One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, developed by Omega Force, is the latest instalment in the Pirate Warriors series. Being a fan of both One Piece and the Pirate Warriors series I was very excited to get hands on with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 and for the first time, on PlayStation 4 as well.
Seeing as I reviewed One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 and said that it was “easily worth every penny you pay for it” and that “I can’t recommend it enough!” the question of whether One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 could live up to that is a valid one. Can this latest addition to the series make enough of a storm to surpass the others and rise to the top?
There are a good number of changes and improvements to the gameplay in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 over the last game with some of them really helping the game out. For starters the “coins” system has been completely redesigned, now, rather than unlocking slots to place random coins hoping to combo up some status benefits, you now have to unlock the stats through the coins. What this means is that, for example, to increase your attack you might need four of two different coins. Once you have those coins and add them to the character the stats bonus is rewarded permanently and a new set number of coins is needed for the next bonus.
It encourages more of a reward for playing and completing missions within each level rather than just grinding in hope of finding the best coins. Skills points also make a return in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 and unlock as you play and level up characters with coins helping out as well.
Additionally it makes early game leveling somewhat more manageable if I’m honest. Of course the standard way of gaining experience points stands, as you beat down wave after wave of enemies in front of you. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 offers a good number of ways for players to customise their characters as you play and build a dream team.
The main change to the gameplay is the new Kizuna Rush which allows you to summon up to four additional character alongside you and add extra combination attacks. It works by you selecting a partner during combat and dealing out a combo, then quickly after the final attack you can hit attack again to summon your partner who keeps the combo going. It doesn’t just allow you to deal massive damage but also helps to keep tougher enemies under control as you reposition yourself for the next attack.
The attacks get stronger too as you kill more enemies and fill up a meter to the side of your health. Once full you can tap R2 to become more powerful and summon your selected partner for a limited time. As an extra, if you tap the O button during this stage you and up to four parents will perform what can only be explained as an over-powered super-move that rocks. When you mix these actions into the standard combat you have yourself a seriously satisfying and ridiculously fun gameplay system.
Even though the game can be crazy at times, with the amount of things going on at any given time, the controls always hold up well. For some players the standard combos and movesets can feel basic and repetitive, and I found that once I had levelled up, unlocked some combos and skills, the moveset expanded greatly. It is worth noting as well that bell growth returns in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 so leveling up character is made easier by paying a fee to instantly upgrading characters to the level of your highest character with ease.
Going back to the controls a second, the game once again feels great on PlayStation 4 with characters moving fast and fluid through the world. I never felt like I had lost control over what was going on in the level. There is however a lack of a taunt button of sorts which was in the last game but not in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3. It doesn’t take away from the game but it would be nice to put Luffy’s hat on and off for your own personal enjoyment.
The modes available to you in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 include a story mode, free log mode, and a new dream log mode alongside your standard online options. The story mode this time around is focused more on the manga of One Piece, starting at the very beginning of Luffy’s journey up until around the Dressrosa Arc. Though a few changes here and there between the manga and the games story but overall it is very faithful to the manga and gives a great overview of the series.
It also means that in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 players get to relive some of the most epic moments of the One Piece story and be right in the action first hand this time around. The Dream Log mode works as a nice change to things if your wanting a break from the One Piece story. Pick a character, journey across a number of levels and under a number of missions all wise earning rewards and mixing up the gameplay a fair bit.
All of this also means that the number of playable characters is as impressive as always with characters including Boa Hancock, Shanks, Gekko Moriah, Donquixote Doflamingo and many more. Your find yourself recruiting the many members of the Straw Hat Pirates, battling giant bosses and encountering some seriously badass characters making for an epic adventure.
Graphically speaking One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is a stunning game with visuals that really come to life on the PlayStation 4. The game is still stylised in an anime way but it is so smooth and rich that I wouldn’t want it any other way. The comic book style cutscenes during battles and special attacks really add to the style of the game and help bring the world of One Piece to life.
Speaking of which it is worth noting that with all that fast paced action going on and with the high number of enemies on screen that the game handled it with ease. I didn’t experience a single frame drop nor a long loading time as One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 performance beyond my expectations. This is also helped by the enjoyable music and sound effects that once again are faithful to the One Piece series and continue to add to the engagement of the game.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 has a lot to offer to players with a good amount of content and improvements to the series. Though there is a lot more to explore I think it is important to understand that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 won’t be a game for everyone as it can become very repetitive very fast. If however you can overlook this and become engaged in a great game then I think it is fair to say that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is a must buy for any PlayStation 4 owner or any fan of One Piece.
I just want to lose myself in this game for many more hours and keep beating up over two thousand enemies in one mission because trust me, it is super enjoyable.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is available now for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and on PC.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 provided by Bandai Namco.