One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 Review - Stranger tides

The fourth installation in Bandai Namco's action franchise has arrived. Our review.

1

Since the late 90’s, One Piece has been a major player in the world of anime and manga. The story of Monkey D. Luffy and his daring pirate crew has spanned a number of mediums, including video games. The Pirate Warriors series immerses players in the world of One Piece, allowing them to experience the story and characters they've come to love. Published by Bandai Namco, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is the franchise at its most ambitious. 

A grand quest

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 tells the story of Luffy and the Straw Hats from the beginning. Players make their way through the iconic stories through to the Whole Cake Island arc. After reaching this point, the narrative transitions to a brand new story centered around the Land of Wano. If nothing else, the One Piece story is chock-full of exciting adventures and an immensely colorful cast of characters and enemies.

While playing through Pirate Warriors 4, players can play as up to 40 different characters from the world of One Piece. This is representative of the biggest highlight of Pirate Warriors 4; the sheer level of content and options available. Pirate Warriors 4 often feels a bit too familiar, as it retreads many of the same beats from the One Piece story that we’ve seen in previous Pirate Warriors titles. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 looks to combat this by adding new playable characters and new ways to play. 

Take to the skies

The combat in Pirate Warriors 4 is fun and satisfying, in spite of its shallowness. At the very beginning of the game, players are thrown into a large-scale battle with hordes of enemies swarming them. I immediately began jumping around and mashing buttons, successfully fending off the waves of foes. I didn’t quite know what I was doing, but I didn’t need to. This encapsulates how the combat gameplay feels in Pirate Warriors 4.

A new addition in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is the integration of aerial combat. While in battle, players can jump to take the action into the sky. This adds a much needed new angle to combat, while also creating more diversity among characters. 

There are a number of combos that players can unleash by using the controller’s different face buttons. However, there feels like there’s little incentive to do so. Simple button mashing and spamming of basic attacks is enough to defeat the majority of enemies One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 throws at you. Aerial combat helps the battling system to feel separate from previous games in the franchise, but the issue still persists. It was only during boss battles that I felt the need to use special attacks or conjure up some sort of strategy. 

One of the new additions in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is Titan Mode. In Titan Mode, enemies grow to larger sizes, forcing you to change your approach to battling them. This mode is neat, but I didn’t find any particular value in it beyond the gimmick of fighting supersized baddies and quickly left it behind. 

Docking ship

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is a great installation in the Pirate Warriors series and feels like a love letter to fans of the franchise. While the Musou style combat can feel extremely repetitive, it’s also quite satisfying and fun to mess around with. The story is exciting and does a good job at capturing the sense of adventure from the anime, even though we have seen many of these stories before. Bandai Namco’s action-adventure franchise is at its best with One Piece Pirate Warriors 4.


This review is based on a digital Xbox One code provided by the publisher. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch for $59.99

Contributing Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

Pros
  • Wide range of playable characters
  • Expansive catalog of missions and side quests
  • Aerial combat is a great addition to battling
Cons
  • Combat encounters can feel quite repetitive
  • A lot of the story missions feel like retreads from previous games
From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola