I’m a huge fan of Dynasty Warriors games, they’re simplistic yet highly addictive games that reward with instant gratification like no other series. I’m also a huge fan of One Piece, so to me, combining an over the top action anime with game series known for large scale battles sounded like a match made in heaven. And while Pirate Warriors 3 has its flaws, it’s still highly worth your time.
Pirate Warriors 3 follows the One Piece storyline from the moment Luffy met Zorro, all the way up to the current Dressrosa arc. Along the way you get to control the Straw Hats and battle all of their greatest foes in each of their now infamous adventures.
The gameplay is nearly identical to Pirate Warriors 2 (which you can read my review of here). You take control of a singular character to defeat thousands of enemies and capture endless territories on your way to completing the mission. The biggest change comes in the fact the Focus ability from PW2 is gone, and is replaced with the Kizuna Rush ability.
Kizuna Rush allows players to make bonds with assist characters and use their powers in battle for a brief time. The more allies you have the stronger your Kizuna becomes. There’s something downright awesome about watching Luffy beat up some thugs, then to see the entire Straw Hat crew jump in and obliterate everyone in the surrounding area. It takes a while to figure out how to use it effectively, but once you do it adds another layer of complexity and enjoyment to the series.
Another great addition is the sheer variety of characters and maps. Nearly every major arc from the series is given a map and a mission for it, making up to more than 20 levels. And while some major players are clearly missing from the roster (I long for the day I can play as Kidd or Killer) the character list is vastly larger than the previous entries. Additions such as Magellan, Lucci and Fujitora change up gameplay styles just enough to keep things fresh.
However the best newly added character by a landslide is Sabo. This guy utterly destroys everything on screen with a single combo. People often state some characters are too over powered in these games, but damn I think Sabo could take on Lu Bu with both his arms tied behind his back. He’s so overpowered its fantastic.
One of my biggest issues is the games multiplayer aspect. You can now only play as the Straw Hats and friends who were present in the story. This means that unless a character was on their side during a certain arc, you won’t be able to play as them. This becomes particularly annoying when certain missions involve only one character and suddenly you can’t play split screen with your friends anymore. You also can’t play split screen in the Dream Log mode, making the majority of the game a single player experience.
But at the end of the day you’re playing these games for the addictive gameplay and mindless action, and when it comes to that Pirate Warriors 3 delivers in spades. My best times were playing the game with friends (some of which have never heard of the series) and laughing as one of us pulled of a super move that killed 500 enemies. Seeing someone go “this is insane I love it!” captures the heart of what these games are really about, pure insane fun.
So if you’re into mad non-stop action and want to dip your toe into the One Piece universe, Pirate Warriors 3 is definitely the best place to start. It’s a fun, light hearted romp through one of the most well developed and most beloved anime universes ever created.
Should you play Pirate Warriors 3?
Thanks to Bandi Namco for supplying a review code