There’s something about Warriors titles that keep me coming back. The feeling of being an overpowered character taking out hordes of enemies gives me a cathartic feeling very few games can rival. So when I had an opportunity to play an early version of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 by Developer Koei Tecmo and published by Bandai Namco, I donned my straw hat and set sail for this new adventure.
Many elements are consistent when it comes to the Pirate Warriors titles. During gameplay, you get to choose from a wide array of characters from the popular manga and anime. Each character has specific moves, combos, and stats making battles feel vastly different.
Fans of One Piece will find a lot of love was put into their favorite characters with fun dialogue and a presentation that feels perfectly in line with the anime. Each character has a normal and strong attack, providing you with several different combos. Depending on your situation, some combos will be more effective than others.
Various special attacks are available, each with a unique gauge that builds as you defeat enemies. Another useful action is the dash, which collides through a group of enemies doing a bit of damage while boosting you through the battlefield. Still present are differently themed battlefields where your party, represented as blue on the map, fight against the opposing side.
While to the uninitiated, this may come off as a simple button masher, that will only get you so far here. Certain events pop up during your battle that needs to be taken care of quickly, or you may fail the mission. These are rarely isolated incidents with many seemingly important events happening on the battlefield at once. Figuring out who needs your help the most, along with paying attention to other character’s status, is important. Prioritization in these cases is key to success.
One of the main differences this time around is One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is running on a new engine from previous titles and it shows. Graphics and frame rates appear smoother, which offers a subtle difference in gameplay. Specials seem to work a bit more seamlessly than before in ways to keep the player invested in the action. Environments also appear with a bit more detail and a lot more polish.
The level we were able to play was vibrant and full of life contrasting from mostly static level designs previously. Paired with this new sheen is something the publisher referred to as “environmental crumbs.” This means that more environments are presented as obstacles that can be destroyed or unlocked under certain circumstances. These can range from rows of trees to full buildings. I’d also like to add that cutscenes appear to have been given the upgrade treatment.
For those interested in a more story-driven experience, there is the main campaign to play through, but like several other Warriors titles, if you want to focus on gameplay, Freeplay will take you right to the battlefield of your choosing.
Currently, there is a preorder bonus with the character Germa 66 as well as two bonus costumes.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 coming PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC on March 27, 2020.
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