One Piece is a series with a long legacy. It has remained one of the most popular manga series in Japan and retained its top spot for years now. It is also one of the longest running manga in Japan so naturally there is a lot of material to cover for a game. Despite that, I have never felt like any game has come close to capturing the essences and story of One Piece — unlike say — Dragon Ball or Naruto.
The most popular One Piece games in recent times were from the Warriors brand. It was Bandai Namco’s take on the 1 vs. 100 type of action game that are commonly referred as ‘Musou’ in the rest of the world. This genre has proven to be rather lucrative when it comes to adopting different IPs ranging from Fire Emblem, The Legend of Zelda and even Berserk. Somehow the formula of a typical Musou game gives developers the freedom to blend any story into it without having to worry about gameplay elements.
It took Bandai Namco a whole trilogy but somehow they finally managed to get it right with One Piece Pirate Warriors 3. It is a vastly superior game compared to its predecessors. From the story to the presentation down to even gameplay, everything has been touched and improved upon making it the ultimate One Piece game for fans of the series. Even if you have never read the manga or watched the anime, this has been developed in such a way that newcomers and fans both will be able to enjoy it without dealing with any summary of the story.
As a way to make it newcomer friendly, the whole origin of Luffy and his motivation to journey the sea is explained in the intro. You will start you adventure from Fushia Village as Luffy and recruit your lovely band of pirates along the way. The fast paced nature of the story means that a lot of the emotional beats and character development that are seen in the anime lose their impact here, but it also makes it easier to experience the game if you are playing it as a fan, just to witness some of the epic boss fights.
One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is thoroughly a Musou game because it features the same gameplay elements that are commonly seen in this genre. The traditional world map where you can see the objectives along with the enemies or points of interest remains intact. The pre-mission screen that lets you prepare your characters for the battles ahead is retained. The difference now is that the story closely follows the manga with boss fights and main events intervened with certain major gameplay segments. Story related locations from the manga also make their way into the game so you will be revisiting a lot of familiar places.
Gameplay wise, One Piece falls prey to the repetitive Musou formula. One of the best sections of the game are its boss fights but the rest of the game sadly doesn’t manage to hold the same quality standard. Combat in general is actually pretty fun and the best part is that you will never get tired of it since there are just a whole lot of characters to select from here, including many fan favorites to even some of the more odd choices like Sabo, Donquixote, Doflamingo and Fujitora. These characters are all designed uniquely from each other. They have their own special attacks and skills that reflect their personality.
The missions themselves don’t really offer much to do. They are basically story related quests that require you to perform certain tasks, but they hardly offer a unique experience. I mean if you have played a Musou game in the past, you might have a better idea of what to expect here. I do think this is one of the better Musou games thanks to the diverse cast of characters and a story that manages to keep your attention.
I have been really impressed with quality of Bandai Namco ports for the Nintendo Switch. They started it with Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, which unfortunately wasn’t as good. But since then, I feel like they are steadily improving them and the two more recent games, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 and Naruto Trilogy, both are great examples of Switch ports. In the case of One Piece Pirate Warriors 3, it looks vastly superior to the PS Vita version in portable mode as seen with our comparison, and the frame rate also holds up well even though it is not perfect either. Docked mode gives better performance than portable mode but I enjoyed it more in portable mode because I found the visuals better suited for a small screen.
Another thing that deserves a mention here is that after you are done with the story mode, you can enjoy the Dream Log mode that works separate from the main story. It is basically a way for the player to keep enjoying the game even if they have managed to finish the story and the addition of co-op means there is a lot more replay value than your typical Musou game.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: Get ready for the next stage of ONE PIECE, with ONE PIECE Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition on the Nintendo Switch. Battle your way through the NEW WORLD, GRAND LINE, EAST BLUE, and DRESSROSA Arcs with over 40 pieces of DLC included.
One Piece Pirates Warriors 3 is a top-tier Musou game that fans of the series can finally enjoy on the Nintendo Switch. This is the definitive way to play the game without any major drawbacks that can be typically associated with a quick port.