Brawling charges up a power meter, which can be used to unleash a host of powerful super moves. Chief among them is unleashing key members of key members of the Straw Hat Crew to go crazy with their signature weapons on everything in front of you. The significance of some of these pirate characters was lost on me, but I still appreciated the wild animations and comical style. I imagine that the final game will help flesh out some of these characters for those who aren't familiar with the animated series, since the campaign takes place from the beginning and requires players to assemble the crew.
Beating up hordes of enemies and defeating captains will help break down strongholds and conquer the territory, which in turn unlocks access to adjacent territories. However, it is easy to lose track of what direction you should be headed and the time limit bearing down on you amid the chaos. I got so wrapped up in beating up enemies with an array of outrageous powers that I forgot about actually winning. Bringing up the overhead map shows you which territories still need to be taken, but it doesn't seem to differentiate between areas that are accessible and those that are locked out.
At the same time, the myriad of enemy types tend to blur together amidst the action. Ultimately, enemies come down to those with shields and without. Shield carriers usually surround captains and other key objectives, but it can be easy to overlook them the amid the sea of enemies. Additionally, the fact that some of your crew mates are among the throng, battling enemies alongside you, can almost go unnoticed.
When it comes down to it, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is as simple as gameplay gets. You throw your character at enemies, using powerful move to sweep, crush, and punch dozens of them at a time, then move a little further to do it some more. I conquered a territory almost by accident, and didn't progress very far after that because I got too wrapped up in the cartoon action. Ultimately, I ended up being done in by the time limit, which I ignored until it was too late to catch up. Still, just playing the demo was a fantastic and fun time, and it got me interested in learning more about the TV series.
The Straw Hat Crew comes together when One Piece Pirate Warriors releases on August 25th for PS3, PS4 and Vita, and PC. (Note: The Steam listing shows an August 28th release.)