One Piece: Pirates Carnival Review

One Piece: Pirates Carnival is yet another clone of the Mario Party series, this time landing on the PS2. Pirates’ Carnival takes the characters and style of the One Piece anime/comic and blends it into a game that is anything but special. While there are some new features, there just isn’t enough to keep this game afloat.

If you’ve played a Mario Party game previously, you’ll be right at home with Pirates Carnival. The basic formula of playing mini-games while trying to conquer the board lives on, although unlike the classic Nintendo series, here you won’t really navigate the board – instead, you simply select one spot (or "block") on the board and one of several occurrences play out. It’s unfortunate that the board doesn’t play in a similar way to Mario Party. Cruising around in your ship to different locations would have made the time spent in between mini-games at least mildly entertaining.

Once a block has been selected, a type of mini-game or event occurs, the latter of which basically works like a chance card in Monopoly. There are more than 30 different mini-games to play, and they compose the major focal point of the game. While there are some variations in terms of how they work (such as gaining control of a Captain), every mini-game comes down to a simple goal, outlined before the game begins. Your tasks will vary greatly, from searching for treasure underwater, to scaling a mountain quickly, to firing your cannon at islands or ships. While there is a great variety among this selection of mini-games, none of them are very deep and you’ll find yourself getting bored with each after a game or two.

After playing through several board games and heading into the VS mode (where you can pick any mini-game you wish to play), I couldn’t even find a game that I had any desire to play. In retrospect, there’s not a single time where I can say that I was actually having fun; many, if not all of the mini-games were just pointless and incredibly clichéd. Alternating between pressing the circle and square buttons in an attempt to beat opponents to the finish line would serve to be a mundane experience on even a cell phone.

The briefing you receive before training is obviously necessary, yet developer Hand Co. managed to quite possibly make it more difficult to jump into a game. Often times the briefing will give you such a small blurb as to render the instructions completely useless. The only way to really learn a game is to play it a few times, although you may not even want to play any longer by the time you figure out the catch to winning.

Transitions between the smallest of things, such as the game board to a dialogue overlay, or from the board to a mini-game briefing, are quite a production, due to the long and frequent load times. To make things worse, load screens are immediately followed by a black screen for roughly two seconds, and then another 2+ second transition from that screen to the game. While those few seconds may seem insignificant, they quickly begin to add up as you play through a game. After waiting for the dialogue to load, then the load for the briefing and then the game itself, plus those small, deceptive black screens used to make loads seem quicker, and you’ll have forgotten the useless instructions you just read, or what game you’re even playing.

Pirates Carnival’s only saving grace is the franchise, which lends its art style to the game. Characters are exuberant and fun, although newcomers to One Piece might find them to be fairly shallow. The cel-shaded anime style looks good on the characters, but backgrounds and environments look very bland. The background behind the game board is home to boats and windmills which bounce back and forth in place for no apparent reason. It’s a bit distracting, but it certainly beats having static backgrounds – especially given the boring period in between mini-games. Overall, nothing flashy here.

Background music isn’t particularly noticeable, and given its repetitive nature that’s a big plus. The mellow cartoony music fits in with the rest of this downright boring game. Perhaps the most annoying portion of the game comes in the form of character dialogue. Not only is it utterly stupid and over-the-top, but the voice actors sound like as if they were constipated while recording the lines.

One Piece: Pirates Carnival is nothing short of a poorly done Mario Party remake. There’s nothing extraordinary about it; it would be a wiser decision to dust off the old N64 and boot up the original Mario Party, rather than to pick this one up. Boring, uninspired mini-games drag down what could have been a quality licensed title. Do yourself a favor and don’t pick this game up: it’s one piece of garbage.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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