Round 8 FIGHT!

The eighth instalment to the Dynasty Warriors franchise (if you don’t include the expansion games such as the extreme legends) brings a huge assortment of playable characters, plenty of weapons to collect and a story that never gets old to enjoy. Designed and published by Koei, Dynasty Warriors 8 is your typical hack ‘n’ slash genre, based on the historical novel by Chinese writer Luo Guanzhong, ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’.

Dynasty Warriors is by far one of the longest running franchise games of its genre that will never get old. It always has a strong developed story with a huge cast of characters that brings different qualities to the field. Iconic characters such as Cao Cao as the ambitious lord of the Wei province attempting to unite the land through sheer power. Lu Bu, the tyrant general known for his violent temper and unparalleled martial arts on the battlefield that cannot be matched. Guan Yu, a righteous and loyal officer of Shu whose merits rewards him respect even amongst his enemies. There are more iconic characters that can be listed but with over 70 playable characters, it is hard to not play a character that you’ve grown to love if you’re familiar with the Dynasty Warriors story. All these characters bring together a story that is still popular today with both the Eastern and Western cultures who take interest in the Chinese Dynasty history.

“Dynasty Warriors is by far one of the longest running franchise games of its genre that will never get old.”

The game brings together the main component of the Story Campaign in an easy to understand structured storyline through each reigning side. There are hypothetical timelines the players can unlock when all the objectives are achieved through each chapter which changes how the story would turn out. This gives extra hours of gameplay as to enjoy a ‘what if’ story of a classic to what would of happened if this happened. The pacing of the story is fair and doesn’t drag on and each event in a battle goes with the flow to what is happening around you. Going through each Empire and unlocking all of their respective hypothetical timelines will garnish a good solid 10+ hours of game play depending on your pacing of how you play.

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A new mode called Ambition mode allows players to play any officer they have unlocked in the Story Mode to seize control of a land to welcome the Emperor. In this mode, players will have to take part in skirmish battles either to recruit officers, salvage materials or gain fame to help build your land. In this mode players will be able to make use of all the collected weapons from defeated officers to create new or more powerful ones. Ambition mode could also be called survival mode as that some of the hidden unlocks are in this mode where you have to enter continuous skirmish battles to unlock some item and one of them involves going through 100 battles.

Not much of the game mechanics has changed from the previous title which has just reused the same engine. Instead adding a lot more content into the game for more replay value and getting more out of the game instead of just playing through it once. Although the game has enhanced the visual effects and environment having a more crisp look to it, the game fails when there is too much going on screen where the lag kicks in and frame rates slows down. This does cause some unwanted lag where a quick battle is led astray just because a well-placed lag at the climax of the battle leaves you displeased.

Players will be caught up collecting and levelling up characters and skills to make use of on the harder difficulties as how the Dynasty Warriors games have become to be known for. On the Hard and Chaos difficulties players will find all the challenge as that battles will not sway in your favor as your allies slowly get taken out one by one and the morale is decreased allowing the enemies to do more damage to you. With the variance of weapons, any character can equip any type of weapon but cannot execute some of their unique skills such as the EX skills that are unique to every character. These can be seen as capability stars next to each weapon type for each character to see what weapon works best with them. Although this can be overlooked as that you can carry two different weapons into battle.

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There is a unique combat system in Dynasty Warriors 8 that will get use to as that there is the Storm Rush, Switch Counter, the Three Point system and the Rage Musou mode. Each distinctive mechanic adds a different layer of fighting to the game as that with the three point system allowing players to play a paper-scissor-rock like advantage over the enemy with the different type of weaponry. Heaven, Earth and Human type weapons have their advantages against their respective type which allows the Storm Rush mode to be activated when you have an advantage over an officer indicated by a blue diamond over their heads. The Rage Musou is activated when you have filled a bar next to your officers display picture which in turn allows you to go into a continuous attack mode which becomes stronger as you kill more enemies.

Dynasty Warriors 8 brings together a large cast of playable characters and a large assortment of weapons to play around with. Each character has his/her own unique traits and with Story, Free and Ambition Modes both able to go online and offline play. Players will be busy bolstering through each level on different difficulty playing either alone or with a partner. The game is well designed to bring players back to play, as each campaign you play, a part of the timeline is left out for you to go play a different faction to fill in the blanks.

As ambitious as the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” historical novel is, Dynasty Warriors 8 brings together a large cast of characters and a story that is told through different factions. The hack ‘n’ slash genre stays the same and never strays away from what makes it one of the most loved games of our generation. At times there is visual lag and overall can get very repetitive but it’s the promise of rewards that keep you playing. If you’re after a solid hack-n-slash title, Dynasty Warriors 8 still proves the series has what it takes.

Developer: Tecmo Koei
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & PS Vita

*Review copy was provided by the publisher.