Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2

While the initial announcement that Omega Force – the team responsible for the hugely popular Dynasty Warriors series – originally came as somewhat of a shock a sequel was far easier to predict. One Piece: Pirate Warriors was an enjoyable if noticeably short-lived offshoot of […]
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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageWhile the initial announcement that Omega Force – the team responsible for the hugely popular Dynasty Warriors series – originally came as somewhat of a shock a sequel was far easier to predict. One Piece: Pirate Warriors was an enjoyable if noticeably short-lived offshoot of the Warriors franchise that was designed specifically to appeal to One Piece fans. With a proven formula and an audience desperate for more under it’s belt One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 was perhaps inevitable; what had been less obvious was where the videogame would position itself.

The answer to that pondering is more straightforward than you might expect – certainly than Electronic Theatre would have – as despite the huge advances made by Dynasty Warriors 8, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is presented as a direct sequel to One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Everything you’d expect of the next edition in a Warriors franchise is evident here and the Electronic Theatre Imagetechnical progress between Dynasty Warriors titles has been ignored. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is an improved version of One Piece: Pirate Warriors and nothing more; for better or worse.

This does of course mean two things: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is set to appeal directly to the One Piece fanbase and it’s going to do it well. This is classic fan service in that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is far from an essential product, retelling already told stories as it does – but any fan worth their salt will purchase it simply for the satisfaction of a surface level interaction with their favourite character. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 offers this and will be immediately rewarding to any fan keen for more One Piece content, but beyond that it will have trouble convincing the videogames audience at large that it’s a better investment than any modern Dynasty Warriors title.

The videogame tasks the player with cutting through swathes of foes on reasonably sized maps as they move from point-to-point with one of a small number of objective types. Capture the base, hit the switch, kill all enemies: there’s nothing here you won’t have seen before. And the same could be said of the combat in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, as the thinElectronic Theatre Image series of combination attacks is used ad nauseam in order to progress. The variety comes from that of the vast array of characters, which does allow for the player to develop tactics as well as favourites, but One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 remains a one-size-fits-all videogame for much of its potential forty-plus hours.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 does has a few unique ideas, proving its worth as both a testing ground and a fandom product. A new online feature allows players to signal their friends when a level is proving tricky in order to ask for assistance, and of course also receive calls for help from their friends. Furthermore, opting in to this functionality will offer the player gifts from time-to-time, though exactly what this entails is not yet known as during Electronic Theatre’s time reviewing the videogame only one such piece of content had been made available: a virtual currency reward for the initial connection.

The in-game system also features a few interesting ideas, such as the restriction of bonus items to treasure chests – including one which only open when meeting certain secret conditions – and the ability to bring a secondary character’s Electronic Theatre Imagespecial ability into the end of your special combo attacks. However these are one-shot ideas rather than groundbreaking innovation and the likelihood of them appearing in future titles will surely be down to fan feedback rather than technical marvel.

On that point, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is actually a very good looking title. The environments may be lacking in detail though they are much more expansive than the arenas of the original One Piece: Pirate Warriors. The characters however, are vastly more impressive this time around, with animations that truly bring each different ability to life. Many videogames have claimed to fit the bill of ‘playing a cartoon’ in recent years, but so few have come as close to their source material as One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2. The sound quality does quite reach the same standard sadly, with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 choosing Electronic Theatre Imagenot to offer an English voice artist dub and the soundtrack never once deviating from the generic Japanese action videogame template.

While it may be more of the same in many respects, there’s still room for One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 in the videogames industry. It has an audience keen to adopt it and offers Omega Force extra space to experiment, which will ultimately feedback positively into their magnum opus series: Dynasty Warriors. As a series One Piece: Pirate Warriors will only ever play second fiddle to Dynasty Warriors, but the fact that it’s still ready to learn from its mistakes and make efforts to improve is perhaps the biggest commendation that could be offered.

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