The Average Gamer

One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 Review (PS3)

One Piece Pirate Warriors Characters
One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 (OPPW2) is Dynasty Warriors on acid. You have the maps filled with thousands of cannon fodder warriors who have no hope against your powers. You have “base commanders” that can be beaten to stem the flow of cannon fodder, and you have a slew of other god-like fighters who pop in and out of each mission as the plot requires.

Where it takes a turn for the bizarre is that your lead character is a boy made of rubber. One of his crew is a teddy bear thing that morphs into other animal-like things. One of his enemies is a demonic, claw-wielding clown that turns into a car. Another character is a skeleton who’s been having bad dreams and worries that a ghost is haunting him. Whatever the (handily skippable) cutscene, the outcome is always the same. Let’s FIGHT!

The game isn’t really interested in exploring pirates or characters or any of that nonsense. It’s entirely about slaughtering your way through a map, whether that be themed around pirate ships, evil laboratory bases or beautiful gardens. Sure, there’s an esoteric system in which you combine coin drops in a certain way to maximise your stats boosts, and another system of bingo cards in which your coins are placed the cards to unlock new skills. You have little agency over either of these systems, so they’re mostly an excuse for you to grind through more fights to pick up new coins.

Overlooking the laughable fanservice cinematics and design on the female characters, OPPW2 is an absolute spectacle to watch and play. There are dozens of unlockable characters and even though they share button combos, the way each one responds is unique. Kuma is slow to respond but builds up to a huge area of effect. Smoker and Marco are fast and showy but can make it difficult to aim at any one target. Luffy is excellent at hurting single targets while Hancock can incapacitate a group with little effort.

Most characters also have an ability that directly negates the advantage of another. However, none of these skills are readily apparent in the game. Instead, you’ll need to sift through the encyclopaedia and note who uses devil fruit, love-love fruit or any number of ridiculous fruit types, or just figure it out through trial and error. Or go online, of course.

All that doesn’t make it any less fun for the casual player. I completed the main campaign on normal difficulty, mostly by bashing buttons and had a great time with the crazy animations. The trailer below is cutscene rather than gameplay, but the attacks are very similar in the game itself.

There’s also plenty of technical challenge for those interested in that side of fighters. Jack it up to Hard mode for a real fight in the main story, but you can also unlock Challenge modes. In these, you’ll have to clear a map filled with a few challenge rooms, each containing at least 2 bosses to fight simultaneously. You’ll have very few health pickups and limited cannon fodder to fill your special attack meter, so it’s all down to your skills. After you clear a room, it’s straight on to the next, with no real recovery. So far I’ve managed to clear a single room on level 25, the first challenge you unlock.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 - Ivankov Luffy AttackThe “crew strike” feature is a very handy way to shore up weaknesses in your chosen character. During your special attacks, if you gather enough “!” as the game calls it (basically a count of your more devastating kills) you can call in a crew member that you chose at the beginning of the mission. They’ll swoop in with overwhelming force and you’ll take over their character for 5-10 seconds before sending them on their way with an equally destructive exit. I like to play with responsive, wide-ranging attackers, so bringing Luffy as a crew member was an easy way to make sure I could do great damage to a single boss when required.

You also have local split-screen and online multiplayer for when things get tough. The SOS system was a good idea. It allows you to send or receive requests for a partner to help on specific maps. However, in practice, I found that by the time I’d responded to these requests – often within seconds of receiving them – the lobby was already full or the request had been cancelled without notifying me.

One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 - Perona AttackOne Piece Pirate Warriors 2 is a brilliant, silly game with a solid technical core that should be satisfying for both newcomers and serious players. You can complete the main story campaign in less than 10 hours but there’s still plenty left to do, from the crew unlocks to the challenges, as well as helping others reach that crucial S rating. Definitely worth getting.

You can buy One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 now for PlayStation 3.

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