Co-op wise, split screen couch co-op is pretty much the Musuo gold standard. With roughly enough guys on screen to populate their own country (The Sovereign Nation of Mindless Fodder), the framerate does take a hit during split screen. It's not unplayable, nor is it especially disruptive, but it is noticeable if you're looking for it. You can also play co-op online if you've got a friend who wants to remotely bounce into the mayhem, but this kind of game really benefits from the split screen approach in my mind. Playing co-op does replace the anime-esque wind up/verbal telegraph of your special moves, though the actual animation of the attack still plays in real time. If you're popping supers off as often as I did, you will be thankful to expedite the process.
The action in general is pretty hectic and fun. Sure, the enemies are only slightly smarter than a well-read box of hair, but there's always so much going on in every mission you can't help but feel a sense of urgency. I found myself losing objectives (and occasionally, entire missions) despite being able to mow down eleven baddies with a regular combo. Most missions took me anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes, which was pretty infuriating when a crucial objective on the other side of the map fell to the bad guys at seventeen minutes in. One time, after a particularly long fight, the game glitched and locked both myself and my partner in a tiny room, only to watch as our own brain-dead minions fell to superior numbers without our leadership. Despite the threat of a lost time investment, the game managed to remain fresh enough that we would typically shoot for three missions in a sitting.
Pirate Warriors 3 is chock full of content. With nearing on twenty years worth of story for One Piece, there's tons of material to fatten up the narrative. That's in addition to all of the other playable characters you can unlock in the Dream Log or Free Log. All characters can be improved by using character coins you unlock during missions, and maxing out stats of some characters requires a solid time investment. There's a bit of a grind, though the variety of the characters helps alleviate that pain.
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 does not re-invent the Musuo game, nor does it pretend that it is a high-minded gaming experience. It's just good, clean, dumb fun made all the better with a friend at your side. If you enjoy the Warriors games, this is a fantastic one. If you're a huge One Piece fan, it's got a lot of that. If you're a fan of adorably tiny, cute reindeer that can turn into huge, burly reindeer mid combo, you'll definitely enjoy it. It's made me very interested in the source material, which is not something I as expecting going into this thing. Luffy's journey with his insane posse is pretty endearing, and I'm glad to have been along for the ride. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 sets out to do one thing only, and it does that thing very well.
The Co-Op Experience: Two players can pick between a huge roster of One Piece characters to battle beside each other in almost every mission.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.