One Piece: Pirate Warriors Hands-on Preview -- Weird, Wild, Elastic StuffBy Kevin Kelly - Posted Apr 17, 2012
Based on the ultra-popular Japanese manga, One Piece: Pirate Warriors is coming to North America and Europe after being released in Japan last month, and it is truly one of the most bizarre (and enjoyable) Japanese properties I’ve spent time with in a good long while.
In the true style of Japanese entertainment, it’s fun, bizarre, enjoyable, and completely nonsensical. At least in part due to the fact that the version I was playing was not localized yet, and since my Japanese language experience ends with ordering udon noodles at the Tokyo Game Show, I had to fill in the blanks via context. Which is actually more difficult than it sounds because what you’re really doing here is beating up bad guys.
But, the way you do it is fairly novel to Western audiences. You play through the game as a member of the Straw Hat Pirates crew, controlling iconic Monkey B. Luffy, and other characters including Zoro, Nami, and others. You'll also see iconic locations from both the manga and the anime, which includes everything from Orange Town to Marineford.
Combat also uses iconic moments from the series, including Luffy’s rubber Gum-Gum attacks, which he received after accidentally eating the Gum-Gum Fruit. Naturally. What this means is that he has stretching abilities that rival Mr. Fantastic, and he can perform a very fast long arm strike that will take down multiple enemies. He also has a special attack where he blows on his thumb, inflates his fist to immense proportions, and levels oncoming enemies like a wrecking ball.
If this sounds strange, that’s because this game is completely bizarre. But highly enjoyable as well. Luffy is a ton of fun to take into combat and pilot through some “push the flashing button!” quicktime moments as well.
To put it in perspective, the One Piece series has sold over 260 million copies in Japan, and while very few of the other 27 games (!) in the series have made it to our shores, this title represents the first time it has been on current HD consoles. Look for it as a downloadable title in November.