I didn’t know what to think when I first starting playing One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2. I happen to be a big fan of the series but seeing it get yet another game didn’t exactly pique my interest. When I finally tried out the combat, it turned out to be a blast.
Omega Force, the same group of developers that made Dynasty Warriors, worked on Pirate Warriors 2, which means the controls, level design and gameplay engine are pretty much the same. Just a note, only the PS3 version of the game was available, so I’ve no idea of the PS Vita’s controls. I selected Luffy from the three available characters and got to work.
Like in Dynasty Warriors, you immediately get thrown into a huge pool of enemies with a generic objective displayed at the top of the screen. Under my guidance, Luffy started wailing on the enemies using his unique combos and flashy (or should I say stretchy?) special attacks taken right from the series. The other members of the Straw Hat pirates joined in the fray and thankfully I don’t have to babysit them.
The mission objectives have a bad case of ADD, as Features Editor Masoud pointed out, because they kept changing every minute–first it says “Defeat the enemies!” then “Defeat the General!” and then “Protect [insert comrade here]!” At first, I tried actually completing these objectives but realized that at soon as I arrived at the proper area (denoted by an icon on the map) the objective would randomly change again. The only ones that actually matter pertain to defeating Generals, since they function as bosses and sub-bosses. So I decided to kick back and wallop any enemies that got in Luffy’s way, which worked to great effect.
I honestly enjoyed playing Pirate Warriors 2 more than Dynasty Warriors because the characters, the setting and the overall wackiness of the game better suits the gameplay engine. Tons of nameless mooks gathering almost comically together in massive mobs and literally raining down on Luffy and company only to get knocked down in one hit fits far better with the former game than with the latter.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is certainly not a ground-breaking, industry changing game. But between the polished and downright fun combat, seeing my favorite Straw Hats in action, the excellent graphics and the signature attacks from the series, I had a huge grin on my face the entire playthrough. And isn’t that the whole point of a game–to make us smile, laugh, have a great time and find out that Masoud is creeped out by Nico Robin’s Devil Fruit power? I certainly did and I’ll certainly look forward to Pirate Warriors 2‘s release this August. I’ll also look forward to teasing Masoud but that’s another story.