In the past year, I have played a good number of Dynasty Warrior-stylegames. These are also called Musou style. Basically, a player assumes control of one character and takes on hundreds of enemies at a time on the battlefield. I have played traditional Dynasty Warriors titles and spin-offs that take place in an anime/manga universe. Last year I reviewed One Piece: Pirate Warriors and it was pleasantly surprised. Well, Monkey D. Luffy and company are back in their own unique story in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.
Players take control of the Straw Hat pirates as they fight their way through rival forces. Luffy and his gang discover a series of special dials that have powers. When one dial turns his crew into evil personas of their former selves, he finds himself teaming up with some of his sworn enemies to survive his friends trying to kill him, and figure out how to get his crew back to normal while avoiding capture from the military.
Much like the original and other Musou titles from the past, players control a character as they run around a set battlefield completing objectives such as capturing hold points and protecting allies. During this time, players are using numerous hard hitting combos on wave after wave of enemies, special captains and boss characters. Combos are strung together with the square and triangle buttons. The character can also dash using the x button and activate a special move using circle.
If a player is in the vicinity of an ally they have set up, they can use a super attack and then switch to the ally for an even bigger combo and finisher. During these attacks, the character enters a focused state where time is a bit slower and attacks do even more damage. Entering this mode is essential during boss battles because they can enter the mode as well and the only way to counter it is by activating it.
Some mechanics of the first game have been removed completely. The quick time events players had to complete to move to a different section of the map are all gone. In fact, there are no QTEs to be found at all. This feels more like a traditional Musou game without all the “filler.”
The coin system is back as well where players find coins throughout their play that will offer stat boosts and other effects. These can be paired up to create matches to make them even stronger. Characters also level up with experience and obtain stronger abilities. There is also a bingo-like system that when certain coins are found, can be placed on a bingo board. Getting bingo will unlock new stats and attacks for characters as well. The customization is thought out and deep once I got into it.
Online multiplayer is back with a few new bells and whistles. Now, a player can issue an SOS while playing their game and a random player online can see it and choose to join in the match to help out. This can also be done for others as well. Of course, traditional multiplayer is available as well for people wanting to play with their friends. I will say, the matchmaking is off at times. I had a level 9 character, and it placed me with someone at level 44 playing on the hard difficulty setting. Needless to say, I didn’t make it very far before croaking.
The visuals are very nice and the animations fit right in with the cartoony look and feel. It looked like I was actually playing the anime. It was very impressive. I have to mention the amazing soundtrack. It is upbeat and very catchy. I was humming the songs well after I had turned it off. The story is interesting as well. I was very surprised due to the fact I normally don’t care about the stories in these types of games, but I never skipped a single dialog scene, and that actually speaks volumes.
Pirate Warriors 2 may be a mixed bag for some. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the game, and I can see how the removal of some of the uniqueness can put players of the original off, but in the end, it is a very fun Musou experience. In fact, I would say I prefer this over a Dynasty Warriors title. Sure, it will get repetitive, and the main story is not a very long experience, but it still didn’t stop me form have a lot of fun time with the game. If you enjoy Musou games or One Piece in general, you need to give this game a try.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.