While it’s only been a year since One Piece: Pirate Warriors released, once again, it’s time to set sail with Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hats Pirates on their brand new voyage in NamcoBandai’s One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.
Taking place two years after the events of Pirate Warriors, this completely non-canonical tale takes us to Once Piece’s Skypiea, Thriller Bark and New World arcs. Straight away TecmoKoei does a great job of keeping to the manga and anime’s quirky style that it’s become known for. Every character you pick feels different in their own right; from Luffy’s Gum Gum giant pistol, to Nami’s Squall Sword. Really, the only downside is that you don’t ever feel the need to experiment and learn any of the long list of moves.
Mowing down enemies is simple enough when you just mash the face buttons instead of learning any unlockable combos. It’s quicker this way too, but there’s an advantage to doing real moves as it juggles out some meaty combos that treat you to a well animated over-the-top attack. It may get tiring seeing it time and time again, but it’s nice to know it can be done.
There are also four different modes to play through in Pirate Warriors 2: Pirate’s Log, Free Log, Online, and Challenges. You’ll be spending most of your time in Pirate’s Log as there are 36 characters to unlock and play with in this story-based mode. You’ll have the choice of the ‘Main Episode’, which – as you’d expect – takes you through the main story. There’s also a ‘Crew Episode’, which allows you to fight and unlock extra crew members for team attacks. Still, things manage to feel repetitive and stale so it really doesn’t matter what your objectives turn out to be.
You’re also allowed to pick and customise your pirate depending on the mission in question. You’ll gain the opportunity to do so by levelling up your chosen character during missions, where new abilities and skills to decimate your enemies with will unlock. Playing with just one character doesn’t hinder your progress as you can level up unused characters through the in-game currency, beli.
There’s also split-screen fun available here if you want to play with a friend, but worry not if you’ve go no friends nearby as online play is also supported. It’s not just a case of finding a mate online and playing either as you can send out SOS calls that invite others to come help out with a stage or mission that you’re having a spot of trouble with. My experience of this so far has been a little tiresome due to so few people online at the moment, but once you achieve a connection things seem to run almost as if they’re being played offline.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 does have a lot of replay value to offer, I especially wanted to go back to earlier stages and get a higher mission rank or to grab some missed treasure, but even repetitive gameplay can’t stop this from delivering an experience fans will enjoy.
Audio/Visual – 4/5: Represents the look and feel of the anime rather superbly
Gameplay – 3/5: While the animations are enjoyable to see, the repetitive nature of wave upon wave of enemies becomes dull, fast
Innovation – 2/5: Even with the newest additions it’s still mainly for fans of the series
Value – 2/5: It’s price point is a little steep for anyone but a fan, but there’s plenty of reason to return