One Piece Pirate Warriors 4

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 Game Poster Image
Fun, over-the-top brawler has violence, suggestive content.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Based on Japanese anime TV show (and manga graphic novels before it), this over-the-top fighting game doesn't have any messages in it. Goal is to defeat hordes of enemies, align with allies, take over territories. Tons of combat but it's implied you're fighting bad guys, so it's neither positive nor negative.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Along with main hero, Monkey D. Luffy, there are more than 40 playable characters (and about 10 available as downloadable content), but you don't know too much about them to tell whether they're positive or negative unless you're a fan of the TV show or manga. That said, some comments made by fighters are not appropriate or not indicative of good role models.

Ease of Play

Makes you feel super powerful, as you can destroy hundreds of enemies with a few slashes of your weapons, and bodies seem to fly in several directions. Game is fairly easy to control, with one analog stick devoted to movement and the other to the angle of your weapon attacks (melee or projectile), along with some buttons for attacking.

Violence

This is very much an action-fighting game. As one of the 40+ characters, you'll fight through huge crowds of enemies, use various weapons to clear out each area. Weapons range from punches and kicks to cartoon-like melee weapons (e.g., large swords) and projectiles (e.g., oil, bombs, cannons, small tanks). Some cutscene sequences show characters getting impaled, but no blood's shown in the game.

Sex

Many (but not all) female characters wear low-cut, revealing outfits that show large amounts of cleavage. Some dialogue is also sexually suggestive: "Now that I've won ... maybe you'd be so kind as to show me your panties." Another time, a female character can be heard saying "I can't believe I have to work together with a pervert like you."

Language

In-game dialogue has occasional moderate profanity, including the word "s--t."

Consumerism

Based on the anime TV series, which in turn is based on the manga graphic novels, but there's no cross-promotion between game and other One Piece properties. Game also supports optional paid DLC (downloadable content).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A few characters can be seen smoking cigars. Another character is seen drinking sake (rice wine).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is an action game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The gameplay has a strong focus on fighting brawls. You're challenged to clear levels by fighting hordes of enemies -- with several kinds of weapons and as various playable characters -- before eventually becoming the King of the Pirates. Fighting is the main gameplay mechanic, but there's no blood. Players will use martial arts and cartoony weapons to destroy all human and nonhuman enemies and bosses. Some female players wear low-cut tops that reveal large amounts of cleavage. Some sexual comments can be heard in the dialogue, too. There's some profanity, including the word "s--t," and some characters can be seen smoking cigars and drinking sake.

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What's it about?

Based on the Japanese anime series and manga comics, ONE PIECE PIRATE WARRIORS 4 is a frenetic action game that focuses heavily on combat against several hordes of fighters. You'll punch, kick, and use melee and ranged weapons to defeat enemies. You'll also find and play as allies, with the overall goal to take over islands and become the King of the Pirates. As with its predecessors, such as 2015's One Piece Pirate Warriors 3, the Pirate Warriors series looks, sounds, and feels like the anime it's based on -- including over-the-top brawls and effects like buildings that come crashing down during the action. You'll create combos and chain attacks together for maximum damage. Missions are similar to those in previous games: "defeat this group," "take down this boss," or "help your allies to take over this part of the island," and so on. This time around, there are several more environments to fight in, more unique moves and combos per character, and additional solo and multiplayer modes to play outside of the main Story mode. The game boasts deep character progression and a talent tree (shared across all characters) with offensive and defensive moves, special attacks, unique skills, and more. You'll unlock rare coins that in turn can be used to redeem new content.

Is it any good?

While it's not a perfect 10, this game ranks better than the one that came before it by adding more variety and depth to the gameplay. But at the same time, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 didn't change so much that it feels out of place. It definitely fits the franchise and is a fun, over-the-top game for fans of the series. The first thing you'll notice is how easy it is to pick up and play. You'll feel super powerful as you defeat legions of fighters and begin to master your moves, chained combos, dashes, and special attacks. It's even more gratifying when you can throw baddies through a couple of buildings and witness the environmental destruction in real time. Boss battles can be even more intense, with tougher and larger enemies (such as one who turns into a giant dinosaur). On a related note, a new game mode called Titan mode, where enemies become much larger, forces you to adjust your tactics. Also new with this sequel is the combo system, which is a lot more intuitive and balances basic strikes with charge attacks and mid-combo moves. So you can pummel enemies on the ground, throw them into the air to continue the beating, and then trigger a super move to end them for good (it's best to wait until the enemy armor gauge is depleted to take them down easier).

Between the 40-plus characters, each with different play styles and weapons, several unique environments, and various modes (including four multiplayer options, a Free mode, and bonus Treasure Logs missions), One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 has a lot of content to sink your teeth into. The variety and deep character progression also break up the monotony found in its predecessor -- though there's some repetition in the mission styles and play cycle. The cel-shaded graphical style and fluidity of the animation is also better than in the game that came before it and truer to the anime/manga. Overall, One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 is a treat for fans of the franchise since it's faithful, frenetic, and fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in One Piece Pirate Warriors 4 affected by the over-the-top, cartoonish nature of the fighting? Would it be any different if the violence was more realistic?

  • How can people with diverse backgrounds and talents come together to form bonds of friendship and overcome obstacles?

Game details

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For kids who love action

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