I’m not a big Dynasty warriors fan but II hav played a lot of them, especially when younger. They’ve done a lot to change the formula, which maybe they felt they had to. But it doesn’t always work and if you’re a hardcore fan you MAY be disappointed…
The game opens with an old sounding ‘classic’ song which has been slightly updated, and a video of a muscle clad dude being armored up. Immediately I felt they’d released an unfinished game, at least that’s what I hoped… The animation and graphics are honestly bad, especially when there are a lot of enemies on-screen. Everything slows down, enemies go all static and glitchy and can even warp slightly. Which is not something you expect, especially when paying £45. Up close/facial graphics are ok but again are pretty static and facial animation is a bit shit. Even the way your cape follows you is really static and looks more like a piece of cardboard. I also noticed narration and speech missing out words randomly even though subtitles were there for it and words around it were spoken and the voice acting is pretty bad. Essentially the game definitely needs patching.
As always for Dynasty Warriors (DW from now on) games the story starts with the yellow turban rebellion. They’ve over thrown the imperial court and the country is in turmoil due to this conflict. You play as various chinese historical figures who fight to return the country to stability. Wu and Wei team up to take on yellow turbans whilst the Shu are more of a less royal/working mans protector.
You open up the main menu and choose whose story to play through, each revolving around the yellow turban rebellion (And continuing from there) but being slightly different. When you change character no story progress is saved (Nor XP), only locations you’ve discovered, and to change characters you need to go back to main menu and start the missions again. There are 90 playable characters (Which you unlock by completing various objectives and completing chapters etc.), so essentially you have to play through very similar missions a lot of times with each faction. For me it’s a ridiculous set up and I personally wouldn’t want to play it through 90 times, it would be better if you played as one faction and could switch between the heroes in that army.
The map is rather big (Takes 2 hours to cross) and open plan so you can follow missions, eventually completing the final objective or free roam and take on bases (Which you capture as your own), hunt, fish and collect materials. When you do complete the final objective that part of the Story ends and you start the next mission. In this way it feels rpg-ish but is the same as always really, just bigger and you don’t come out of the map unless you start another officer’s story.
I started an action tutorial to remind myself how DW games play. There wasn’t a lot that felt different to the button bashing roots of the game. There’s now a big counter button which becomes a ‘finish him’ button and is often a one hit kill when it flashes up. There are also trigger moves (Hold R1 whilst pressing a button) which are your special moves and can be used to juggle/break guard etc., you can also equip gems to these specials to make them an elemental attack. There’s also a ‘lock on’ which can be forced or auto, used to fight specific enemies, sometimes it will make you run 10 metres in a random distance. Essentially the combat is the same as always, you run towards a big crowd of enemies, juggle and button bash to deplete their health bar and defeat them. The specials are still cool to use and still have that classic sound effect when activated. For me the battle is fun but it’s so repetitive and got boring pretty quickly, it’s just button bashing which doesn’t really stand up any more. As if this isn’t bad enough a lot of enemies don’t even attack you, they just stand there waiting to die.
At the beginning I decided to not do the first mission and explore the map instead. With a lot of RPG games you’ll come across an enemy who you can’t pass without leveling up, however there didn’t seem to be a challenge no matter how far I went. Straight away I was taking on level 10 enemies at level 2, normally you’d get dicked. In general the level above an enemy’s head doesn’t matter, it almost seems to be broken. Enemies of the same rank take the same amount of hits no matter what level they are, the only difference is in rank (Soldiers > Captains > Officers). Some specific officers can be tough as they’re an end of mission ‘boss’. Something that I did enjoy was taking on an enemy’s fortress, you can scale the wall or break down a gate to get inside and murder everyone. I think i liked this as there was a high density of enemies.
There are lots of things that have been added in to make it more RPG than action. For example you can talk to people in towns and villages; normal things are available such as picking up side missions (Usually just killing a small army), crafting, buying items n weapons, handing in collectibles etc. Fleshing out the game as a whole. With merchants and blacksmiths you can buy, sell and can craft using materials found. There are also XP points available to upgrade your character (Officers only). A bow has been made available to take ranged shots at enemies who are in towers or when hunting various animals, you can actually stand far enough away from a group of enemies to defeat them without them noticing you (Just takes a while). And you can now sneak which helps with hunting, and in certain missions, there’s also a grappling hook to help scale walls.
In general I feel that the gameplay is a bit blocky and slow, and their were a few things that just niggled at me. One thing that in particular was that there’s always a massive marker below you that I wish you could remove, you know where you’re going by looking at the map! Also when you’re playing as a character there are the same 2 or 3 lines of dialogue (‘I hereby claim this area as my own’ when taking an area) continually repeated. Also some of the larger battles reminded me more of war simulator that you see on crap TV shows as opposed to a current gen game.
Put it this way I actually checked to see if it the game was up to date.
As always it’s a mix of strategy and combat, this time with rpg elements thrown in, but for me it doesn’t really do any point that well. Once you’ve done one mission you’ve done them all. Travel here, defeat this guy and his army, take location, find some supplies. Rinse and repeat. Now there is fishing and hunting thrown in but the mechanics for these aren’t THAT good and won’t keep you entertained for hours
Sometimes when you’re absolutely SURROUNDED by enemies the combat is pulled off well and can be really enjoyable but when enemies are sparse it’s not that exciting. Perhaps the clunky controls make it less enjoyable. I need a reasonable combat system when that’s all you’re doing when fighting (No magic or anything) and I couldn’t see myself wanting to use this system for hours.
Overall it’s not awful, it just needs updating, a lot of updates. I think there are a lot of elements of a good game underneath but the final product here is a bit of a messy jumble and doesn’t have anything that makes me want to jump back in. Plus they’ve taken away the local coop which was always the best thing about these games.
It’s fun a game, it’s just not a great game. It’s certainly not worth £45 in it’s current state.
You can see an hour of footage I streamed here if you want to see some glitches for yourself.
I give it a 6/10
(This could change with updates)