GAME REVIEW | An Entertaining Third Voyage With "One Piece: Pirate Warriors"
One Piece as a Dynasty Warriors clone was a good idea. Its success led to a sequel, and that game's success has now led to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, and it's a pretty fun time. However there are some small low points to the game that bring it down a bit. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is like most Warriors games: taking characters onto the battlefields and beating up a lot of enemy soldiers with general ease. Its simple but satisfying gameplay makes for some good short session gaming, especially on the Vita. There's a variety of modes to choose from. Legend Log is the game's story mode, where you replay highlights moments of the series various seasons up to the current day. (Of course most of the story is abridged, and is told through comic book panel narration.) You can take over territory and build up your force's strength to make progress through the levels easier, and sometimes it's even necessary. The game will throw ever-changing goals as the battle rages on, in addition to some special events you can participate in. Doing these will earn you special coins which are used to augment your characters. You'll receive some boost stats, while others give you passive skills like increasing the special gauge charge rate. In addition to the special gauge there's a Kizuna level, which will basically make you go into a super powered state for a time depending on its level. It also makes it easier to use support attacks, and Beli-earned skyrockets. The Beli itself is used in the shop to unlock things, but the real interesting thing is you can use Beli to level up characters so they can catch up more easily. This can cut down on grinding for maps with high-recommended level suggestions. If you want to level up outside of the story, there is Free Mode, which also lets you play as the One Piece characters outside of the story mode. There's also Dream Log, where it's a specific challenge mode similar to Dynasty's Conquest Mode, along with an online mode. One interesting addition is that the game borrows a feature from Spike Chunsoft's Shiren the Wanderer series. You can use the touchpad to make a Rescue Request to have a player bail you out of a botched mission. Granted the game isn't that hard, but it's a nice gesture nonetheless. There are some issues with Pirate Warriors 3, however. Considering that this is a game that also is on the Vita, the visual quality isn't really pushing the hardware. At least the game runs at-a near constant 60 frames. Dips rarely happen, and brief if it occurs. It looks acceptable, but the characters have a bit of a plastic look. The lip-sync is also off. Voice acting is in Japanese, so the dub fans might be let down. A bigger issue would be with the game's AI for your partners. Often times losing conditions mean that an ally is retreating after getting hammered by enemy forces. Because the AI is pretty dumb, they will stay at a location until they are either rescued or they get defeated. When special NPCs like Mihawk show up, it can become very hard to keep them alive since they are tough and have a lot of health due to their high levels. Outside of that, it's still a fun time to be had, and even more so with a friend. Just be sure to to make your sessions short, as the inevitable tedium of a beat 'em ups might get to you. VERDICT: The Good: Has a few tweaks to to make grinding less of a hassle The Bad: AI is kind of dumb, and there are many situations which are dependent on keeping your allies alive The Ugly: Visuals are not all that great, even considering that there is a Vita version to account for SUMMARY: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is a fun take on the Warriors formula, making some decent tweaks to cut down on grinding while lending itself well to the franchise. FINAL GRADE: 7.5 (out of ten) PS4 review code provided by Bandai Namco Games via Ramona Layug from Fortyseven PR