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Hands On: One Piece Pirate Warriors

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I'm not really very familiar with One Piece. Pretty much all I know about the series is that it exists. So I really didn't know what to expect going into a demo of the PlayStation 3 exclusive One Piece: Pirate Warriors at a Namco Bandai presentation. But even knowing nothing about the characters or the world they were in, I found myself rather enjoying the over-the-top combat and graphical art style.

The demo that I played had Luffy facing off against hordes of enemies. Yes, this game was developed by Tecmo Koei, so it has a serious Dynasty Warriors flavor to it. Luffy has elastic powers, so I kind of had a blast dashing around and using my stretchy arms in wide sweeping attacks. And once you've filled up your overdrive meter, you can use a special attack, which comes in very handy when you face off against the boss. It became a little lather, rinse, repeat with the boss fight; Defeat a bunch of the minions to power up your special meter, then use your special attack to knock the boss down a bit. To spice things up a bit, there was the occasional Quick Time Event where you mash a button as directed, but it was all pretty straightforward. I was told, though, that the game isn't all combat setpieces. There is some exploration and platforming where you'll use Luffy's abilities to get around in unique ways.

As a downloadable game for PlayStation Network, it's not surprising that One Piece isn't the deepest game going. But they did an amazing job replicating the art style of the manga for the game, and the combat was still a lot of fun. You'll be able to play as other characters, too, like Zoro, Nami and other pirates from the Straw Hat crew. Collecting coins lets you power up your character, and you can enlist your friends for some online and offline co-op play in special cooperative missions. Oh, and as a special bonus for true die-hard fans of the One Piece series, the game will feature original Japanese dialogue with English subtitles! One Piece: Pirate Warriors is due out in North America via the PlayStation Network on September 25.

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