Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2

For a couple of days I thought about just copying our Dynasty Warriors 8 review and pasting it here and just changing some words because both games are so similar. Instead I decided to not be a jerk and write my own review for One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2. And boy, do I have some things to say!

Developer: Omega/Tecmo Koei
Publisher: NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
Also Available On: PlayStation Vita
Release Date:  Available Now


On the surface you could suggest that the Dynasty Warriors sub-genre of character action games is not for me. I would have to disagree on grounds that I like character and action games and would love to like all genres of video games. The formula has potential but it seems devoid of having any creative ideas beyond throwing more enemies on the screen for you to cut down. Pirate Warriors 2 is incredibly similar to the Dynasty Warrior games in some pretty crazy ways; there are still strongholds and areas across the battlefield that you must take over, there are different ranking enemy officers to defeat in each area, there are about a billion different characters, on a good run you’ll kill about a thousand enemies in a level, and it is about as boring as boring could be.

Pirate Warriors 2 is a disappointing game to play because the actual combat feels decent. Slicing through hundreds of enemies is still empowering and fun… to a point. There are no other mechanics beyond mashing the different attack buttons until you win. Because of that the game falls apart quick due to the fact that the OK combat only carries the game so far. What was once fun and novel quickly becomes tedious and boring — eventually I had to put the game down and walk away before I finished it. No story moment or character progression was going to make actually playing the game bearable at all. It was not my proudest moment in games. Even when I played the game cooperatively  with a buddy of mine who is a much bigger fan of the anime, it just wasn’t very fun.

At least watching Luffy and the crew's wacky animations is entertaining.

At least watching Luffy and the crew’s wacky animations is entertaining.

There is a character levelling system that unlocks new attacks and skills for each character you play as, but it hardly makes a difference that is noticeable enough in the game. It’s just a typical EXP system and it is nice to see go up as you mow down guys but it never unlocks any attacks or skills that make killing enemies anymore engaging. You can also buy Gallery items and consumables with in-game currency but it doesn’t mean much unless you’re a serious fan of the series or really  just like unlocking concept art and whatnot. There is a partner system where you choose another character to play as temporarily in the battles when you activate your specials. I thought it was cool at first but once I realized I was relying a lot on my max levelled partner I didn’t end up switching to many other people simply because my partner got the job done.

At least Pirate Warriors 2 doesn't look as bad as it plays.

It’s a good thing Pirate Warriors 2 doesn’t look as bad as it plays.

I could go on and on about the game but at some point I am going to need to stop. If you have only a slight curiosity in this game I would advise you to just stay away from it. For serious fans of the Dynasty Warriors style of game you already know if you want this or not — which makes me wonder why you are even reading this review in the first place. For One Piece fans this game totally has all the One Piece fun you crave, unfortunately you have to play a clunky, tedious, and boring game to get to the good stuff. I don’t think I will ever return to the Dynasty Warriors games but I still want to dive deeper into One Piece and learn more about Luffy and his crazy adventures. So I guess the game accomplished something by getting me more interested in the anime that it is based on.

Plenty of character and story moments for fans of the anime/manga to enjoy
The combat feels good depending on the character
Playing the game is absolutely tedious and boring
Shares too similar DNA with Dynasty Warriors
Carries the baggage brought on by the Dynasty Warriors formula

It didn’t take long for me to feel like continuing to play Pirate Warriors 2 was a fate worse than walking the plank. If you aren’t a fan of the anime/manga you’ll find that the game is a super disappointment and could have been much more. I wish One Piece fans got a better game, but I still hope they can enjoy the story and characters and ignore the part where you have to play.

Review copy provided by Namco Bandai
Official Game Site

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