What do you get when you combine the vibrant, fun-filled pirate world of One Piece, with the messy chaos of the beat ’em up, action-adventure stylings of the “Warriors” game series? A good time is what you get.
I’ve only reviewed one other action musou game before, which was the excellent Zelda-themed Hyrule Warriors. So, as a fan of One Piece, you can imagine my excitement when the opportunity to review Pirate Warriors 4 came up.
Looks good (from afar)
Graphically speaking, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is colourful and vibrant. The character models and the world look like they’re lifted directly from the anime. Albeit in 3D.
In the throes of the action, everything runs genuinely very smoothly and all the models look great (there’s a lot of copy/paste for the mobs, but that’s to be expected). The problem we have here is that the cutscenes show the main character models up-front, and it’s erm…….interesting. Sure manga/anime characters are larger than life, with over-pronounced features, and frankly, cool designs. That’s why we love them, right?
One Piece has great character design, but I have to say, I don’t know how well it translates into 3D in the world of Pirate Warriors 4. Everything looks a little “off”. Almost like they’re tried to add an element of realism where there just isn’t one. Luffy in particular really irks me up-close. That’s not really the be-all and end-all though, is it? The fluidity, the move variety, the chaos and vibrancy. All of it looks great.
If you’re familiar with One Piece, you know it suits it well. Colourful and bold, bright and vibrant. A total treat to behold when you’re in the middle of taking out hundreds and thousands of enemies. One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 looks great for the most part, and it certainly suits the stylings of the One Piece world.
Pirate Warriors 4 delivers a great audible experience, with voice actors, sound effects and music all hitting the right spots. Sure, the cutscenes are a little stunted by the voice acting and the subtitle speed. But nothing to ruin the vibe. This is a bright, vibrant and colourful world, filled to the brim with the music to suit.
It’s unlikely to win an award for the most novel score, or anything like that. But it more than services the title, and everything just “fits” nicely with the whole One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 aesthetic. Great work here.
Playing through the story mode was fun, simple enough. Hitting all of those musou game standards. Helping allies, trashing massive mobs of enemies and capturing map points. It’s good fun, interspersed with characters talking and events happening across the map. It’s standard fare, with that One Piece flavour.
The flavour comes from the story arcs though. And something I’ve really enjoyed in Pirate Warriors 4 is the opportunity to see some of the anime/manga arcs. Because whilst I’m a “fan”, I’m a total rookie and haven’t watched any One Piece in years.
Here, you get to live (or re-live if you’re more of a fan than I!) 6 of the story arcs that have been and gone over the years. It meant I was able to catch up on some of the over-arching storylines and get caught up. What a great way to take the story in!
Made-up of 34 missions, it was a slight grind on occassion. One mission, in particular, had a boss fight, where you’re forced to use Usopp that saw me losing my shit a little. A couple of mistakes can wipe a lot of progress if you’re not careful, and even though it’s not the hardest game ever. It can be frustrating when the camera screws you over, and you aren’t really locked-on to the main antagonist of the mission.
Still, I generally had fun, caught up on some story arcs and got to smash the crap out of thousands of bad guys.
Unlocking abilities, and powering-up your heroes is an absolute must. I will say though, that I totally missed those skill trees for a start. Not necessarily hard to find, but not particularly obvious. It was a massive “Ahhhh, that’s how you do it!” moment. Suddenly all of my Pirate Warriors were getting buff!
Luffy and Zoro were personal preferences, and I felt most capable when flying around on my little power trip with those guys. New moves, improved HP and damage. One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 gives you a massive amount of choice when it comes to levelling up and powering your team up. Make sure you don’t miss it like I nearly did! It’s in the pre-mission menus…..not post-mission or around the map.
I spent a little too long trying to find it if I’m honest.
Visual quirks aside, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is an excellent musou game. And excellent One Piece game that lets you just go off on a power trip and smash massive amounts of bad guys to bits. As a passive fan of One Piece, I had a great time learning about some of the past arcs and getting myself re-embedded in the pirate world.
No framerate issues, sometimes terrible camera issues, and a couple of fights that saw me walk away for a few minutes from frustration. I can’t say that this is a perfect game, but it’s a great way to spend some time and to be a part of the One Piece universe. To me, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is a solid 7/10.
This review was written by Ben from NinjaRefinery.com. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is an action-adventure game, beat ’em up game, developed by Koei Tecmo and published by Bandai Namco. The game is available now on PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Windows PC. You can find more info on the game on the official site HERE. And you can also find more of our game reviews, by clicking HERE.