‘One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3’ Review

Platforms PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, PC

Genre Action Platform Played PlayStation 4

Publisher Bandai Namco Entertainment Developer Omega Force

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is very similar to One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2. Now that’s been addressed, I can say that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 is the superior entry overall. Though the gameplay aspects, method to victory, and online options are quite similar, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 produces an entertaining main story that kept me thoroughly engaged.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (for the most part) avoids creating an original story, unlike the previous entry in the series. Instead, players will experience compact versions of One Piece storylines. Most of the narrative behind each level in Pirate Warriors 3 is delivered in lengthy written introductions before each mission, which of course means the finer points of each storyline are not addressed as thoroughly as the anime series. I never found this abridged experience to suffer due to these compact experiences, instead it strongly delivered the main concept of each storyline and allowed me to get straight to the action; and there’s a lot of action.

This series doesn’t hide its similarities to the Dynasty Warriors franchise, with the Warriors inclusion in the title strongly showing its ties to the series. Within a few minutes of battling hundreds and hundreds of enemies, any Dynasty Warrior fan will be right at home. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 unfortunately doesn’t improve combat with any significance, and feels eerily similar to Pirate Warriors 2. Don’t get me wrong, dispatching hundreds of enemies with one special attack, or utilising the new Kizuna Rush to take down even more enemies with your crew mate, does feel satisfying and also looks visually splendid. But the same problems I experienced in Pirate Warriors 2 still arise, which include horrendous AI partners that can barely handle cannon fodder enemies that can cost you victory. In order to complete difficult missions, learning to handhold your team while completing the key mission parameters becomes a necessity. Combat is still fun, but I wish the jump from Pirate Warriors 2 to the latest entry brought with it some greater additions, emphasising that fun in new ways.

Combat instead ends up feeling a repetitive chore to get to the incredibly delivered narrative contained in Legend Log; as it’s easy to complete most battles with the same combination of attacks if you choose. One Piece didn’t become such a worldwide phenomenon without great stories, and Legend Log delivers them well. Most impressively this is one of the few anime-based games where cut scenes are in abundance. Anime games tend to have a reliance on avoiding cut scenes, instead simply delivering the story in dialogue form and without any movable scenes. But One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 delivers them with pure brilliance. I felt the emotion during these scenes and the story elements were delivered much better due to the fact I could see the events going on. Unfortunately the issue of no English dialogue was still a problem for me, as key aspects of the battle are delivered in Japanese dialogue (with no English option available). There are subtitles delivered alongside these moments, but when you’re dishing out damage to hundreds of enemies at a time, it’s easy to miss out on key points that can cost you the mission.

Legend Log also contains optional Treasure Events, which appear on the battlefield. Clearing these events will not only offer more story elements, but alter the events of each mission. Help out a fellow crew of pirates when they need it and they will most likely now help you in battle, not only helping you out, but altering how each mission takes place. Legend Log can also be enjoyed locally with two players, as well as utilising Cross-Save functionality between PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 platforms.

Aside from Legend Log, there is also an alternative mode called Dream Log. This mode allows you to choose any character and move them across a board game-like selection of islands that contain small missions. These missions take the emphasis away from story and instead focus on gameplay, offering a nice contrast in game modes. I loved the fact that each mission randomly pits together different characters as team mates or enemies, which offered great variety during the moment to moment action. Dream Log is also a great way to test out the large selection of characters within bite sized missions, allowing you to find out which character suits your style, and altering different Kizuna Rush combinations. It’s wonderful that every single character feels drastically different from the last, which made experimenting with them a lot of fun. Those looking to complete every mission in Dream Log will also have their work cut out, as I have only completed 15 over the space of half a dozen hours and barely scratched the overall surface.

Dream Log is also a great place to collect more Coins, which are offered after defeating important characters after each mission. Coins can be allocated to characters in order to improve their various stats, aside from the leveling process. Collecting coins is fun and it is an added incentive to going out of your way and defeat prominent enemies. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 also carries over every coin and level gained throughout every mode; level up Luffy in Legend Log and transition to Dream Log, he will still be at that level. The cohesive nature of leveling makes everything you do feel connected to making your characters stronger. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 also offers an extensive glossary for fans to refresh their One Piece knowledge, or simply find out more information on the series. This added bonus makes it easy for anyone to understand and enjoy the One Piece experience, whether you’re new to the series, or a series veteran.

Online cooperative multiplayer Rescue’s also return. Players can either attempt to help out another player or host a mission themselves. It’s a very barebones form of multiplayer, but the connection works well. Unfortunately when I did experience other players dropping out, I’d be kicked out of my current mission and sent to the main menu with none of my earned goodies. It’s frustrating that you cannot simply continue the mission solo, instead losing your progress and having to start from scratch.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 feels like a refined version of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2. Though the Legend Log provides an excellent representation of the One Piece franchise, it’s hard to not notice the extensive list of similarities and problems from the previous release. With that being said combat is still fun, despite lacking many improvements, and Dream Log is a great alternative to the main story.

Those wanting a big step forward from One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 will probably feel let down with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3. But if you want to relive some iconic storylines in an excellent fashion and get your One Piece fix, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 delivers.

The Good

  • Excellent main story mode.
  • Dream Log is a fun alternative.
  • Range of diverse characters.

The Bad

  • Few combat improvements.
  • Same problems as Pirate Warriors 2 (poor AI, delivering key information during battles)

The Score: 7.6