One Piece: Kaizoku Musou 2 (PS Vita) - A Ryodo Review
What happens when you cross one of the best anime series of all time with one of the best developers of the Hack n' Slash genre? You get One Piece: Kaizoku Musou. What happens when fans want more out of the masterpiece? You get a sequel. What happens when it's released on both the PS3 and PS Vita? You get this review.
One Piece: Kaizoku Musou 2 is a Hack n' Slash game and a sequel to One Piece: Kazoku Musou, developed by Omega Force (the culprits---I mean the masterminds behind the Musou series) and published by Koei Tecmo in collaboration with Bandai Namco. It's a major satisfaction geared towards fans of either the Musou series or One Piece or even both. For this review, I will be talking about the Vita version.
If you've been playing the Musou series (be it Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors), the gameplay should look and feel familiar to you, albeit with everything One Piece related. There is nothing more satisfying than clearing up a large group of enemies with one fell swoop. Literally.
One Piece: Kaizoku Musou 2 consists of 4 gameplay modes: Pirates' Log, Free Log, Online Play and Challenge.
In Pirates' Log, you can either play through the story to unlock new characters and new play modes in Main Episodes, or play through the characters' mini stories after unlocking them in order to unlock their Nakama assist strikes in Nakama Episodes. In Free Log, you can choose to play in any of the stages with any character and Nakama you've unlocked. In Online Play, you can play with your friends via Wireless or WiFi. Lastly, in Challenge, you're to complete challenges such as defeating a series of enemies.
One Piece: Kaizoku Musou 2 features a total of 37 playable characters and over 45 Nakamas to choose from, each with their own unique abilities. These characters include the Strawhat Pirates (before & after the time skip), the Marines and other characters that are pivotal to the story.
Playable characters are classified under two categories: Attacker and Technical. When you tap the bottom right corner of the touch screen (as depicted by the small hand in the screenshot), you will activate either their Haki or Stylish attack. Attacker characters get a boost in attack and defense while Technical characters get a boost in attack speed as well as slows down everyone around them. This is also very useful against enemy generals who use the Stylish attack as well.
As you defeat grunts and generals, you'll earn experience points and once you've earned enough, you gain a level. As your level gets higher, you can perform better and stronger skills.
The story is basically a re-telling of some of the important events that took place in the One Piece timeline, such as Skypeia, Punk Hazard, Marineford and so on. Do take note though, this is non-canon, so you can still play as characters who have passed on such as Whitebeard and Ace (SPOILER ALERT---never mind, everyone probably already knew about this). The Dials are the main plot devices, as most of your crew turn evil because of them, and it's up to you to knock some sense into them so that they'll return to your side.
One Piece: Kaizoku Musou 2 comes with a library of new and original soundtracks not found in the anime, and yet gives that epic "One Piece" feel. The main theme of the game gets you really pumped up and ready to kick some butt. Of course, what anime-based game wouldn't be complete without voice acting? This game is full of them, and spells nothing but awesomeness all over. All the characters are voiced by their original anime voice actors, and knowing how well they're portrayed in the anime, the game pushes it further. The only thing that I feel a little annoyed is when you're near the grunts, you'll sometimes hear them say "Korosareten no ka?! (Do you wanna be killed?!)", and also when you're hit, they start laughing, as if to mock you. Since you can kick their butt anytime that's fine, but if it's a matter of getting an S rank or an A rank, the repeated laughter can be annoying.
When I played some of the Musou games for the PSP, the biggest drawback was trying to fit as many enemies on the screen as possible. As a result, either the enemy count was severely low or everyone's face looks horrible. Even though the problem was rectified in Dynasty Warriors Next on the Vita, it still didn't feel as epic. This game, however, just nailed it. Even though some of the enemies can't be attacked until they actually appear (you have to move to where they are to trigger them), once they do they can be attacked anytime, and nothing feels more satisfying than wiping out a bunch of enemies at once.
For a Vita game, the graphics are amazing. The only downside is that sometimes I encounter certain graphical glitches like the ones below. If you do see it in action, they flash from red to green to blue, giving you a possible seizure if you were playing this on the big screen (kinda like Electric Soldier Porygon). It could be because of the fact that this is a digital copy, but hey, I'm not complaining much.
If you're a One Piece fan or a Musou fan, I highly suggest you check this game out. Aside from the minor flaws, this game goes way beyond my expectations. As much as I would love to see more playable characters, this is more than enough.
If your favourite character didn't appear here, don't worry, as the gameplay itself will still be able to get you hooked on. Hopefully they would make a Kaizoku Musou 3 with even more characters and maybe you'll be able to play as your favourite character. Until then, raise the anchors and set sail for the New World! Thanks for reading my review, and may you Get Inspired Now!