The Dynasty Warriors franchise or Musou as it’s known in Japan, has no shortage of titles available on the gaming market, it’s a series that has both dominated and redefined the “Beat’em Up” genre. In the latter half of the 2000’s, we saw Tecmo Koei, the company responsible for these games take a bold step when they decided to branch out the Dynasty Warriors series into adaptations of anime titles, such as “Mobile Suit Gundam” and “Fist of the North Star.” Both titles proved very successful and to many breathed new life into the franchise as a whole. In 2012, they decided to release One Piece: Pirate Warriors for the Playstation 3.
Pirate Warriors follows a good chunk of the first half of the long-running anime and manga, excluding a few story arcs but nothing of major importance. The Japanese voice casts from the original anime have reprised their roles for this game. But sadly for those who hate reading, there is no English dub.
The combat system is standard fair for Dynasty Warriors; you fight your way through hoards of minions, filling up your attack gauge to pull off special maneuvers. Add the occasional boss battle in story mode, along with territory conquering as is per capita of the DW series. What is not standard are the game puzzles which were added into story mode to spice things up. These puzzles utilize elastic powers of the series’ protagonist Monkey D. Luffy and come in a fair amount of varieties. Some puzzles can be nerve-racking, but the difficulty curve for them can be handled with enough patience and observation. Other cast members can be selected in story mode, while others can only be used in “Another Log” mode which is the equivalent of DW’s “Musou” mode engaging the player in standard beat’em up combat with field conquests and boss battles that are far less difficult than in story mode. You are able to play this mode with up to 2 players and to perform “Crew Strikes”, which are tandem attacks where one can temporarily fight enemies as allies. This mode can prove useful depending on the strength difference of your team. The online mode is a great way to gain experience points, and in-game coins which can be to used to enhance your characters through various combinations. The game is not without it flaws. Infuriating camera angles make their return and will be most evident during Boss Battles. The tough angles will be your undoing if you are careless, as will the “story mode” quick-time events. The controls can be unresponsive at times, but DW games are button mashers. If you want to perform complex combos, go play Tekken.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors is one of the most competent uses of the Dynasty Warrior engine to date. Though it’s far from perfect, it’s a fun ride overall.
If you’re a fan of the anime or manga, this game available on the Playstation Network to download for only 50 bucks.