Published on July 30th, 2013 | by SharnOfTheDEAD0
Dynasty Warriors 8 Review
Summary: A great game and better than its predecessors
Dynasty Warriors 8 is part of a long running franchise of games about the Three kingdoms era of ancient China, known for its larger than life characters and hack and slash combat. There have been numerous spin off games such as Dynasty Warriors Gundam, Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi. The franchise itself is pretty long in the tooth with its sequels and spin offs. So how does Dynasty Warriors 8 stand out from it’s predecessors?
Those new to the franchise will either love it or hate it. The main core mechanic is slashing though hundreds of enemies by repeatedly mashing buttons and pulling off combos until your thumbs go numb. You will spend time participating in historic battles from the three kingdoms era with your favourite characters. The combat is more refined than ever with brand new attacks and all new ‘ultra’ attacks called rage Musou, which is capable of killing hundreds of enemies in just a few seconds with a maneuver both incredible and super effective, destroying anything standing in your way. You will soon end up with a KO counter going over a thousand each level.
The combat is more refined than ever with brand new attacks and all new ‘ultra’ attacks called rage Musou, which is capable of killing hundreds of enemies in just a few seconds…
There is plenty to do in Dynasty Warriors 8, there are 4 story modes to play through for the Kingdoms of Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin. These have been refined with new cut scenes, events and all new ‘What if’ levels which serve as bonus levels and alternative endings for each kingdom. Once finished with the Story, free mode is there for you to freely play any level to acquire new weapons and level up your characters to beat the hardest settings. Once you have a super charged character, you can turn your gaze to another new mode called ‘ambition mode’ where you can build a small town from scratch, recruit generals to your cause and ultimately secure the Emperor’s blessing. Here you can pick from various levels, some enable you to recruit new generals, whilst in others you can earn fame and resources which you can use to upgrade your camp with special buildings such as barracks, tea houses, blacksmiths and more.
There are several new characters added to the ever growing roster bringing the character count to over 70! All characters have their own unique incredible weapons and attacks. All the characters are fun to play as and that in itself is an achievement. Without a doubt there is something for everyone in this game, if you want a power house character, you will love the mighty Lu Bu or Guan Yu (winner of the greatest beard award). Looking for something faster? The spear wielding Zhao Yun may be for you. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will connect with one or more of the characters.
There are a few issues with the Xbox 360 version however. During some parts of the game you will experience slowdown which disrupts game-play and ruins the fluidity of the game. This usually happens when there greater numbers of enemies on screen, but can also occur during various other events throughout the game. At the time of review, Koei are working hard on a patch which should fix the issues Xbox gamers are experiencing.
There are also plenty of extras for fans including a huge encyclopedia detailing the historic battles and characters for those wanting to know more about the history of the three kingdoms. Another extra is a gallery for bonus wall papers for each character and you can re-watch cut scenes and events from the campaign as well as look at character models and weapons. Theres a great deal of fan service here, it might be lost on some people yet for others it may be a treasure.
Visually Dynasty Warriors isn’t exactly stunning, textures are bland and the battlefields aren’t worth exploring for pretty views. The game does have a certain degree of on screen chaos, with bodies flying everywhere, wonderfully detailed characters and hundreds of enemies on screen at any one time. I want to say that the number of enemies is impressive, yet games like Viking battle for Asgard and ninety nine nights have surpassed this game with numbers of on screen enemies, so I still think things could be better. However, on the other hand there is so much jam-packed into this game that I can forgive this. There is no other game outside this franchise that gives you more than seventy playable characters and four campaigns, along with many other extras.
Local Co Op and on-line play is also available so you can have a friend call to arms and cleave your way through hundreds of enemies together. All game modes let you invite a friend which comes in handy when you’re trying to fight through some of the higher tier levels on chaos difficulty. There are also hidden bonuses that can be achieved in Co Op play.
There are two ways to play Dynasty Warriors; A) play it on easy and slice through hundreds of men for sheer hell of it, or B) turn up the difficulty for a real challenge. Keeping key characters alive is imperative whilst all the time making sure you are full filling conditions and making sure you don’t bite the dust. Unlike the past games a new weapon balance system has been implemented, where you have heaven, earth and man. To sum up how it works, its pretty much like rock paper scissors. It is imperative that you are using the right category weapon against your enemy in order to gain the upper hand. Luckily your character can switch between two weapons to get an edge in battle which is extremely useful when it comes to playing the harder stages.
There is plenty of fun to be had in Koei’s latest addition, it might not be the best visual game around and some might say it is more of the same. However these games have changed over the years (I’ve been playing since DW2) they are still strangely addictive, it’s a once you pop you can’t stop feeling. There is something soothing about hacking your way through hundreds of soldiers, some may say almost therapeutic?
There is something soothing about hacking your way through hundreds of soldiers, some may say almost therapeutic?
It’ll be interesting to see where the series goes when the next generation arrives. Tecmo Koei recently tweeted asking fans what they would think of an open world Dynasty Warriors. It look like they can certainly take the series to new heights. I understand people think you can’t milk a dead cow, but this isn’t a cow, it’s fan service to the max and this franchise is far from done. It is getting better and better, albeit gradually, but its getting there and no matter what, hearing ‘You are a true warrior of the three kingdoms’ never gets old! Now, where’s my spear? Got some slaying to do!