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An Interesting Spin in the One Piece Universe
on December 31, 2013
One Piece has been adapted into many Video Games throughout its series run, but Pirate Warriors 2 stands out as one of the best incarnations. It's an incredible experience, even if it's not an incredible game. Looking past the minor performance issues and less than stellar story, Pirate Warriors 2 is a perfect representation of the Musou genre and a satisfying game for fans.
Musou type games (For Example: Dynasty Warriors and Sengoku Basara) are very popular in Japan, and thus people have been trying to apply the formula to games that really don't benefit. The main idea is that you take control of a powerful hero and you overtake hordes of soldiers in order to capture objectives and defeat the main boss at the end. Most of the combat is done in close range (even ranged characters) against nameless soldiers that stand around waiting to be pummeled. When you apply this type of combat to something like Gundam, it's unbelievable. One Piece, however, makes complete sense. Story wise, marine soldiers or other pirate crews aren't particularly powerful, but they exist and they get blown away. Since this is a Bandai Game, it has more of the Sengoku Basara flair, versus the more realistic effects of Dynasty Warriors. The attacks will get repetitive, but they are true to the heart of the series in every way. For the most part, I haven't seen anything out of character.
The story of the game is a bit lackluster. It's not canonical, which can be a good thing, but it's also way out of the box. This game is trying to give you an experience more than a story -- Enjoy old battlegrounds and face old foes with your newfound powers (it's post time-skip). There are weird match-ups and thrown together plot strings, but you can always just skip the fluff if you can't stand it.
Performance issues are abound. They are minor, but quite noticeable. The PS3 is showing it's age, but Pirate Warriors 2 tries to eek out as much power as possible. You won't notice the usual PS2 quality shaders and lighting, but instead, more modern shadows and coloration. The problem usually shows itself in the form of slowdown when enemies appear. With the character by themselves, you see an instant increase to 60 FPS. As soon as you see a single soldier, 30 FPS. If you face a group of soldiers at a barracks, be prepared to slog through at 24 FPS. Musou games aren't about tight controls, so it's forgivable. Once you clear a few dozen soldiers out (Usually one special move will do it), you're back to reasonable framerates.
The game has an incredible amount of replay value, and it exists digitally for the US. If you're looking for a physical copy, buy one of the European copies from Amazon! The PS3 and this game are both Region Free so there is no issue at all. If you love One Piece, but hate Musou type games, it's still worth giving this game a chance.