How many franchises can you name that have lasted as long as Dynasty Warriors? If you go by the number of mainline games to be released, there aren’t many to list. So with over 21 years under its belt and 8 mainline sequels before it, Omega Force and Koei-Tecmo are adding one more to their own Dynasty, Dynasty Warriors 9. With number 9 comes some changes to the formula that may entice some new players to pick it up while not alienating fans of the series.
– Eric Acosta
Our Score: 4 / 5 – Awesome
Dynasty Warriors…? Oh no not that hack and slash button masher of a game! Really, another version? What is the count up to now? Yes, this is what many Westerners say in response to the highly popular eastern classic Dynasty Warriors. The game series has reached its 7th inning stretch (6th on the other side of the world) and we’ll see just how rejuvenated the series has become. At first glance, this year’s version looks no different than previous in the series. But once we take a look into what Omega Force has done with this title, we might just change our minds.
Once inserted into the PS3/360 tray, one will notice that Dynasty Warriors 7 is portrayed much differently from previous games one being the main story in story mode. Unlike previous games, Omega Force has made story a more significant part of the monster that is DW7. This version of the game tries to place the gamer into the story like never before, with more detail and facts inserted into cut scenes and game play. Gone are the days of vague, confusing dialogue between characters. Thrown out the window are the intuitive notions that were common place for readers of the Luo Guangzhong book Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Here we have a Dynasty Warriors game that tells the story from the beginning as if you have never heard of it before.
DW7 has four factions this time around: Wei, Shu, Wu, and Jin. Each faction has their own storyline portrays actual events from the Luo Guangzhong book. This is a place where Omega Force makes some changes to the game aside from story. DW7 no longer allows you to choose a character to play in the designated faction, but instead chooses a hero for the sake of the story. Yes, this does force the gamer to play heroes they may not want to ever play, but it does invite the player to indulge in the story of ancient China.
Once on the battlefield, players will notice the combat has changed from the Renbu system used in Dynasty Warriors 6 back to the classic style of charge attacks. This is probably due to the complaints that arised from consumers of the previous Titles. Most of the complaints originated from the fighting feeling too complicated and muddied. Going back to the tried and true fighting style seems to have worked better for Omega Force and allowed for smoother and quicker game play. Musou attacks are back again, but are tweaked. The Musou attacks have shortened to two small gauges you need to fill up and no longer are timed based. In standard DW fashion, you fill the gauges up by attacking peons. Some generals also have two Musou attacks allowing for more diversity with the heroes, but it’s here where Omega Force has shown some laziness.
The game includes over 30 characters, each able to use just about any weapon in the game. In previous games, the heroes had one weapon and a specific move set, that is not the case here. The move set is based upon the weapon of choice. For example, we choose Xiahou Dun and with the Kirin Blade. Using this weapon, he does his normal sword attacks whirling around and clearing the area as we all have come to expect. This is not special to Mr. Dun anymore, as once the player equips the Kirin Blade with another hero, say Zhuge Liang, he now whips around the stage moving like Xiahou Dun. The moves are not differentiated between characters anymore. How the player flows and attacks is all based on the weapon. The saving grace here is that each character has an EX attack which is tied to a weapon they are proficient in. The EX allows for character specific attacks tied to a specific button combination that throws the character into a special attack.
Putting another damper on this game is the fact that Omega Force, due to lack of effort again, has reproduced and used many of the maps from DW6 only changing basic scenery in an attempt to keep it new and fresh. However, this is not terribly noticeable and can be overlooked with little effort. This version of DW not only has the usual stable of horses and the giant elephant, but now bring in the use of other animals to help alongside the hero. The player will have the choice of animals such as tigers, falcons, pandas, bears, and even wolves. Most of the time these animals help little but do tend to help out in a pinch. Also adding to the animal sidekick, the player also has a choice to call in for help from allies made in conquest mode.
Speaking of conquest mode, it has become the replacement for free mode. In conquest the player goes through a map constructed of hexagons that will produce weapons, animals, and characters after completion of battles. In this mode the player battles mainly to gain weapons and experience although there are some spaces that are designed specifically to tell back stories and other fun facts about characters helping the player understand the story. Conquest is where the new addition of the online co-op is held. Though hard to initially find, it is worth the effort. It’s difficult to jump in random games but becomes much easier if you have a friend that plays. It’s just as fun mowing down enemies with a fellow warrior. Unfortunetly, this is really all for grinding your characters skill points and has nothing to do with your story mode but is still very fun indeed.
The game carries the same timeline and gallery modes that help players understand the story. With the much improved story mode this time around, the game itself seems to paint a much better picture. Future titles may no longer need these if they continue with the improvements. After everything is said and done, the game boils down to one thing. Be the last hero standing after demolishing the world. No, this version isn’t going wow a new gamers into playing it, but it will defiantly make the Dynasty Warriors fans happy. We’re getting exactly what we want…A little bit of history with a whole hell of a lot of slashing.