As if the mindless item grinding wasn't enough to warrant walking the plank, the equally dull combat certainly is. Moves level up as you use them, giving you at least some incentive to keep pounding away to see what your party will learn next, but when each attack is learned by simply hammering the A (and occasionally X) button until your thumb bleeds, there's very little to distinguish them technically, especially when you've got all nine of the Straw Hat crew to choose from.
Eventually, however, you'll be able to bust out each character's signature moves straight from the anime. Pity, then, that the majority of enemies are about as gormless as a sack of vaguely sentient potatoes, leaving each skirmish feeling even more unsatisfying, not to mention incredibly one-sided. Even the slightly more formidable foes don't put up much of a fight, but if you're going to stand a chance against any of the ridiculously overpowered bosses, then you've just got to grin and bear it. To make matters even worse, the ropey camera and sluggish frame rate that gave the last game such a severe case of the Black Spot are also back, guaranteeing SP2 a sound keelhauling.
About the only thing keeping SP2 afloat is the Marineford mode, a strict series of arena battles based off the same story arc in the anime and manga. But even these have been pillaged straight from the first game, exhibiting the height of pirating laziness. They also lack all the drama of its original source material, with agonising, episode-long plot points often squeezed into tiny, worthless 3D cutscenes.
The battles themselves are also laughably easy, leaving much to be desired if you're a fan hoping to recreate any of the original's tense action scenes. The arena set-up also takes quite a few liberties along the way too, as it shoehorns in as many plausible fights as it can get away with, giving the impression that it's more just a glorified excuse to scrap with as many characters as possible rather than pay any real homage to the proper story.
Oddly enough, with Marineford and a Super Smash Bros-style survival mode making up two thirds of the game, it's strange that Ganbarion didn't just ditch the brawler idea and develop these particular sections as a more nuanced 2D fighting game, given its substantially more successful track record with that genre, but considering how half-hearted the rest of the game is, it probably isn't really that surprising.
The very worst kind of lice-infested parrot guano, this scurvy-ridden port should be apprehended on sight, transported to Tortuga and left to rot on a gibbet as a warning to others.