A Good, Solid Dynasty Warriors Experience
You know, I’ve done a lot of Dynasty Warriors reviews for Cheat Code Central , and they always seem to start the exact same way. I talk about how Dynasty Warriors is a formula that never really changes and how the development team already knows their fanbase. It’s rare that any Dynasty Warriors title ever deviates from the formula of “mash attack to kill all the peons,” and Dynasty Warriors 8 is no exception. So there’s not much to say about this title other than to talk about what the game has to offer to gamers who are already longtime fans of the series. Frankly, Dynasty Warriors isn’t going to convert any disbelievers, and I think Tecmo Koei is OK with that.
The roster is probably the thing Dynasty Warriors fans will care about the most in Dynasty Warriors 8 . You can choose from over 70 classic warriors, and unlike Dynasty Warriors 7 , each of these characters has completely different move sets. Yes, “clone” warriors have all been overhauled, making each one unique (if still somewhat derivative). Characters’ fighting styles can then be customized even further depending on what weapons that they equip. The weapon switching from Dynasty Warriors 7 returns in this game, allowing you to equip two different weapons to each character, though each character also has a favored EX weapon that grants them certain bonuses.
Each character now has three Musou attacks to choose from: two ground Musous and an air Musou. There is also a brand-new Rampage gauge, which is your standard action-game berserk meter. Fill it up and you’ll get a boost to your strength and speed and gain access to a special ultimate Musou, which usually does tons of damage and clears out a huge swath of soldiers around you.
A new weapon-affinity system has been added into the game, which is a simple rock-paper-scissors-type system that makes certain weapons more powerful against other weapon types. What’s really interesting, however, is that this system doesn’t just give you basic damage bonuses or buffs. It actually introduces entirely new moves and gameplay mechanics into your normal bouts of mashing on the attack button until everyone around you dies.
For example, if you are on the losing side of an affinity matchup, you’ll find that you’ll do much less damage and you can’t even get the opponent into a stun lock. This makes it extremely hard to chip away at the opponent’s life bar. However, you also get the ability to Switch Counter your opponent, which is activated by switching your weapon at the exact time an opponent hits you. This gives you temporary boosts and switches you, hopefully, to a weapon that is a better matchup against the opponent.
On the flip side, being on the winning side of an affinity matchup will allow you to use the brand-new Storm Rush maneuver. Essentially, attacking an enemy with a superior weapon will slowly chip away at a gauge with each blow. When the gauge empties, your opponent becomes locked in stun and you let loose on them with an insane barrage of blows that deals massive damage.
This new weapon-affinity system adds a little bit more depth to an otherwise linear game. If you desire, you can spend a lot of time tweaking your weapons and gear to make the most of the system in every match. However, you can just as easily equip weapons with the best stats and simply button mash your way through levels as well. General enemy A.I. isn’t really all that intelligent, and the difficulty in the game is mostly determined by the amount of damage that your opponents do. So the combat in Dynasty Warriors 8 is really just as deep as you want to make it.
The stages in Dynasty Warriors 8 are, unfortunately, kind of bland. While the graphics are detailed enough, the areas you traverse feel copied from one another. Once again, levels don’t really have any feeling of depth. They simply feel like wide-open areas connected to each other by a series of corridors. You never really feel as if the map is coming into play during your missions. Defeating an enemy general or escorting an officer to safety is exactly the same no matter what map it is on.
This carbon-copy mission format unfortunately tends to make Dynasty Warriors 8 slog quite frequently. You’ll play three missions, get tired of button mashing your way through the same objectives over and over again, and then put the game down. However, the sheer flashiness of the game never lets you put it down for long. Give it a couple hours and you’ll be drooling at the prospect of stabbing everyone in China, only to pick up your controller, play three missions, and put it down once again.
The Story mode of the game is broken up into historical campaigns and what-if scenarios. Granted, “historical” is kind of a debatable term in the anime-esque Dynasty Warriors world, but I digress. Dynasty Warriors 8’s Story mode hasn’t really changed much from 7’s . You’ll be given several different missions across four campaigns that have to be undertaken with a variety of different characters, which level up and gain new gear as they complete the missions they are given. The basic pattern of complete a mission, see a little bit of story, and completing another mission returns, and it’s about as compelling as it was before. The biggest thrill here is the search for hidden objectives that open up the what-if stages, and the Free mode, which allows you to grind for items and experience on stages you have already completed.
However, it’s the Ambition mode that is easily the coolest new mode in Dynasty Warriors 8 . Your goal is to impress the Emperor with your awesome military palace. You’ll start with little more than a weapon shop, and you’ll have to fight in skirmishes in order to find new materials and items to upgrade your base of operations. Defeating enemy officers in battle allows you to recruit them, which not only allows you to take them into battle, but also makes your palace grow. You’ll also have to go on raids to increase your fame, which will make it more likely that the Emperor will take notice and visit you. This mode is kind of like a stripped down version of Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends , something more akin to an RPG or a sim game than a hack-and-slash action game, and it works. It’s incredibly addictive, far more so than the simple story mode, and it will likely be where you spend most of your time.
Dynasty Warriors 8 is a simple, solid title that does the Dynasty Warriors franchise proud. It’s not really reinventing the wheel, nor is it trying to cater to fans outside of its small demographic. It just wants to be the best button-mashy, Chinese-soldier murder simulator it can be, and in that, it succeeds. If you are a fan of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, definitely consider picking Dynasty Warriors 8 up.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.2 Graphics
The special moves look amazing but the carbon copy soldiers feel a bit sloppy. 4.0 Control
The game plays solidly and controls respond tight. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Frankly, hair metal is starting to get old. Why would you put hair metal in a game about Chinese history anyway? 3.5 Play Value
If you are a fan of the Dynasty Warriors franchise you will simply love this game. 3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best