Playing the demo of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 at the Crunchyroll booth at New York Comic Con was my first exposure to the franchise since I read the first 25 volumes of the manga in high school and promptly never picked it back up again. Let me tell you, as someone who has not played Pirate Warriors installments one through three, things got real weird, real fast.
The series, whose first installment came out in 2012, way back on the yonder console of PlayStation 3, follows more or less the adventures of Luffy and the One Piece crew from the manga and anime, adapting fights to a musou format for the games. With a different roster of characters and different villains for each new game, it’s not necessary to follow the manga in order to understand and enjoy the games. That being said, does it help? Yes, as I found out.
Several characters were available to play as during the demo, however, the only ones I knew were Luffy and Zoro, and Luffy won my vote. The first thing that I noticed while playing the game is how well the format matches the manga. There’s quite literally an army of enemies for Luffy and co. to tear through in their objectives, which matches with the oversized crews they fight in the manga. Luffy seemed overpowered at times, but playing a demo I think it fit. Again, that also matches with the manga and stays true to the tone.
After smacking, jumping, and kicking your way through more pirate mooks than you can shake a stick at, with relative ease, came time for Luffy’s boss fight against Big Mom. First of all, as someone who hasn’t kept up with the One Piece story, this woman is terrifying. She’s about three stories tall and could easily squish the life out of Luffy if he wasn’t made of rubber. As a boss fight, this made it interesting as there are definite territorial advantages that her size difference gives her. However, she was still an easy, if time-consuming, win.
By the end of the demo, it was pretty clear that Pirate Warriors 4 was made for fans of the anime and the manga. Did I enjoy the game still? Yeah, it was fun knocking down enemies and using Luffy’s Gum Gum powers. But the story was totally lost on me, and I was starting to suspect that musou fights are more fun to read than to play. That being said, if you’re a fan of One Piece or of the other Pirate Warriors games, there’s plenty of fun here to dive into.
Are you excited for One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4? What characters do you want to see on the roster? Let us know in the comments below!