Since the early 2000s, pummeling countless hordes of enemies to death in Dynasty Warriors has always been fun and, although repetitive, provided excellent escapism. Anime adaptations have become an oddly perfect fit for its “Musou” genre. From Fate/Extella to Senran Kagura to Kill la Kill, if an adaptation of an anime isn’t a fighter, it usually follows the Warriors format. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is the latest installment in the popular franchise following the typical formula, and it works quite well.
Decades of narrative condensed into a few hours
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 takes players through various story arcs of the iconic anime and manga. In fact, the campaign, known as “Dramatic Log,” goes through six story arcs, including one original saga created for the game. Each arc takes a few hours, leading to a 13-15-hour campaign. What’s cool is that you can go through memorable episodes of the show as a variety of characters the game lets you choose from. You don’t always have to play as the main characters, which provided a fresh perspective.
When the Dramatic Log is completed, you can go to the Treasure Log mode, which puts you in the role of various characters as they undertake a variety of missions. You’ll typically play as characters you wouldn’t use in the campaign mode. It’s a nice distraction from playing through storylines fans of the anime are used to seeing in every installment.
Taking the fight to the air in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4
New to combat in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 are aerial combos. You can do air combos that drastically change how you attack enemies. Players can jump in the air and start using melee attacks, or they can launch them from the ground and take the battle to the sky. Fighting on land feels fluid, responsive, and satisfying, while air combat takes a lot to get used to.
Although that mechanic is functional, the camera often got in the way. Some of the characters didn’t feel as great to control as others, and it often took me out of the experience. That also had to do with the fact that those fighters weren’t my preferred style of gameplay, but regardless, they didn’t feel great to control. While not all the characters worked for me, every fighter is unique and plays completely different. With 40 characters in the roster, there are plenty of ways to experience the combat that One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 has to offer. Each person who plays will find someone that will instantly click with them.
Playing at home is the best experience
When it comes to Switch games, I prefer to play on handheld mode. With One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4, docked mode became the ideal way to play. There’s a minimap on the bottom of the screen that shows your character’s position on the battlefield, the current objective, key enemies, and allies as well. It’s simple to read the map on docked mode because it takes up a decent part of the screen. Playing on handheld mode condenses the map into something that completely hinders the experience. I couldn’t see specific pathways and ended up walking in the wrong direction. In one mission in particular, I spent 30 minutes on the level but lost because the time ran out. The reason I failed was that I kept getting confused with the minimap. On my second attempt, I switched to docked mode and realized where I needed to go.
I played One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 on my lonesome, but those looking to play with friends can play multiplayer. There’s split-screen for two players and online play for four players, and the game should lend itself to frenzied fun for a friends.
Performance-wise, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 runs pretty well. The frame rate barely dropped, except for some moments when there were a few larger, more powerful enemies on screen mixed in with the hordes. Overall, slowdown was pretty infrequent, but when it occurred, it would occur regardless of if playing docked or handheld.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4: A worthy adaptation
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is a great addition to the Musou genre. Fans of One Piece will have an excellent time revisiting some of the best story arcs in the franchise as well as stepping into the shoes of plenty of iconic characters. Those who love games like Dynasty Warriors will have a lot of fun with One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4, even if you don’t know the source material. What makes this game so worthwhile is that it works for long marathon sessions and short bursts. Omega Force created the perfect pick-up-and-play experience. It’s a genuinely entertaining adaptation that consistently put a smile on my face.
Fighting countless hordes of bad guys never got old and proved to be a fantastic way to relieve stress. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is a game that’s worthy of being in anybody’s Switch collection. Step into the shoes of your favorite Straw Hat and enter the battlefield. Trust me — you won’t be disappointed.
A review code was provided by the publisher.