It seems like One Piece games are constantly releasing and they come in many varieties but the most popular is the Musou-style Pirate Warriors. So, let's find out what Luffy and his gang of misfits are up to this time around.
For starters, if you expect One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 to be some kind of revolutionary take on the classic formula then you'll likely be disappointed with it. That being said, although it remains very true to the genre and plays it rather safe, it still makes for a fun time. The main story campaign (Dramatic Log) contains multiple arcs that each consist of a handful of stages. Even though I'm fairly certain that the story is new for Pirate Warriors 4, it's all extremely familiar and stereotypical so if you've played any other One Piece game, you'll know exactly what to expect here. On the plus side, there's a huge cast of characters and it's very rewarding whenever you unlock familiar faces and folks who you may not immediately recognize. Overall, it's quite a standard affair but one that genre fans will enjoy.
The core gameplay involves unleashing normal and charge attacks as well as dashing and jumping out of harm's way. Locking on to leader-type enemies and picking them off one-by-one is satisfying stuff indeed and what's even more gratifying is deploying the over-the-top special moves. You do so by holding a shoulder button then tapping a face button and these moves involve everything from devastating wide-area attacks to transforming your character in nifty ways. Although I love experimenting with these special moves and the gameplay is solid, there's no denying just how tedious it gets in certain stages. This is especially the case whenever you're confronting a boss because you merely chip away at their extensive health bar and rarely need to implement any sort of strategy.
Even though I'm not overly impressed with its gameplay, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4's presentation is absolutely fantastic. As I've mentioned, there's a huge cast of characters and they all look great as if the manga has come to life. Their animations are superb and whenever you see someone perform some sort of crazy move whether it's mid-game or in a cutscene, it's a treat to behold. Additionally, the environments are detailed and fun to explore. Heck, whenever you fight near structures, the impact of your blows often destroys buildings or at least damages them severely and effects like that really make the combat exciting. On top of all this, the music is a familiar mix of rock instruments and orchestral arrangements that elevates the atmosphere to fun-filled heights. It's great stuff!
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 features a wealth of content to unlock. As you play through the story mode, you'll unlock cleared stages to enjoy within Free Log mode as well as new scenarios within Treasure Log mode. Plus, there is a huge gallery that contains unlockable encyclopedia and glossary entries, guides, and it even includes a music player and event viewer. Of course, making your characters more powerful via upgrading nodes on their growth maps and assigning special moves and skills which offer boosts is rewarding stuff, too. With all of that being said, I can't help but wish more modes were included because even with all of this content, the core gameplay never really sees its full potential with the lack of additional modes and challenges which could have fleshed out the experience.
I enjoyed my time with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 yet it doesn't quite offer a wholly fresh and exciting gameplay formula. So, if you're happy with more of the same albeit with flashy visuals and cool special moves then you should give it a go.
- + Solid gameplay with awesome special moves
- + Fantastic visuals, characters, special effects, music, and environments
- + Lots of unlockables and replay value
- - Story isn't quite new and exciting
- - Gameplay gets rather tedious in certain stages, especially during the boss fights
- - Could use additional modes and content