Dynasty Warriors 8
The Dynasty Warriors franchise of games seems to be seeing just as many releases as the beloved Call of Duty franchise. Since its beginnings on the PlayStation 1, it feels as though there hasn’t been a time in the last 15 years or so where there wasn’t a Dynasty Warriors game (or one of its spinoff series) available to gamers. With each recent Dynasty Warriors game, Tecmo Koei have been attempting a delicate balance act between pleasing their long-time fans and also harsh critics, by adding new features whilst simultaneously revamping core gameplay mechanics.
With Dynasty Warriors 8, Tecmo Koei bring back key features from previous Dynasty Warriors games and also throw in some new features and some pretty slick new character designs. It feels like they’ve attempted to take the best parts from every Dynasty Warriors game and combine them to create the most spectacular Warriors experience available on current generation consoles. While they haven’t reinvented the wheel, they have certainly breathed new life into Dynasty Warriors.
For those of you who are new to Dynasty Warriors, the game takes place in china during the Three Kingdoms era, a troubled time where three separate kingdoms (as well as some independent forces) were fighting to unify China under one ruler. The three kingdoms, Wei, Wu, and Shu were made up of charismatic rulers, brilliant strategists, and deadly soldiers. In Dynasty Warriors 8, you are able to experience the thrill of the battlefield by playing as the various characters from each army in a number of different modes.
Naturally, there is a story mode, where you choose which kingdom you want to play as, and then control various generals throughout the story’s progression. You are able to change characters at any point between missions, which gives the player more flexibility as they can learn the nuances and see how the characters develop as they gain experience. What I really enjoy about Dynasty Warriors 8 is the return to the combo system. At the beginning of the game, characters will have starter weapons, which look okay, but only do a moderate amount of damage. Defeating enemy generals will cause them to drop a weapon for the player to add to their armoury. You can also visit the blacksmith in your base camp to acquire more weapons, should you feel like emptying your coin pouch
The story itself might seem a little complicated to a Dynasty Warriors outsider, and an experienced player might think they’ve heard the story many times before in every possible way. Tecmo Koei has managed to tell the story from a fresh perspective, whilst introducing the various characters and events to a new player, without overwhelming them. Whilst some players may find it difficult to understand or enjoy the highly-Japanese delivery of the game’s story, I enjoy Dynasty Warriors 8’s cartoonish characters and almost fantasy-style take on historical events. There are sorcerers, magic, volcanoes and even mammoth-sized siege weapons that while unrealistic, feel right at home within Dynasty Warriors 8. One feature present that I really enjoy is the “hypothetical path”, which are a series of missions and side missions unlocked by completing certain tasks throughout the main story. Through these, players are able to experience a fictional take on what may have happened to the various kingdoms had major events unfolded in a different way. These will delight Dynasty Warriors fans.
In addition to the story mode, there is also free mode, where players can play various mission they enjoyed again. Similar to Dynasty Warriors 3 and 4, players are now able to play as rival forces and characters that were present in these stages in story mode. Yes, even more characters and variety!
“Ambition Mode” is a new addition to Dynasty Warriors, where the player builds and expands on their base in order to build their army and attract Emperor Xian to visit a spiritual tower the peasants are constructing. There are a number of small missions to complete, which contribute to the base in a number of ways. It’s different, it’s fun, and it’s addictive to build upon your base!
With previous Dynasty Warriors games, some critics have said that the gameplay is dated and repetitive. While every game is based on repetitive actions (no one calls out Gran Turismo for being repetitive despite it being so) Dynasty Warriors strengths and weaknesses lie in its gameplay. How tiring or entertaining the gameplay becomes ultimately comes down to a player’s personal preferences. If you are someone who enjoys high scores, levelling up and getting better at a game with every mission, then Dynasty Warriors 8 will certainly please you. If you are a lover of old school beat ‘em ups like Double Dragon and Golden Axe, then Dynasty Warriors 8 will have you hooked, as it is basically a modern brawler with the spirit of those classic games. If however, you are someone who dislikes executing thousands of grunts and generals in each battle, Dynasty Warriors may not be for you.
For me, a big part of the appeal of Dynasty Warriors 8 is in the unlockable skills, which act like perks. They can be unlocked by completing various tasks in the game, each rewarding a different play-style. If you are a head-hunter, and try to complete levels by defeating the enemy generals as quickly as possible, you will unlock increased weapon range and attack speed to help you complete this goal more often. If you want a particular skill, you will have to adapt your play-style to unlock it, which is a rewarding take on the previously tired gameplay. It should also be mentioned that the new moves and tweaks to the gameplay may cause some framerate issues, but overall, the gameplay is much more enjoyable. Every character now has an intense new True Musou move, where they begin by attacking a large number of enemies on screen, then dash forward juggling as many enemies as they can at once. It makes for many an awesome “whoa” moment!
- New refreshing take on story and gameplay
- Tons of content
- Multiplayer story mode is back!
- Some framerate issues
- Unpredictable difficulty spikes
- Slightly repetitive.
While many critics may be sick of the Dynasty Warriors games, I for one am glad to have picked up a copy of Dynasty Warriors 8. It has enough new content and replayability to warrant a purchase, and it is the perfect brawler to ride out the remainder of this console generation.
Score – 8/10