One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition Game Review
Satisfying and quick to reward you with new characters, costumes, updates
Lots of articles to dive into
Perfect for novices and fans
Gets repetitive if you play too long
Camera controls are iffy in co-op mode
Very like other Warriors matches
About The Game
Despite being the third in the collection of Pirate Warrior games, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is the most accessible of the bunch. Even more so if, like me, you are fairly new to the One Piece world. It comes to the Nintendo Switch in the kind of a new and slightly milder Deluxe Edition and is a further reminder that the Switch is loaded in Musou/Warriors games.
Like other Musou games, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is all about hacking and slashing your way through waves of enemies on a battle. It is a formula that’s worked brilliantly for Omega Force and Bandai Namco over time, and it is no different here. Combining Musou gameplay with all the unique universe of One Piece, you are in for a suitably crazy yet largely smile-inducing experience — even if you’ve played it before.
Given the anime and manga where it is based, you would be forgiven for expecting the narrative to be nearly impossible to fathom if you are new to the assumption. Its source material covers over 800 episodes of anime and counting. Luckily, this game functions as an introduction to the show, while still providing interesting insight for lovers, across a decent 12-15 hours.
The crux of this story has you vying to collect a team of pirates in an attempt to track down the ultimate treasure, called One Piece — but there is a whole lot more going on also. For the newbie, there is a lot to take in, but it is rarely intimidating. For lovers, at times it is almost too short, but there’s the advantage of tales taking slightly different turns.
Battles follow a normal Warriors-style format. Each level is made up of hefty battlefield, a little mini-map, and numerous fast-changing objectives. Oftentimes, capturing key places or beating up a significant enemy is all that is required to move you on the next job.
Along the way are literally hundreds of enemies — faceless soldier clones — that, impressively, the Switch does a nice job of displaying. There is no slowdown to be seen, even when undocked. The trade-off is that characters are a little fuzzily exhibited and the absence of anti-aliasing might be an issue if you are used to the PS4 version’s processing power.
It is simple stuff in mind, but knock it on a moderate or harder difficulty level and there is still a challenge to be had when it comes to taking on the innumerable enemies coming at you. This is a sport where it is not uncommon to finish a degree having defeated over 3000 enemies.
Easy-to-learn controls indicate that battle is basic, but that is far from the truth as soon as you step back from the game’s early button-mashing. A combination of heavy and light attacks dictate pretty much everything, with a mix of those allowing you to inflict special attacks and moves which cause much more harm. With almost 40 playable characters, and each having numerous combo moves, choices are plentiful. Button-mashing may work on Easy but you will suffer for it up any higher.
There is also the introduction of new features like Kizuna Rush, which adds slightly more tactical advantage to the experience. A kind of combo move, it’s you summoning another personality alongside you to do a powerful special attack. On occasion, it’s likely to muster several of your team to back you up. That means huge combo moves that could easily kill hundreds of enemies at once, while also providing a feeling of camaraderie that is rarely seen in other Warriors games.
In each case, different characters imply a different set of motions, which makes it initially satisfying to see how things change. On higher difficulty levels, it can make a significant difference to your odds of success too.
Much like any Warriors game, inevitably gameplay becomes repetitive. Each degree may only be about 20 minutes long, but if you play a lot of in a row, you will find the experience less about stress relief and more about ‘oh no — another samey region to catch again?!’ .
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 attempts to mix things up by always offering you rewards. These can be as straightforward as the primary storyline’s Treasure Occasions — special cut-scenes triggered by completing certain conditions — or as diverse as the game’s separate Fantasy Log mode. The latter has you competing in a type of semi-randomized gauntlet mode, thereby earning new items and characters as you progress.
There are light RPG elements, also, in the kind of coins obtained during conflict, before changing how your characters grow and grow. It isn’t as complicated as Bandai Namco’s earlier forays into RPG like the Empires series or Bladestorm, but to get a Warriors game, it goes some way to helping you feel as if you’re forging your own path.
The Deluxe Edition adds over 40 pieces of DLC, which are basically extra storylines to chase. For the completionist, it is perfect fodder for learning more about the One Piece world. New costumes further add to what you can unlock through this enhanced edition.
The Change version also supports local co-op using only Joy-Cons, in addition to with additional controllers, so it is terrific for an unplanned co-op session — even when the camera proves more challenging to control this way. Predictably, it’s a whole lot of fun playing alongside somebody else, and you will quickly look past any possible problems with repetition here.
Repetition is the only truly major issue with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, and it is an issue that’s affected many Musou matches through the years. Ultimately, though, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is really funny in brief bursts. As opposed to taking itself too seriously, the game utilizes its source material as well to be quirky yet satisfying throughout.
Like great magic tricks, you understand just what it’s doing, but you’re going to be wrapped up in the experience sufficiently that you won’t care that this is a normal Warriors match with a fun One part skin on top.
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