One Piece: Pirate Warriors – Reliving The One Piece Experience

By Laura . October 10, 2012 . 3:30pm

Usually, I’m rather skeptical when it comes to anime-to-game transitions. It almost feels like a disaster waiting to happen, no matter how perfect the formula seems to be on the TV screen. However, perhaps what makes One Piece: Pirate Warriors work isn’t that it tries to be the anime and retell all the events that happen up to the long-awaited reunion on Sabody Archapelago. Rather, the game seems to prioritize re-enacting the most memorable scenes in One Piece.


In One Piece: Pirate Warriors, Story events in the Main Log (the main story) are split into two portions—conversation and event scenes.


Conversation scenes aren’t anything special (mostly summary in a manga-style format), but a lot of effort has clearly been put into making the event scenes look beautiful. Just the textures are detailed enough that I could tell what material the clothes were made of. Denim, leather, cotton, different types of fur, the woven straw on Luffy’s hat—everything looks incredibly convincing. To complement this, the shading is done so that it looked like inking done by a pen, like in a manga.


Another real pleasure is being able to watch everyone in the crew dance through their unique fighting styles in ways we’ll never see in either the anime or manga. Despite the potential mess this could’ve made, Pirate Warriors does a good job in making everyone balanced and different. Luffy, being the main character and the one you play during the main game, is all-purpose. Sanji’s combos tend to travel over the field, while Zoro emphasizes close quarters fighting. Nami’s attacks require some set up to pull off correctly but are extremely powerful once you do so. Usopp is long range, while Robin has long, wide range attacks (that are harder to aim). Franky specializes in midrange, while most attacks skip over Chopper. Finally (for the Straw Hat crew), Brook can cause status effects with his music.


On top of the Straw Hat crew, there are four more characters that you can control—Boa Hancock, Jinbei, Whitebeard, and Ace. While these characters’ regular attacks aren’t unique, their special abilities heavily play into their fighting styles.


As its name suggests, Pirate Warriors’ gameplay takes a leaf out of Dynasty Warriors’ book. As I’ve personally never played a game in the latter series, I was a little lost at first, regarding what to do and how to work the map. The manual and in-game tutorial aren’t very helpful, so it was only with some experimentation that I was able to understand how to use the map and what the goal was.


Basically, in the Musou portions, you beat up enemies in a territory until the enemy gauge reaches zero, at which point a Leader appears. Beat the Leader and the area is under your control. You then travel through the newly open gates and do the same thing again. To spice things up a bit, the story will prompt you to complete certain missions. Sometimes you will have to help a crew member defeat an enemy that’s appeared on the map. Other times you will have to hunt down and defeat specific marked enemies all over the map before a certain time limit. Once you reach the end of all the missions (some missions you don’t have to complete successfully, but you do get coins and satisfaction for doing so), a final boss will appear. Defeat him and, in general, the chapter is done.


Not everything is free-for-all button-mashing fighting, though. In both the Musou (especially in the final boss battle) and the Action parts of the Main Log (the main story), Pirate Warriors uses “platforming”. In a pseudo-action game manner, you control Luffy through mazes of enemies and obstacles trying to reach one destination or another. The obstacles are rather ingenious, too, with Luffy using his rubber elasticity in all sorts of manners to fling, cling, and swing from one platform to the next. These are fun and serve to let you see more of the One Piece islands that were never really explored in the manga such as Water 7, and they do break up the tedium of Musou battle after battle nicely. They also fit snugly into the established plot, which is nice.


(The faithfulness of the game in the scenes it does depict is wonderful. About the only complaint I have in this regard is that the costumes aren’t consistent with their costumes in that arc, but of all the problems they could have had, that’s one of the better ones.)


Unfortunately, the same attention can’t be said for the generic lackeys, whose designs get reused and reused ad nauseam over different islands. Some of the Leaders even seem to be less dangerous copies of previous final bosses. However, extra care was put into the final bosses such as Arlong and Kizaru, who are just as intimidating and appropriately difficult as they would be in the original series. Platforming, too, makes an appearance in the boss battles in the main game. For example, in order to put a stop to Warden Magellan’s poisonous attacks, you’ll have to pick up a log and throw it at him to halt him (since Luffy can’t actually touch him). To damage Crocodile, you’ll have to pick up some water from nearby spouts, which will make him both tangible and temporarily stunned.


This part, admittedly, was annoying. While it was more interactive, it also meant that I died at the harder battles solely because I didn’t know which gimmicks to use when the first time around. However, this problem doesn’t appear in Another Log. Another Log is basically where you can use any of the controllable characters in the game on any map in a Musou battle. This levels the characters up (since only Luffy levels up in the Main Log), which in turn makes them stronger in Main Log. Leveling also unlocks new combos for you to use.


For each character you can choose, the maps are unlocked in a vague semblance of a story, but there’s no meat to the pseudo-plot. In fact, the summaries are directly from Main Log and you can even play another character’s route if you wish.  I heard that Another Log actually contains alternate routes for the other characters, so perhaps I just haven’t played far enough to see them?


For the Online portion of the game, you’re basically playing Another Log with a friend. In fact, if you set up the session, you can even complete a route by playing Online. Otherwise there’s no real advantage to playing online other than having a partner better than the pretty bad AI and getting better rewards for each battle.


Overall, as a fan, I can’t describe the joy of seeing the best scenes from an anime I love rendered in 3D with the original voices and astounding visuals. At the same time, though, I’m also vaguely sad that this game isn’t designed with people unfamiliar with the series in mind, and doesn’t do much to cater to them.


If you’re someone that likes reading spoilers before watching an anime series, you might like this game. If not, the summary provided in the game is hardly enough for the events that happen between the featured scenes. While the ones shown are amazing—just as touching as they are in the original series if you let the voice run on auto—the summaries that condense what happens in that particular arc before the battles are sorely lacking and do it no justice. In addition, to simplify things, many arcs are simply omitted and some details are changed.


Ultimately, though, One Piece: Pirate Warriors was a fun, memorable experience for me, especially because I haven’t seen some of the series’ standout scenes in anime form. I very much enjoyed watching all the fights in action and revisiting some of the most poignant scenes in the series complete with original voices intact and the gorgeous visuals.


Food for thought:

1. The game can get a bit hand-holding with its prompts and swinging camera angles going “do this here!” during platforming stages. Sometimes the prompts get a bit too zealous and I’m stuck going, “Um, the camera went to fast… Where was it pointing?!”


2. All of the playable characters are well-balanced. Usopp and Nami are far stronger than I thought they’d be, although I did rely on the Crew Strike function (basically summoning another crew member to add a few strikes into the combo) quite a bit with them.


3. The game allows some equipment in the form of Coins. These are dropped after every battle depending on how well you do. Coins can increase stats or three Coins together can unlock a special ability.


4. The auto-camera in this game is absolutely horrid. Better than nothing, but half the time you’ll find yourself manually controlling the camera anyways because it’s moving too slow for the enemy. Also, getting it to lock on is a pain.


5. I absolutely loved the boss battles, despite my complaining about the gimmicky parts in Main Log. Seeing all of the enemies use their attacks was a real treat. I think my favorite was Aokiji, while I had the hardest time with Magellan (for gimmicky and non-gimmicky reasons) and Kizaru.  My most despised was Warpool.


6. Scenes and arcs not included in the game include Usopp’s meeting (which is weird if you think about it from a story point of view), Whiskey Peak, Little Garden, Sky Islands, Davy Back Fight, and Thriller Bark. The game essentially ends after Ace’s rescue. Some events in the game are changed to accommodate for final boss fights (I’m pretty sure Luffy never actually fights Akainu) and platforming events, but nothing damaging. The end of the game did add a nice touch to the original series’ events, though.

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  • Göran Isacson

    Question- is the Aokiji fight the one after the skipped Davy Back Fight, or do you fight him in the Marineford war? Also, please tell me that Bon Clay is a prominent ally in the Impel Down arc, for I am a very big fan of him and dearly hope he’s in this game too.

    • You fight everyone first in Marineford, except Kizaru who appears first on Sabaody.
      Mr.2 is in Impel Down yes, I’m not done with the Impel down chapters in the game, but he was pretty prominent in the scenes I’ve seen.

    •  You only fight him at Impel Down, in the final chapter, as Luffy.

      Bon Clay does indeed fight with you.  In fact, the game goes out of its way to include him.  However, you can’t use him in battle, nor can you call upon him for combo attacks.

      • Impel Down? Why did they change that, it practically makes no sense D:

        •  …Oh.  Sorry.  Marineford, you’re right.  Slight brain bomb just now._.

          *begs for forgiveness

          • It’s ok, that just confused me a bit xD

      • Göran Isacson

        While my heart weeps that he’s not playable, I can always hope that’s corrected in a possible sequel ;) Thanks for answering my questions!

  • Kite

    Not to mention the online is WAAAAAY Too easy. :I

    •  You can always try Hard mode? =3

  • StarWarudo

    Ace is the most fun to use, followed closely by Luffy. 

    • Luffy is so overpowered though, great range and a variety of boss and AoE attacks. But yes very fun. I’m interested to see how Ace is gonna be.

  • They never captured all the moments though which is what annoyed me. One of the characters death was simply told in text. That REALLY pissed me off. Especially since I was more of a fan of this character than the other character that died in the same arc.

    Choppers flag scene was amazing as ever though. As was Merry.

    • I was surprised that it would be so abbreviated, too.  I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t get to see a lot of the arcs and scenes I found interesting and sad and touching (even the character pasts!!), and summaries hardly do them justice…

      But what they did do was great.  I cried at the end of the Ennes Lobby scene (anime, manga, game.  All three times, jeezus).  ^^;

      • Kibbitz

        It is Ennies Lobby after all. It has that effect on everyone.

      • Anone

        there’s no shame in manly tears ^^
        EDIT: Oopps….just realized the name is Laura. LOL

  • Spirit Macardi

    I’m waiting until the price drops before getting this, since I don’t feel like paying $40 for a download-only game that doesn’t even have an English dub track.

    • Jake Joe

      I’m pretty sure it is $50 and because there is no physical Disc no is really no need for Sony to drop the price on the PSN store. So be prepared to wait over a year or two before a maybe a price drop.

  • Captain_Jiruo

    As a fan of both the Warriors games and One Piece this game is perfection for me. Just getting to play as all the different characters and use their moves is fantastic.

  • Story mode wise I think the best anime musou is still Fist of the North Star as it showed most of the important scenes, and had more than just one character playable. I had loved if they had made some separate routes(instead of just following Luffy) and included more enemies(I missed the blonde Lady from CP9!). 

    But I’m optimistic and hope we’ll see a sequel like how FotNS is getting one, and the stuff that is in the game is really fantastic. Best One Piece game and a great experience~

  • Hinataharem

    I share your pain with Whapol. He was horrible for me. I didn’t realize I had to do what I thought wasn’t working to beat him

    •  I had the opposite problem.  In the end, I just ignored Chopper’s advice because following it was what was killing me.  I beat him by brute force >_>

  • Mr_SP

    The costumes are really difficult to ride them on – a lot of characters do a fair bit of costume changing, so they came up with *one* costume for everyone, except the New World costumes for Luffy, Sanji and Zoro, and Luffy’s colour switching… and then they released Hancock’s original outfit as DLC… *sigh*

    Another Log… There’s no alternate routes. It’s just the Musou parts of the main log, played by characters who were in them. There’s no neat alternative story like they do in DW:Gundam or Ken’s Rage. Heck, Ace’s victory over Akainu in his Another Log is undone by playing the same post-battle summary as everyone else’s.

    No, Luffy never fights Akainu – if you do things “like the manga”, doing exactly what the missions say, never permitting any areas be taken that missions don’t tell you to (or allow some to be taken back – basically, end the stage with no more than 4 allied bases), then you get a special trophy for it, and completely skip the Akainu fight. The Akainu fight is purely for the sake of being climactic… and letting the One Piece fans get a little bit of revenge.

    I have a very different opinion of the Logia users. Logia Users tend to have extremely long invincibility frames for far too many of their attacks. It’s less important in Another Log, which seems to be a bit easier than the Main Log, but when Aokiji just refuses to stop turning to ice, and Kizaru insta-dashes right out of your attack range, it makes things annoying.

    The camera lock-on only works when you can *see* what you’re locking on to. It won’t lock onto things behind you.

    • It wasn’t just locking the camera on in the first place, though.  It was also the fact that even if you were locked on, the camera wouldn’t move fast enough without your help.

      Haha, the Logia users are cool, but I’ll admit you’re right.  Aokiji wasn’t a problem because he also causes freezing, which … I don’t know if it makes sense, but I’m more accepting of the fact that I can’t hit Aokiji because he’ll freeze me in place than I am of the fact that you just hit air when you try to punch Kizaru as he teleports around willy-nilly.

      I was told (just earlier) that the “different scenarios” for Another Log are a staple for Musou series?  That the scenarios just means “different missions” rather than different story.  Shame.  I was hoping to see the events from another character’s POV. 

      I appreciated that opportunity for revenge, soooo so much =)

      • Mr_SP

         Well, the “different scenarios” aspect depends on the game. Different games approach it in different fashions – Ken’s Rage and Samurai Warriors do it really nicely (Ken’s Rage had completely made up stories for every character after beating the manga’s story, and Samurai Warriors has semi-historical stories for every character as it’s main story mode), but it barely existed back in earlier Dynasty Warriors games. Even recently, Dynasty Warriors 7 has in-depth stories for each Kingdom, with a great deal of character development for many major figures, spread across several characters, but there’s not enough time for everyone, and some of those characters may be for only a single stage.

        In Pirate Warriors, each stage has different missions depending on the character, and sometimes there’s rules that you don’t expect – one character (Brook, IIRC?) has a stage where fields disappear, rather than being converted to your forces – but the stages are basically “Pirates going through the parts of the story they were present for”, but without the Main Log’s cutscenes and Luffy-specific adventuring. There’s no unique plots, no unique dialogue, you’re running around fighting the people you expect, in the settings you know they’re supposed to be. Jinbei is a big breath of fresh air, purely because he’s the only person with an Impel Down stage.

        Technically speaking, you *are* seeing the events from another character’s POV, but the only difference between one POV and another is who you’re in control of. All the major “other POV” stuff is already in the Main Log.

  • Shogunreaper

    The ending was horrible, they should have done it like it happened in the animemanga.

    And Kizaru in this game is ridiculously broken. Compared to him all the other bosses in the entire game are little babies and i’d take on 10 of them at once instead of kizaru.

    Whitebeard is a beast though.

  • First off, the Thriller Bark & Sky Island arcs should have been included in the game. They added alot of excitmen to the whole story line. And the changing of the crews’ outfits for the different arcs should have been an area that got some attention. Luffy sholdn’t have been the only one to have costumes that went with different arcs

  • harmonyworld

    but they left out thriller bark and skypia….
    also would have liked ACTUAL team attacks instead of having a your team character jump in for a short bit
    would have been interesting to fight captain kuro and django too

    •  In other words, you’d like to have almost every arc in there =3

  • Hiruluk flag !!

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