One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition (Switch) Review
If you’ve heard of Dynasty Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors or Hyrule Warriors, then you have some idea what a Musou game entails. For those who aren’t, the games are generally a third-person hack and slash that take place in large battlefields. With large battlefields come large armies, that will often surround you as you fight your way through. It’s not uncommon to end a stage having defeated 2000 or more soldiers. Most games of this genre are battles based around the Romance of the Three Kingdoms but Pirate Warriors 3 is instead set within the world of One Piece, a long-running Manga, and Anime series.
One Piece is the story of Monkey D Luffy, an aspiring pirate who is building up a crew of the best pirates he can find. He is seeking out the ultimate pirate treasure, The One Piece, to become the Pirate King. Having eaten a Devil fruit when he was younger, Luffy has been essentially turned into a rubber man. Within the game this allows Luffy to stretch out his arms and legs with more than enough reach against everyone else’s swords and guns. Over the course of the story you’ll see how Luffy recruited each of his Straw-hat Pirates and get to control them over the course of the game. From Zoro the swordsman, Nami the Navigator, Usopp the expert of tricks and traps, Sanji the Chef who dishes out damage with his legs, and several more are unlocked as the game progresses. Each Crew member fights quite differently from the others, and it can really add some extra variety to try out the less straightforward fighters. Including villains and allies, there are 37 characters overall that you’ll be able to play as in two of the modes available – there is no shortage of choice.
Overall the battling and re-living the One Piece story is fun, and with the different fighting styles you can easily change up to keep the fighting from getting too stale. Being a Masou game, it cannot escape that everything can get a bit repetitive. Missions are often very similar throughout the game, and if you’ve played another Masou game you’ve already done them plenty. Although Pirate Warriors 3 maps are fairly varied as you work your way from the East Blue to Dressrosa, some are more straight forward while others have gimmicks. Ultimately there’s enough variation within the stages and the missions to keep from getting fatigued on it. The wide variety in characters also does a lot, there are a lot of pirates that have devil fruit powers that aren’t as straightforward as Luffy’s extended limb melee attacks and can keep things interesting. Everyone also has a special attack and throughout the stages you can also have another crew member with you where they’ll jump in during your attacks adding in their over the top techniques.
There are three main modes to One Piece Warriors: Legend Log, Free Log and Dream Log. Legend Log follows the story of One Piece, from the very beginning and right up until the Dressrosa Arc, covering a lot of arcs with plenty to play. Within Legend Log your character choices are limited to characters who were present in that part of the storyline and were able to join the fight.Each stage tells the basic story of each arc through cutscenes and events that happen throughout the missions. If you’re not familiar with One Piece, there is enough to piece together the main story beats. For those more familiar, there’s plenty of events and nods to story from those arcs, although it is a bare bones retelling. The Free Log allows you to select stages from the Legend Log but without character restrictions, as long as they are unlocked. Lastly there is the Dream Log. You battle from island to island, taking on battles in story locations with mixed-up enemies and allies. Dream Log is a great way to level up your crew as it’s hard to do so without spending currency. It also helps earn a wider variety of coins that are used to upgrade characters stats.
Just like the story of Luffy and his Straw-hat Pirates, it’s good to have a crew. All you need is two split joy cons and you can play with a friend. There isn’t an online mode, but 2 player mode is much more enjoyable being in the same room.
Given Pirate Warriors 3 has appeared on several platforms without issue, you would hope that the Switch is more than capable to handle this three-year-old game. The good news is that it runs well. Even better is that it runs well both in handheld mode and docked. For those who care about framerate, the game runs at 60fps in docked and 30fps in handheld. It’s very playable in both modes and Docked is even comparable to the PS4 version. While music that you would find in the anime is unfortunately absent, the music that is used is suitable for the game as you’re knocking down waves of people. For the audio from the characters, their voices are all the Japanese vocal tracks. The only issue this causes is you must pay attention to dialog boxes.
In the spirit of Deluxe editions on the Switch, Pirate Warriors contains all the DLC for the original game. In this case it is mostly costumes for your crew with a handful of quests. Namco Bandai would be true pirates if they had asked you to get a season pass for this content along with the price of the game. It still stings that this edition costs so much. While it’s fair enough that there are costs with porting and releasing the game again, $90 is a big ask when you have Hyrule Warriors that has so much more meaningful DLC included for at least $10 cheaper. Price differences between ported Switch games and the other platforms is always going to be a contentious issue, so I guess the biggest let down would be that this isn’t a Pirate Warriors 4. While it’s nice to be able to play it at all on the Switch, there is still the inescapable fact that the game is now, at least 2-3 years behind the events of One Piece.
If you’re a Musou or One Piece fan (especially if you’re a fan of both) then One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe is worth playing. The biggest obstacle currently is the price. It’s a hard sell, but unfortunately not unusual for games like this to have a high price point. There is a lot of content even before including the previously paid for DLC, and to unlock everything in the game you’ll be playing for sometime. Overall the game runs great, looks and sounds good, and still plays great in handheld mode. It is a blast taking on large groups with over the top attacks. Hopefully Namco Bandai have more One Piece games in store for the Switch, but for now Pirate Warriors 3 is a seaworthy addition to the stash.
- Barrels of fun
- A lot of content
-It uses the One Piece license well
- Runs great in handheld and docked
- Price is steep
- Can be repetitive at times