When it comes to ‘Warriors‘ games, you are going to have one of two reactions. You are either going to be excited at the thought of demolishing hordes of enemies between crumbs of a story or you are going to loathe the thought of doing just that for fear of sheer boredom. Both viewpoints are valid and if you have played one ‘Warriors’ game you are sure to have quickly formed an opinion one way or the other.
In recent times the ‘Warriors‘ franchise has become the Japanese video games equivalent of Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed. Tecmo Koei and Omega Force crank out multiple games a year under the ‘Warriors‘ banner rarely stopping to do much in way of reinventing the wheel.
While admittedly some ‘Warriors‘ games prove to be more interesting than others, it is the One Piece: Pirate Warriors series of games that has a place in my heart personally. As a fan of One Piece, these games are easily the best games based on the franchise ever put together. They recount the story of the series in its entirety and allow you to take control of dozens of colourful characters that make up the One Piece cast.
Pirate Warriors 3 feels like an enhance upgrade of Pirate Warriors 2 through and through with more characters and a bit more in the way of the story. At its core the game still plays the very same way as previous incarnations with players taking control of their favourite One Piece characters and duking it our with hordes of enemies.
Much like PW2, PW3 lets you play through the entire story of One Piece from the very beginning. The difference here being that the story now includes the recently concluded ‘Dressrosa’ arc focusing on the villainous Doflamingo and the return of the other brother of Luffy, Sabo. Besides the main story mode there is also the Dream Log mode that has you take control of a character and play through dream battles and scenarios with the goal of unlocking items and more characters.
There is of course online play and the standard multiplayer modes which are good fun but there are some frustrating camera issues with local multiplayer with the camera zooming out far too much. The single player modes however have a refocused camera that conveys the action playing out on screen in great detail.
Visually the game is a definite improvement over Pirate Warriors 2, with the move to the PS4 the One Piece world looks absolutely gorgeously depicted. The anime’s style and art are translated with ease to the game’s semi cel-shaded graphics. The thing that stands out about it is the fact that it looks completely distinct from the ‘Warriors‘ franchise which have historically had a rather sheen style to them in comparison to the more exaggerated and cartoony visuals of One Piece.
At the end of the day there is plenty of content here for any One Piece fan to spend hours upon hours with if they are into the ‘Warriors‘ style of play. It is a bit of an improvement upon the previous installments of the series but there may not be enough new material to warrant the full price tag attached. But hey, you can play as Sabo! That right there might be the hook for most fans.
Ultimately One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is little more than an enhanced version of Pirate Warriors 2 with a few extra additions tossed into the mix. It is a ‘Warriors’ game, so take that as you will but in a gaming environment that is becoming increasingly cluttered with these by the numbers beat em up games One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 stands out as a gem in the genre. The game makes for a great entry point into the series if you haven’t played the previous Pirate Warriors titles, but if you are looking for a straight up fighting game with One Piece characters you might be better off waiting for the recently announce One Piece: Burning Blood. In spite of all that, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is a pretty decent game that doesn’t try to do much new, but if it isn’t broke, why fix it?