One Piece:Pirate Warriors 4 has throws you back to the Alabasta

  • Fans of One Piece are very lucky when it comes to video game adaptations. From fighting games to sprawling action adventure games, Bandai Namco have ensure that fans of the popular anime could spend all of their free time playing exclusively One Piece titles. For many, the jewel in the crown of this mountain of games is the Pirate Warrior series. Now, Omega Force has returned with some big changes to this acclaimed Musou series for One Piece Pirate Warriors 4.

    The previous three games had already covered the bulk of the story arcs, plus some fanfiction of their own, but “Pirate Warriors 4” again throws you back to the Alabasta Arc, and moves forward through the time skip into the current events of the manga. However, the game has a habit of skipping big chunks of the story, and remedies this by providing cinematic cutscene synopses of what transpired.

    Those who have never played a musou title should expect the video game equivalent of a power trip. Large game maps host the player and other heroes, who act as all-powerful warriors capable of defeating the thousands of normal enemies who are effectively just there to give the player a nice ego boost as their kill count racks up. The only real challenge then comes from taking on the other hero characters, and fulfilling the various objectives that come with each mission.

    The story focuses on eight specific (more modern) arcs of One Piece’s epic tale, beginning at the Alabasta Arc and stretching all the way to the most recent episodes. In previous outings, Omega Force has tried to pack decades of the show into a handful of missions. Pirate Warriors 4 doesn’t suffer from spreading the story so thin, and hours of missions and cutscenes help tell the familiar story in a more fleshed out manner. Newcomers to the choppy waters of the series will still struggle to keep up with the narrative, but fans will enjoy the trip down memory lane all the same.

    There is only one really significant issue with the game, but it’s a doozy – the giant bosses. These are handled very clumsily and tend to be more difficult than standard bosses more because they’re shoddily executed than any real test of skill. I know that Koei needed to do something here to fit with the larger than life stuff that happens in One Piece, but the Warriors engine, otherwise very competent and versatile, does not handle big monsters well. We won’t be seeing a Monster Hunter Warriors game any time soon.

    Nevertheless One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is an awful lot of fun, and its conservative design is still a step above what Dynasty Warriors tried to achieve with its last, cursed outing. Those who get a kick out of the mindless action of other musou games should pick this up, particularly if they are already fans of One Piece. It's not a revolution, but a competent and enjoyable hack and slash that will prove more than a worthy distraction.

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