Very few games come close to the madness and unique vibe that the One Piece series offers. And it’s that madness that appeals to the series’ fans. Thankfully, the fans will find the sequel to last year’s One Piece Pirate Warriors as crazy and spectacular as ever. Although, if you’re not a fan, it may be best to miss this!
One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 removes the canon story that was used in the prequel, instead it uses a new original story that takes place two years after the Straw Hats entered the New World. It has to be said that while the story may be full of crazy moments that fans will love, it’s hard to follow and can easily be ignored. You will easily spend 90% of your time wondering what the hell just happened! For the most part, you don’t need the story but every so often you’ll find yourself asking: “Why am I doing this?” To which, you and the game will have no answer!
Pirate Warriors 2 is essentially a beat-em-up style action adventure, that sees you and your crew tackle numerous missions recruiting allies and defeating foes in order to become the ultimate pirate king. Unfortunately, the gameplay itself is completely derived of any imagination, each mission is the same as the last – beat up thousands of enemies, take important territory and finally defeat the ultimate adversary. There are also a number of smaller side missions thrown in throughout each mission which can unlock new loot. It’s fairly expansive but you’ll struggle to feel much achievement after completing a level. The monotonous gameplay element really starts to hit home when you realise that the game can last anywhere between 10-20 hours depending on how much you want to delve into each location.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 features a whole host of new elements compared to its prequel. The first is a new partner system, which allows players to switch between ally partners when utilising special attacks. This is called “Haki Mode” and is probably the most notable difference between the prequel and sequel. Each combination of characters has some rather breathtaking effects that fill up the screen with vivid colours and lighting effects. Depending on which characters you pick, the type of benefit changes, for example “Haki Mode” can increase the attack of a character or slow down time completely.
Another new element is that you now collect coins for completing missions and other side missions; these can be used to buy new movies, galleries, soundtracks and level up your party. It’s quite a nice feature that allows you to quickly level up characters and then dive straight in with them – as opposed to grinding through levels to level them up.
After completing levels and collecting coins you’ll be able to unlock new move sets and the coins can also be used to power up your abilities such as your health, defence and special attack. These coins will also level up the more you use them. Unlike the previous game, in Pirate Warriors there are no quick time events and the game now focuses more on the warrior gameplay.
Co-op and online modes are also featured in the game and are fairly enjoyable. In local co-op you can easily work together to find everything on a mission map as well as creating powerful combinations to take down the huge swarms of adversaries in each mission. Online is pretty much the same but you can also join another player’s game to help rescue them – which nets you a sweet amount of loot should you succeed. If you find yourself in need of rescue, you can also send out an SOS via the PlayStation Network. One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 certainly uses the PSN fairly well to connect fans.
Visually, the game is pretty average; the cel shading looks nice and helps take your eye away from the drivel that is the world environment. Many backgrounds are blurry and uninspired and even worse rehashed throughout. Nevertheless, the game suffers from no notable screen tearing or slow down – a massive achievement considering the vast amount of AIs on the screen. The cut scenes are also fairly well presented, but the game doesn’t look much better than the prequel and you have to wonder why!
The game also features no option for English translation – or none that we could find. So if you hate Japanese with English subtitles you’re going to be sorely disappointed. However, fans of the series will expect this and the game isn’t really marketed for people who’ve never played, watched or heard of the series. The game’s soundtrack is pretty uninspiring as well, in fact so uninspiring that there were many times throughout the game where it felt like it wasn’t even there!
One Piece Pirate Warriors may feature a range of new gameplay elements, but its biggest problem has yet to be addressed. The game’s monotonous grind through the same levels, beating up the same enemies with the same combos gets tiring extremely quickly. Even though the game is pleasantly colourful and bright while doing this and the new gameplay features add some extra spice it feels like the developers only really addressed some of the issues that were pointed out in the first.