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.