Namco Bandai GGD 2012: One Piece: Pirate Warriors preview
At Namco Bandai's Global Gamers Day, I got some hands-on time with a few of their upcoming games, but none of them made the impression that One Piece: Pirate Warriors made. Coming exclusively to the PlayStation 3, Pirate Warriors lets you play as your favorite Straw Hat Pirates — like Luffy, Zoro, and Nami — in Dynasty Warriors fashion. It is developed by Omega Force, so if you love the Warriors games, you're going to fall in love with this.
In One Piece: Pirate Warriors, there are 12 playable characters and cameos. The art of the One Piece manga/anime is on full display, and the game stays as true to it as you can possibly hope for. Now, it wouldn't be a Warriors game if I didn't talk about the combat, which is really impressive.
I played the first stage for about 15 minutes, and in that time, I kept on discovering new attacks to do with my character. It's not just mashing on the square button; you make use of all the face buttons (including the 'x' button to do a cool evade move) and both R triggers. You combine button inputs, evades, jumps, specials, and attacks to form some really cool combos. There's really tons of different attacks you can pull off. When you throw in the fact that you can charge up your attacks, as well, you can really see the diversity in the combat. It's also nice that the pirates don't all feel like the same character with different skins.
The map where you battle is ever-changing. As you conquer sections of a stage, you unlock new areas. However, don't think that your previous areas are safe. I had enemy pirates go back to those areas and I was forced to return to defend them. The boss fight was cool, too. In the level I played, I faced off against Buggy the Clown at the end of it. With good timing with my evades, I was able to dispose of him without suffering too much damage. I was promised that all of the bosses will feel unique and provide their own challenge, and while Buggy wasn't particularly hard to face, I did have fun. Your pirate will also level up throughout the game, which gives you better stats and more attacks.
What's also nice about One Piece: Pirate Warriors is that I didn't run into the typical Warriors game problem of enemies popping up on screen two feet in front of my character. I could always see enemies coming from further away, and there was never any slow-down in the animations. It seems like the developers really listened to the feedback that fans have been giving.
In addition to having a fun, kick-ass One Piece experience, there are unlockables and galleries. Not only will fans of the anime and manga really love it, but it adds replay value to completionists who have to unlock all of the extras in a game.
If you're not really into the Dynasty Warriors games or One Piece/manga/anime, I still have to recommend that you try One Piece: Pirate Warriors. It was just one of those games that I had a ton of fun with. It releases on the PlayStation 3 in North America and Europe in November 2012.
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ