Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4
One Piece, Eiichiro Oda's longest-running series ever, is getting another game. After the success of Pirate Warriors 3, we can now see what problems Luffy and his crew are working into this time. Read it all in our review!
The One Piece franchise is one of the most respected in the Anime world. If you end up in Japan, there is something related to the world of Luffy and his nakama on every corner. The series itself is at its peak with the new Wano Arc, so that includes a new game! One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 will tell a good part of the original story, along with a lot of news. How does the game improve from the previous one? We're going to find out.
Warriors games are a well-known phenomenon. However, the One Piece variant of this Musou genre manages to entangle itself into its own section. This is partly due to the rich world and characters of One Piece, but also mainly due to the differences in gameplay. The basics are the same: Complete areas until you get to the climax and defeat the big bad here, after crushing a countless army of weaker enemies. But, Pirate Warriors 4 offers more.
One Piece is essentially just about following Luffy's crew. All the characters are diverse and always fun to follow. There is enough humor and synergy between the group members and there are enough cool characters around. You follow the characters in their quest for Raftel and especially for One Piece. Luffy won't become a pirate king this part, but he will take you into his story so far.
Your first experience in this part will explain the basics again. This all happens in the storyline modes, your best take on the story of the series playable in the game. There are six arcs to drill through and they are also very long. Cutscenes are fine, but some don't have the impact you want them to have. This is mainly in the visual aspect. However, the dialogues are more than fine. It is quite a task to contain all the arcs in the series, that would be almost impossible and also not realistic. However, the focus on the cutscenes could be a bit higher in the next part. In addition, don't forget that in the previous part, this one gave out a lot less impact than they do now.
The cutscenes in Pirate Warriors 4 are also held up by the memorable characters and areas. This also does a lot of good for the whole game. But, the developers have of course noticed the great awareness that people pick up the game mainly for the gameplay. The new arcs, including Whole Cake Island, are fun to finally play through. The story is clear to fans anyway, but even people who have never watched the series can still make a well-knit story with the existing arcs.
Most of the worlds you play in look very good both on the Nintendo Switch and on console. The game simply plays well. You play through a kind of maze structure, where you work towards your goal and conquer certain areas. There is also sometimes enough backtracking to do, this gives a certain tactical feeling to Pirate Warriors 4. It feels pretty good to throw some flashy attacks on your enemies with your playable character. Each character has 4 skills to use, which you can also partially choose. You notice that this part handles the possible combinations more efficiently. Also, battles feel smoother than ever before.
Characters have a clear distinction in how they play, something that was sometimes missed in previous parts. Boss fights are also much more challenging and, above all, more personal. A boss feels like a real challenge and is much broader in both dialogue and attack set. Pirate Warriors 4 is not an in-depth game with difficult features and systems. No, the game plays nice, fast and smooth. You can of course start sweating with your controller or keyboard, but this is by no means necessary, depending on your difficulty. Just brain at 0 and play that bite. Expanding and playing out your characters has been made easier and clearer.
What's really cool fashion has to be the Navigation Log. Here you can drill through countless generated levels with your favorite character. It's all about the action and gameplay here. This is also where the game will be best represented. This mode will keep you busy for enough hours, outside of the 10 to 12 hour long storyline. What you do notice in this mode is the balance between characters. Despite all the unique attacks and combinations, the game has a balance problem. Some characters just feel a lot weaker than the next. This can be quite a let-down for fans of Nami, for example.
More of the same
Despite all the good things, the game feels the same on many surfaces as Pirate Warriors 3. At first glance there is nothing wrong with that, but for someone who has played all parts, this quickly becomes apparent. I don't know how I would react to this if I wasn't such an incredible fan of the anime. The game also has some bugs here and there, textures that pop in later and problems with fps. These fps problems were much less on the PS4 than on the Nintendo Switch. Overall the fps was fine, just sometimes there were those clunky bits.
The next part could put a little more emphasis on the depth of the story and its characters. The game can also look a little better, so that every character and every moment can transfer its impact well to the player. However, for a Warriors game, we can't complain with the content we get. There is plenty to do, see and play. There may just be some less subtle differences between previous parts, so that non-new players can still receive a fresh experience. On the other hand, the game brings enough to the table to receive a nice number.
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