird to me but over time I really got use to the controls; gameplay feels a bit faster now. The game also gives more reason replay levels thanks to the legend feature, it rewards you by playing the level differently be that difficulty, goal on the level, time to complete the level and other ways as well. Completing the legend in each episode in story mode gives a piece to a large poster that can be viewed in the gallery. The Online aspect of Pirate Warriors is the same in the sequel, you get to play story levels with your nakama; this time it has it's own ranking system.

Kizuna Drive:
Pirate Warriors has never shied away from allies helping you on the battlefield, you now have the choice of which particular ally can help you in certain situations.Getting them to help is not automatic, only by filling up a new gauge called the 'Kizuna Drive' gauge to level 2 can they help; the only way to fill it up is to defeat enemy minions on the battlefield. When you finish a regular attack combo your ally can add a little more to the combo at Level 2 or above. When filling up the gauge to max you can truly activate Kizuna Drive, activating it gives you a power boost for a limited time. 

Kizuna Rush:
Before the time is done you have the choice of activating Kizuna's Drive special attack, this combines your character's and your allies' attack into one combination attack like in the anime; this attack is called Kizuna Rush. When you activate Kizuna Drive again but with another character, the character you used before can also help; this can be done with up to four allies; because of that you can do a Kizuna Rush with those same four characters so enemies should be on the look out for your quintuple combination attack. It's fair to say Kizuna Drive is an awesome addition to the Pirate Warriors formula, it makes you really feel like you are really playing with allies even when you aren't. 

The Coin System:
Coins were introduced in the last Pirate Warriors entry and there really wasn't that much thought put into it honestly. There was a choice of having one to five coins powering up either life, attack, and defense; if each coins had a positive relationship in the One Piece world then the value of the power up would go up. Placing coins that had no relationship whatsoever, it wouldn't make that much of power difference on a particular character's stats you are trying to increase. Another thing about the coins there was only one version of every coin so you couldn't equip it to multiple characters.

In Pirate Warriors 3 the coin system has improved greatly, coins are now are divided into two categories; the common coins which are bronze and the rare coins which are the gold coins. Instead placing the coins of your choice in a blank spot to increase your stats, the coin is already there but you have to fill it up with the coins you've earned in the game. For common coins you are given multiple versions with a limit of 99, so using the same coin on multiple characters is now an option. There is only one of version of a single rare coin, you maybe thinking that rare coins can only be used once and that's it; you would be wrong. Once you earn a rare coin you can use any number of times on any character who has the rare coin in question on their menu.

You have the option to upgrade life, attack, defense, the special upgrade gauge and the skill slot in this entry of Pirate Warriors; you need to fill a minimum of one coin to a maximum of three coins multiple times in order to increase one stats. Characters can also learn new special attacks and other things like Seond Gear for example. In Past Pirate Warriors games each character had been limited Level 50, this time around that limit can be broken by rare coins. Each  character has it's own set of rare coins that can break it's level limit; if you're going to 100% the game this will probably give you more reason to do so.

Costumes:
In the last Pirate Warriors game, there was two option for Luffy and the other straw hat pirates in the playable character screen; before and after timeskip options. This really crowded the playable character screen, now with costumes you don't have to see the same character on the playable character screen twice. Some costumes most notably the timeskip costumes play way more differently then the costumes you start out with for obvious reasons. It's a very small detail but a very welcomed addition to the Pirate Warriors series.

I applaud the developers for adding these new features, it's a very fun game and it feel more like an RPG then past games have tried to do. If a Pirate Warriors 4 ever happens I do hope this coin system and other features comes back but even better.


Visual/Graphics


This probably is the most beautiful looking game in the series so far. In the past games the 3d looking One Piece characters looked weird at first but over time I've personally gotten use to the visuals. This time around the game visually looks like the One piece anime. Seeing the emotional scenes recreated in this art style brings all the emotions I was feeling at the time. I think One Piece Pirate Warriors being developed on a more powerful console like the PS4 really brought out the beauty this series can achieve.

Downsides

Gameplay wise I really don't see anything negative I can bring up, with each entry in the series the gameplay keeps getting better from my perspective. As a One Piece fan though I would have loved if they expanded each story arcs with characters that were missing in this iteration; be it characters with just a speaking role or characters that I would of loved to fight in any of the story arcs.

Lack of Female Minions:
I would actually loved to see an Amazon Lily episode in the story mode, but for that to happen they would need female character minions; since Amazon Lily is a female only island that Luffy is blasted into. The lack of female grunts, captains or commanders is something I personally have a problem with not just in Pirate Warriors but any of the other Omega Force games I've played.

Season Pass of Costumes:
I don't personally have a problem with season passes, but when I saw that One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 has season pass for costumes only I questioned why it was there. I'm not really the biggest fan of costume DLC, I personally think it should be in the game and can be automatically accessed or unlocked like other costumes in the game. I know fighting game players—the ones I know at least —enjoy costume DLC in there games; I will still question it as they exist in it's current form.

Other then that I really don't have any problems with One Piece Pirate Warriors 3.

Final Verdict



When comparing this entry to past Pirate Warrior games, on just story mode alone this is the best story mode execution in the series so far. It takes what I liked from the past Pirate Warriors with none of the negative while adding even more into it and they put it into a very unique package. If you are a fan of One Piece you will enjoy yourself with One Piece Pirate Warriors 3. That doesn't mean fans that aren't well versed in One Piece won't enjoy themselves, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is a good stepping stone into becoming a fan; after that watch the anime because it's really good. I would give One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 a 8.5 out of 10, it's great and I highly recommend it for the above reasons.
Written by Dennis Price

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