Over the past year of reviewing anime content I finally found myself finally face to face with a series that currently boasts an extremely large episode count of over 925 as of this writing. One Piece began airing back in 1999 and has since become one of the faces for anime as a genre even going as far as being an ambassador mascot for the upcoming Olympics held in Japan.
Having such a respected run there would of course be tie in films and even video games for One Piece, one of them created by Koei Tecmo and Omega-Force.
One Piece Pirate Warriors is an ongoing Musuo title made by the creators of Dynasty Warriors and plays much differently than typical hack and slash titles. We recently got a chance to play One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 thanks to Bandai Namco and it is definitely a load of fun if you’re in the right mood and fanbase.
Ya Yo Ya Yo
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy and the Strawhats as the game follows several of the anime story arcs in quick succession with each arc lasting only around 2-3 hours at most. Each arc contains a cliffnoted version of the anime which is the standard with most anime video game adaptions(see My Hero One’s Justice 2 review) but where most fail with connecting the actual story to the gameplay, the Musuo styled gameplay accents several scenarios from the anime into the gameplay itself making it an excellent bridge between the gameplay and the cutscenes.
The main story for the game follows 6 arcs: Alabasta, Enies Lobby, Marineford, Dressrose, Whole Cake Island, and Wano Country. This is abysmal compared to the previous games list of 21 arcs but upon further investigating it’s noticeable that the arcs that are present in both titles look and feel a lot better in Pirate Warriors 4 than they did in it’s predecessor.
One of my absolute favorite arcs in any anime is the Whole Cake Island Arc in which one of our favorite Strawhats Sanji is arranged to be wed and it’s up to the rest of the gang to take down the entirety of the Charlotte Family and it holds up so well in this game compared to other anime game adaptions.
Another upscale is the inclusion of somewhat animated cutscenes using in game models rather than the quick dialogue cutscenes in previous titles. When side by side though most of the major cutscenes are identical albeit with a few touch ups to make it look crisp. Each arc is given a lot more care and time making each arc feel whole rather than hastened for the sake of inclusion.
Gum Gum Gameplay
The gameplay for this game and essentially for ever Musuo styled game is best summed up as “fast and satisfying”. The inputs for Pirate Warriors 4 are insanely easy to remember as there are no real heavy combos but each attack feels satisfying to land and makes button mashing forgivable.
There are a lot of characters in this game with unique moves and skill trees that make each of them a treat to try out. During the Dramatic Log(story) you will get several chances to try out as many characters as possible with each of them having a “Harry Potters wand” moment where you either feel nothing in terms of connection or you instantly bond with them making them your go-to character.
There are several additions to the gameplay including a new aerial combo system in which every character can take to the skies and unleash an arsenal of fists or weapons in beautiful succession. I think it adds to the gameplay quite perfectly edging out all of my issues of the previous game. Some characters floating controls feel really flimsy and uncontrollable in the air. It doesn’t really work too well and feels a little too imprecise with the character feeling incredibly uncontrollable and sometimes broken with hitboxes feeling either non existent or present regardless of distance.
Everything looks ridiculously better with a fresh coat of paint as each asset, hud, and menu feels a lot more tight, responsive, and less cluttered.
The upgrade menu also feels very cohesive with a separate skill tree for each character while also retaining a universal skill tree containing the typical strength, defense, and health upgrades. I found myself maxing out each universal skill around halfway through the game and I have to say it doesn’t really make much of a difference.
Extra Ways To Set Sail
There are extra ways to swashbuckle across the Grand Line in Pirate Warriors 4 including Treasure Log, Free Log, and an online mode.
Treasure Log and free log essentially allow you to meet character requirements and complete side quests in order to unlock more loot and items to use later while online allows you to tackle said quests and areas with other pirates. It rounds out what I would say is a complete package in Pirate Warriors 4.
Although the game is a super niche taste and may turn One Piece fans from a Musuo title or Musuo fans from a One Piece game, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is a treat for fans willing to stick with it. The gameplay absolutely compliments the flow of the story and intertwines itself perfectly making each moment feel as compelling and sometimes as tearjerking as the anime itself. Musuo and One Piece goes together like peanut butter and jelly.
Some of the combat is still clunky but all in all it feels like a large step up from the last title. Teamed together with much better visuals, cleaner layout, a better online function, and the ongoing Wano Country arc this seems like the perfect crew to bring onto the Thousand Sunny.