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Hands-On With One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 At SMASH! 2015

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Bandai Namco Entertainment has a fairly sizeable presence at most, if not all, good pop culture conventions, and that includes Sydney’s very own SMASH! (Sydney Manga and Anime Show). The convention plays host to an abundance of great upcoming additions to Japanese pop culture and there’s nothing more loved in Japanese pop culture than that of Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece; a series that has been running since 1997 and still continues to run in the modern age of Anime and Manga. Bandai Namco Entertainment, this year, had somewhat of a smaller booth, but it was constantly filled to the brim with people wanting to get even the slightest glimpse of a couple of the publisher’s upcoming games, one of them being One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, which I was lucky enough to get a chance to experience first-hand.

What’s there to say about One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 that hasn’t already been said about the first two games? Honestly…nothing, but I think I’ve come to realise that it’s not really a bad thing. The way I see it; why fix what isn’t broken? Not ten seconds after getting my hands on the PlayStation 4 controller, I realised that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is just as good as it’s predecessors but with an blatant air of superiority. It could have been the smooth visuals, it could have been the finely-tuned combat mechanics, it could’ve been the crisp soundtrack, heck, it could have even been the fact that I was playing as the Surgeon Of Death, Trafalgar Law, during an arc in the series his character never appeared in.

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Whatever it was, it made me so much more excited for the upcoming Omega Force title. As of late I’ve felt as though the over-saturation of Omega Force’s Warriors titles in the video game market has really diminished what was once a great love for the Pirate Warriors series, and it took me actually playing the upcoming game to return to a place of actual excitement for a series I had lost all interest in. Still, even in saying that, I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly sets One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 aside from not only the other titles in the video game series but the other Warriors titles that get released every few months. All I know for sure is that I like it. A lot!

After three iterations, not to mention a tonne of other non One Piece-related action titles, I feel as though Omega Force have really gotten a feel for these types of games. Despite the fact that they pump a new one out more than any developer should, there’s no denying that their games are fun for what they are. I think that, just maybe, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 will see the perfection of the series. With a huge character cast, a story that spans over just under twenty years of publication history, some tight gameplay mechanics, and a level of visual excellence that’ll bring a tear to your eye, I feel as though One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 will do Eiichiro Oda’s long-running series it’s due justice. I just hope that, come the end of August when the game gets an official release in the West, it’ll be just as enjoyable in full as it was for me playing just a snippet of it at this year’s SMASH!. Until then, I’m going to stay delightfully hopeful.

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