Title: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Genre: Musou Action, Beat ‘Em Up
Available On: Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Version Tested: Switch
Official Site: Bandai Namco
Release Date: March 27th, 2020
Where To Buy: Nintendo eShop, Any store outside with games
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 continues the tradition of long titled anime video games and crazy action in the latest release.
One Piece centers around a young pirate named Luffy and his crew as they search across the globe for an infamous treasure. This game is based on the popular anime/manga using the content found in later arcs of the series.
Pirate Warriors 4 sees you make your way, fight after fight, through hordes of mindless enemies. Yes, while this game style can make you feel like the strongest on the planet, would you really brag about tearing through a short bus full of kids?
The bland levels and repeated button mashing holds the game back at times. But, somehow that same button-mashing is a cathartic release that keeps me coming back. I have a love-hate relationship with Pirate Warriors 4 that I just can’t quit, let’s get into why.
Gum Gum Details
This title is based on the Dynasty Warriors formula of players clearing objectives through an open map of enemies. You’ll fight your way through waves of baddies until you reach the boss. This is all done in the world of One Piece with awesome cutscenes spread through like a carrot on a string.
Pirate Warrior 4′s graphics are okay, looking like an early last-gen title. The colorful maps and over the top art style make up for the so-so graphics here. The PS4/Xbox version of this game looks great, while the Switch version makes visual compromises to run well.
The battery life is excellent for this title, you can grab around 5+ hours of playtime in handheld mode. Docked works great and is a better way to play if you’re heavily reliant on the map. Even then, the in-game arrow indicators still won’t prevent you from being lost.
The story mode is also pretty good with a narrative that keeps you interested as the gameplay gets stale. However, the game is only subtitled, which makes it difficult to read during battles.
Luffy, his friends and foes alike are a blast to watch interact with each other. From the cheesy dialogue to the adrenaline-filled moments of watching a fight playout. It feels like something you would watch on Saturday mornings as a kid.
Speaking of the story, you could probably write a novel in the time it takes to load stages. The loading requires as much time as it takes from queuing up in the Apex Legends menu to hitting the ground. Why do I know this? Don’t worry about it.
Copy and Paste
I still found myself coming back to play more because of the fun gameplay loop. Playing this in bursts is the best way and the portability of the Switch makes it great for pick up and play.
The fighting system here is mind-numbingly simple. There were times that I legitimately took my eyes off the Switch for extended periods of time during a fight. My main issue with the combat is the lack of variation, I never have to switch up my “hit any button” tactic even with bosses.
The combat has a new focus on ariel moves which does add some level of variety with its crazy combos. These air attacks are just another way of showing foes that they are in for a bad time. Along with the new general attacks, playing with your food has gotten more fun.
Pirate Warriors 4 has a branching level up system where you can upgrade different stats of your character. Although, it doesn’t matter though as you always have money to upgrade at your heart’s desire. All of it is only dressing for which area code you knock foes into.
One Piece Too Familiar
Verdict: Overall, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 does nothing to attract new eyes to picking this up. But, fans of the series and younger audiences will find enjoyment in the over the top gameplay and story. Everyone else will have a tough time dealing with the Groundhog Day combat or the long load times.
There’s a lot of corners cut here around a solid package filled with content most won’t even get to. This is a good game, unfortunately, this falls under a two out of five for people who didn’t know what to expect. Like Fast and Furious, Bandai Namco keeps pushing these out and you’re either in for the ride or not.
What do you think about the One Piece: Pirate Warriors series? What’s your favorite anime game? Have any love-hate relationships in your collection? Leave a comment!
- Likable story & characters
- The combat is fun in short bursts
- Handheld battery life is great
- Load times
- No gameplay variation
- Graphics are unimpressive, framerate still dips sometimes