There’s one thing my readers need to know before you read this review. I have never seen an episode of One Piece in my life so am not savvy to the subject material that this game is based around. The other thing that you should know is that if ever there were a company or two to represent an Anime brand then you wouldn’t need to look any further than Namco and Tecmo KOEI and with that in mind and a little reference work, settled down to some furious and chaotic action.
The story of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is a “dream story”—an alternate universe story where all of the Straw Hat Pirates but Luffy and Nami are turned evil by a mysterious black mist. Thus, in order to save their friends, Luffy and Nami must team up with their enemies—like Smoker and Perona—as well as with various well-known allies to fight off this mind controlling menace.
While not terribly original as far as plots go, it does allow for a lot of fan service. Dream matches between the series’ strongest characters happen one after the other in awesome cutscenes; and the game loves to tease One Piece fans by mirroring the most dramatic moments from the anime/manga and then taking them in a whole different direction.
The gameplay itself could be plucked straight out of a Dynasty Warriors game with your characters destroying hoards of enemies, utilising the smooth fight mechanics enabling you to combo with timed precision laying waste to hundreds, if not thousands of characters. One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 doesn’t rely on a straight forward fighting either with plenty of mini quests, mini boss battles, battles for territorial control to make each level interesting and appeal in new ways.
Crew fights also make an appearance who can be called upon during battle to help out. As the characters enter the game they may also need help at which point you may need to fight your way back through the level to help out. It’s an interesting mix of survival play as well constantly having to readjust your strategy in order to complete the level under the rules drawn out at the beginning.
Treasure chests are also on hand to aid in the collection of health, power ups, , money, special coins and collectibles which can be used for purchasing special abilities, new combos and things at the shop in the main menu. As you approach each new level there is a chance to add power up coins to your character in order to add health, power and the like. You also have the option to choose your battle partners too as long as they’re unlocked and enabling some good depth and customisation to proceedings for longevity of gameplay.
A co-operative mode has also been implemented in One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 enabling a way of other players who are at your level to jump in, help out and leave again after the level is complete. The player presses start to send out a ‘SOS’ which will alert everyone else that is on that level that you need help, the first one to press the button will jump in your game and this works very effectively in developing an element that is missed in many an Eastern title. There is no co-operative mode in the prologue missions but as the story progresses you can pretty much play everything with a partner in crime.
Each mission that is completed can also be completed in free episode mode allowing for a numerous amount of customisation in terms of characters, rules and and other options to play out each level differently adding value to the longevity of the game. Challenge modes and online modes are also present to give you a little more competition once your characters have been levelled up enough to be able to be competitive.
For all of the action going on in game and the amount of characters present you would expect a little drop in frame rate very now and again but my time with One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 suffered from no noticeable ill effects on the graphical front at all. In fact the graphical presentation is clean, crisp and rich in colour, vibrant in its hues and everything you would expect from an anime presentation.
There are, like most games nowadays, little quirks and annoyances in the game. Major boss battles seem to be mising from the game instead being replaced by mini boss battles that are not as satisfying as you would imagine. The game’s cameras can also suffer on occasion and an area can be quite closed in terms of view at times and with so much happening on screen sometimes tasks can get a little lost in the chaos of it all.
Overall though One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 takes a lot of good from the Dynasty Warriors franchise and packages itself in a beautiful looking game that excels in terms of fluidity as well as incorporate enough content and game modes to keep the purchaser happy. This is certainly a game that will hold the attention of every One Piece fan given them the full One Piece experience, including all the characters they’ve come to know and love with costume and movesets that are different allowing for fresh styles of play.
Although not something I would immediately pick up as a title that I would enjoy I found the learning curve smooth allowing to not get frustrated too early on whilst learning the mechanics of the game. The fluid control system, character development and how the game prompts you to what you’re meant to be doing is the icing on the cake to a well put together package.