I wasn’t planning on reviewing the DLC packs as well, but then again Namco and/or Koei silence on eventual stuff one would expect for a 30 bucks Season Pass…. made me feel apprehensive, and it worth keep banging on these issues, they won’t go away if you get bored of hearing about them, quite the contrary.
So you get both a review of the first DLC Pack for Pirate Warriors and a small digest of Koei’s DLC bullshit (just this once, i’m not gonna do that for the following DLC packs’ reviews), far from comprenhensive, but fear not, i could easily make an essay on this subject. If you’re already familiar (or WAY too familiar) with the subject, please just skip to the review of the DLC pack itself below.
As i said in the review of the base game, Pirate Warriors 4 made some absurd and frankly inexplicable cuts to the roster, on top of some design choices that seem kinda retrograde for a Warriors titles. I mean, it really couldn’t have been that hard to keep some characters playable even with the new systems, and if Bagy (who has been a playable character since Pirate Warriors 2) is playable despite the story basically skipping over its introductory arc, Garp (still in the game as a boss character, baffling enough) or Ceasar Clown could have been as well.
You could argue they could just make these playable via a simple, free patch, like they did for all humanoid boss enemies in Hyrule Warriors on WiiU, but i highly doubt it, without any push/reason to care for Koei, they won’t allow it, as a footnote on the official Pirate Warriors 4 site states “Note that some characters from OPPW3 (both playable and non) will not be returning ”, making aboundantly clear they have no intention to address the matter… not that way.
Given the assets recycling Omega Force does… i feel inclined to say Omega Force has been lazy. And yes, i say that fully knowing how trite of a criticism is, because it feels lazy as hell, even for Omega Force, but it’s most likely Koei being Koei, given Pirate Warriors 3 released 5 years ago. Of course Omega Foce hasn’t worked on just Pirate Warriors 4 alone in this span of time, but that’s another issue that stems from the way Koei operates them, which has arguably gotten worst, an issue i’m not gonna go into now to avoid making this post even longer.
And of course, most fans and season musou aficionados are right to fear Omega Force (on Koei’s order) might have cut these characters in order to sell them back as priced DLC, because it has done it before, even in recent memory the worst offender is Fire Emblem Warriors, a really good musou title, but half of the DLC characters already appear in the story and the game itself, but just aren’t playable unless you cough up the cash. Even worse because half of them are clones (with some differences but cloned movesets) of already available characters in the base game.
I was gonna say how i thought this won’t be the case, as the first 3 DLC characters don’t appear as NPC bosses or allies. …THEN i searched up news and found out X Drake is coming as playable DLC character (as part of DLC Pack 2 this autumn) despite appearing as a boss enemy in the base game. But then again, he just shows up in the game already in Allosaurus form (like Jack in his Mammoth form), so if i were to make a guess they didn’t have time – for whatever reason – to flesh out a full moveset. This is not an excuse, actually makes things even worst, because – on top of being an important character for the Land Of Wa arc – he was one of the most wanted playable characters, of course people wanna slay thousands of peons as a fuckin’ samurai dinosaur.
Ok, time to tackle the first DLC pack itself.
DLC Pack 1 is themed around Whole Cake Island’s arc, so it fittingly adds two of the Sweet Commanders (the third one being Charlotte Katakuri, available in the base game), Charlotte Smoothie and Charlotte Cracker, alongside Vinsmoke Judge, Sanji’s father, king of the Germa Kingdom, and head of the evil army known as Germa 66.
Charlotte Smoothie is a Power type, and uses her Wring Wring Devil Fruit’s ability to drain liquids from the enemies, powering up certain combos and extending range, and can Form Change into a giant version of herself. Not much to say, it’s another sword heavy hitting sword fighter, but a fun one, just wish the game retained the use of character specific bars from Pirate Warriors 3 (one wonders, because pretty much all missing characters had a gimmick like this, like Enel or Moria), if anything to better keep up with the specific character abilities and buffs. And it would have helped to make characters like Smoothie more unique.
I was interested to see Charlotte Cracker in action the most, given it’s odd Devil Fruit ability of being a “Biscuit human”, but oddly it’s not a Technique type character, despite his ability being totally more fitting for that than the Speed character he is in the game, but still, he has some quite fun moves, including surfing into enemies, summoning his giant biscuit soldiers or directly taking control of one.
Vinsmoke Judge is yet another Sky type, makes sense since all his children are as well, and he fights with his electrical imbued trident, kinda reminding me of Ganondorf’s trident from Hyrule Warriors, not a bad thing at all. I’ll be blunt, i really didn’t care about him, i would have preferred another one of the many Big Mom offsprings, but he’s more fun to use than i expected and has some nifty special movies that make him more distinct from his similarly playing monster-kids.
Now, the marketing made it clear that the Character Pass was for extra playable characters (it’s in the name), and not anything else, but many reasonably expected some extra new maps or missions to try the new characters into…. but no, the new patch just makes the DLC compatible and makes some general fixes. It just would have been nice, a proof that Koei actually wants the customers to not feel conned for buying its stuff. Some extra maps available for all via patch would have been better for everyone, regardless if you bought the DLC Pack, the Character Pass, or none.
Especially since you factor in that Pirate Warriors 3 didn’t have DLC characters, its Season Pass went for 13 bucks, basically the same amount Pirate Warriors 4 asks for only 3 characters. Not a good “money for content” value, i’d say.
So… see you in autumn for the review of the second DLC Pack for Pirate Warriors 4!