One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 strengthens the bonds between friends in the sequel. Fans of the first game will be happy to see the cast of one piece make their triumphant return in what looks to be the best hack and slash yet in the series.
For any followers of One Piece, one thing to make note of is Pirate Warriors 2 does not reference directly off the original story. Instead it is almost completely made up of a Dream Story that brings together all the familiar characters you’ve come to know, and introduces them at a steady pace. The reason this occurred is because there just didn’t happen to be enough story available since the last game to continue where it left off. I feel like this was a good choice for the sequel, as fans are able to experience something newly introduced into the world of One Piece, and newcomers are able to enjoy the game for what it is without spoiling the order of things.
The story takes place right after the two year time skip just after the crew reached the New World. We are introduced to the game through an in game cut-scene, where our beloved crew is surrounded by the Marine fleet. After the battle sequence involving the crew members, Luffy jumps into action to fight against Smoker, when suddenly the crew is forced to regroup as they are launched up into the sky to what is known as Skypiea. Mostly your thrown into misplaced events that create this made up Dream Story, but it also has its share of events unlikely to appear in the official story line. There are five chapters to go through, and within each one there’s a range of two to six episodes. Also if you’re able to put in a little more effort, you can unlock the final mission of the game which actually unlocks some extra characters.
If you have ever played an entry in the Dynasty Warriors series, you will understand how important characters are to the genre and Pirate Warriors 2 is no different. The character selection has been significantly increased to appeal to its fans, with a total of 37 characters to choose from. This also includes Luffy’s pirate crew from 2 years ago, so you can expect to play like you did in the first game. You tend to feel a little more appreciative of the cast of characters if you’re a fan of One Piece in general. The significantly increased character roster is by far one of the best things to happen to the sequel in my opinion.
These missions can be very lengthy though depending on the level of your character and the circumstances. Usually it can take up to about 30 minutes or more to finish a mission, but one of the added features in Pirate Warriors 2 which makes it easier is that you can save your progress at any time and come back later. One thing I can say that’s improved with the story mode system is that it’s much more organized than the first game. A mission brief was added to the beginning of each mission to make sure you know what you’re up against while also letting you prep your character for battle. Earning Pirate doubloons has also been altered in a way that makes more sense for customizing your characters attributes and skills. Even though you still combine coins to make your character stronger, you now unlock character skills by earning certain coins to complete bingo charts. The more you collect; the stronger you will get, which keeps things interesting to say the least.
The gameplay isn’t what it used to be, and right from the start I could tell how much things have changed. A new partner system was added to replace the Crew Strike system from the first game. The way it works is you build up meter to unleash a special attack that immediately after switches to your partner for a limited amount of time. If you can be quick enough it’s possible to end the combo you’re doing with another special attack from you and your partner before the meter runs out. I definitely prefer this change since it helps combos to flow more smoothly in comparison to the first game. You’re also able to extend combos even further with this system, making you that much more deadly. The new Haki and Style change system really help kick things up a notch giving you the opportunity to either enhance the power of your attacks instantly or use it to chain into greater combos. Overall, Pirate Warriors 2 features an improved fighting system over the last game, and feels spot on when it comes to harnessing each characters different styles of fighting.
Earning money seems to have greater purpose in the sequel, since it is not only used to purchase things in the in-game store, but also helps towards leveling your characters up faster. This feature was a great addition to cut down the time spent leveling your characters, but it can still be quite costly in the higher levels. Considering you might want to purchase any movies, concept art, costumes, or music in the store then you might want to go easy on your spending habits.
Aside from the regular story missions, there are a few more modes to choose from if you’re looking to expand your adventure. You can play Crew Episodes which are a pretty important part of the game if you want to obtain all the secret coins, as well as unlocking all the characters to partner up with during an attack. Another offering within this title is Challenge mode, which puts a bit more pressure on you to complete certain missions within the allotted time limit.
The game sounds great, with tunes you may remember from the first game, and even a few new ones which mostly consist of orchestrated sounds. The voice acting is recorded from the Japanese voice cast of the show, and for most this is the preferred way to hear it. There is no option to change it to English which might have been a nice option if it was available, but I don’t think it takes away from the experience.
The graphics are pretty decent and you really can’t expect much from a hack n slash of this caliber. With the amount of enemies and actions happening on screen, it can get quite overwhelming for the game to handle, to the point where the frame rate drops every once in a while. It’s not a huge issue, but it is worth mentioning since things can get pretty hectic at times. One thing I did have a problem with were the awkward camera angles,which at times could be a hassle to deal with. Fighting in a corner is a fine example of not being able to see yourself because of how the camera is situated.
Co-op has made its return, and is a bit better than you remember, with the inclusion of Story co-op and free play online co-op. You can now send out an S.O.S before the start of any mission, which pretty much allows open access for any other fellow pirates to join you. It simplifies the matchmaking system to a whole new degree, but its drawback is the fact that it makes it even more difficult for you to play with people you know in the story mode. Even though I like the idea of co-op, there isn’t a whole lot of interaction between you and the other player to make things feel like a cooperative experience. It benefits from speeding up how fast you complete missions, while also giving you a helping hand if you’re having trouble with the difficulty level. Although it has its share of kinks to work out, the multiplayer doesn’t do too badly but I would have liked to see more player interaction, especially since we’re dealing with One Piece.
One other thing to keep in mind about leveling your characters, is reaching the max level of 50 isn’t where your journey ends. It is actually possible to reach level 100 by clearing levels on the hardest difficulty and then purchasing the unlocked item from the store that raises the level cap for each character. It’s actually quite a long process and will surely add to the replay value if your dedicated enough to get there. Unlocking everything the game has to offer is a pretty big challenge in itself, but your sure to earn your share of rewards which includes trophies.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 is a big improvement over the previous hack n slash title, but it still has some expectations to live up to. It’s hard to say that anybody who isn’t a fan of One Piece will be able to easily get into this sort of game, as it’s focus is more towards people who are familiar with the story or characters. With more characters to choose from and plenty of customization, there is more than enough replay value to keep things interesting for a good amount of time. The story is pretty well organized so that it makes sense and missions are explained in further detail giving you a better sense of direction for most cases. I would definitely recommend One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 even if you haven’t played the first game as this one will surely impress and satisfy the core fans.
A review code for One Piece Pirate Warriors 2 was provided by Namco Bandai Games.