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For fans of party games only. You don’t necessarily have to like One Piece to enjoy this game, but that’s who it’s targeting – and that’s the audience it’s destined to most fully satisfy. As someone who doesn’t watch the show (and as someone who hasn’t been six for a very long time), it says a lot that I enjoyed the game.
One Piece: Pirates' Carnival is that special frustrating brand of game that comes close to excellence, but falls just short of its goal. With more polish and a wider variety of mini-games, One Piece would make an excellent addition to any party. Unfortunately, it falls just too short of its mark to appeal to any but the most die-hard of One Piece fans. Non-fans looking for a good party game would be better off investigating elsewhere.
The cel shaded graphics and the bobble headed characters may not be for everyone but during the scenes where the matches are being set up, the cartoon images of characters are true to the cartoon itself. Party games definitely are not for everyone and One Piece isn’t quite as in depth as some other party games out there, namely the Mario series. If you and your friends are fans of the series, as popular as it is, Pirates Carnival would be a great way to kick back and have a friendly competition with each other. Those who are not familiar with the series or are a little older may not find the premise or even the gameplay itself all that interesting and not quite the party they were expecting.
However, the minigames lack the depth necessary to keep the game entertaining for very long. And though they have a lot of character, none of what's here is particularly compelling or enjoyable. In fact, without the board game premise, you really won't find a strong reason to go back to any of these games just for playing's sake. And that's where Pirates Carnival ultimately fails.
If you're a serious fan of One Piece, and likewise have friends that love it, you'll probably enjoy Pirates' Carnival. It's wacky and weird and has some funny moments. It's just too bad that the actual gameplay can't seem to keep up with that kind of creativity. While memorable for fans, those non-One Piece fans out there should steer clear of this atrocity.
In fact, having One Piece: Grand Adventure releasing just weeks before Pirate’s Carnival may have been a bit of a blunder, as fans will find an infinitely better experience in the action/brawler than they will with this self-proclaimed party game. It just lacks the depth and variety of a closing console title (we’re on the fifth year for GameCube alone, and PS2 has been around even longer), and there are far better ways to spend your cash. The ability to earn new cards and play mini-games away from the main game was a nice addition, but there’s still no reason for One Piece fans to drop another chunk of allowance to play what can only be described as a shallower and less entertaining addition to the One Piece family.
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.
If only the mini-games that you have to constantly play were more alluring. Fans of the One Piece series will appreciate the extensive amount of voiceover work that appears in the game, including plenty of situation-specific conversations between characters (although sorry, otaku, it's all the English dub cast), and they'll clearly get the most out of this title. Anyone else might want to just dust off that old Othello set that's gathering dust in the back of their parents' closet.