How The Musou/Warriors Series Saved My Sanity

It was near the end of 2017 and I was miserable. I had a job that just did not click with me. I had cartoonishly critical coworkers. When allowed, I found myself the first to leave when the clock struck five every evening. The only thing that kept me sane was my girlfriend and the new PS4 that I had bought. One of the games ended up a Musou/Warriors game.

Me And One Piece

All this time, I only had a passing interest in anime. I had seen Dragon Ball Z as a kid and Death Note as a teenager, but that was about it. I got laid off from my job due to lack of incoming work for the office. There existed only so much time to dedicate to finding work. The rest of the time I dedicated to making YouTube videos and binge-watching anime. This was how I found One Piece.

I became a huge fan, between the scope of its world building and every character seeming to have a tragic backstory. Whether I cleaned my dishes or folded laundry, One Piece found its place in the background of my day to day. Eventually I had made it through all 750 episodes that I could see on Hulu. (I didn’t actually watch all 750. I skipped the many, many filler episodes)

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There must exist a PS4 game that I could enjoy that had my new favorite characters in it. It came down to Burning Blood or Pirate Warriors 3. Burning Blood looked like a bland fighting game to me so I picked up Pirate Warriors 3.

What Is A Musou/Warriors Game?

Pirate Warriors 3 is a spinoff game from the Dynasty Warriors series, also known as the Musou series in Japan. Pirate Warriors uses the characters, settings, and situations from One Piece.

Many different kinds of Warriors games exist besides Dynasty Warriors (which uses original characters). Examples include anime and video game series such as Gundam, Fist of the North Star, Fire Emblem, and even The Legend of Zelda. The most recent iterations of the formula come from Dynasty Warriors 9, with original properties and Hyrule Warriors, with properties from Zelda.

I had never played a Dynasty Warriors game in my life, but I knew vaguely what to expect. Capture bases with your super powerful playable character, defeat THOUSANDS of enemies per stage until the main boss appears, and expect it to get kind of repetitive. For better or worse, all three of these things turned out true.

If you can understand what I mean, all the characters you can play as all have similar attacks, but they feel different. Certain characters such as Zoro, Tashigi, and Doflamingo excel at crowd control. Some, like Kuma and Eneru, fill up their special “Kizuna” meter faster to unleash a devastating attack. Some hit slower but harder, like Jimbei. Believe me, I’ve played games where characters feel the exact same and this is not one of those games.

How To Use A Warriors Game As Intended

Despite the glaring repetition of beating thousands upon thousands of schlubs, Pirate Warriors 3 became a calming experience for me. It reminded me of the show I had grown to love as I could see Luffy and his crew doing the exact same thing in the show, and I felt free to turn my brain off and just relax. Even though I only find myself able to play an hour at a time as an adult, the game takes me back to childhood. I didn’t have to worry about anything.

And here’s the kicker: I’m still nowhere near unlocking everything in the game. You easily unlock all the characters by facing them in a certain mode called Dream Log. Unlocking their full potential and stat boosts takes S Ranking everything that the game offers. Though, I don’t think that’s the point. This or any other Warriors game shouldn’t be the main game you focus on.

I describe Dynasty Warriors as a background game. Play epic stories like God of War or Yakuza 6. When they burn you out, de-stress with any Warriors game you wish. I am no longer unemployed or at a job I hate. I won’t forget what the Musou series did for me. With Pirate Warriors 3 recently out on the Switch and One Piece World Seeker hyping fans everywhere, I can’t wait for new experiences with the Straw Hat Pirates.

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Mike Nigrelli

I’ve been writing almost as long as I’ve been playing video games. I also do standup and improv. The game that made me realize that video games could be more than just a toy, was Metal Gear Solid 2.

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