Dynasty Warriors 9 Review A Dynasty Falls
The very first Dynasty Warriors game came out all the way back in 1997. It was Omega Force’s very first game. Year after year, the company has refined the formula. It has attached new properties to it. It is practically a factory process, with multiple Warriors games churned out year after year. Now that this series turns 21, Dynasty Warriors 9 is doing something new. It is abandoning defined missions, ones you can play alone or with friends, and setting off in a brave new open world all alone. Anyone who spends any significant amount of time with it will soon realize this design direction is a terrible, horrible mistake.
While Dynasty Warriors ’ stories usually have some level of gravitas and drama, due to them being retellings of Chinese history, Dynasty Warriors 9 ruins that with a terrible script and horrendous voice acting. Allies spit out the same, generic “good job, hero” phrase at least two times each battle. Zhang Jiao, the first boss, sounds like a malevolent Kermit the Frog. Remember the original voice acting in the Pokemon and Sailor Moon cartoons? Dynasty Warriors 9 is on par with that. Which is disappointing, because what I have heard of both the Japanese and Chinese voice acting is rather good.
Once you have a character set and begin going through the campaign, seeing their side of events, you will have an opportunity to level them as you would in an RPG. As you complete missions and fight enemies, you earn experience. That gives you points to pump into their stats to make them stronger. Their attacks never change, so you always two standard sorts of attacks and a special. Holding down a trigger button and one of the attack buttons can send enemies skyward or possibly fell them, allowing you to mash the standard attack button for a combo. Button prompts often come up, suggesting tapping triangle to perform a counter or finishing move. People have a lot of options. Still, I had no problem beating most any Dynasty Warriors 9 fight mashing square on the DualShock 4 until the foe’s health was low enough to make the triangle finishing move prompt appear, only occasionally using a Musou special when attacking a major antagonist.
Enemies in Dynasty Warriors 9 are largely combo-fodder, with health bars that are constantly red and offer no indicator as to how much life they have left. Seriously, you will see a full red bar, chip away and see a slightly less red bar, then maybe eventually black. (Would it have killed Omega Force to use multiple colors, so you have a better indicator of how much longer each fight might last?) Enemies with no names or titles above their heads are no threat. They mill around like human-shaped bits of scenery. Characters with some sort of “captain” title floating above their heads might attempt to attack every few minutes, but will not often land an actual hit. Even generic enemies with actual names are of little or no note, beyond being the ones you should absolutely target in order to cause all of their minions to flee. Only the bosses pose any real threat, and this can be lessened by participating in busywork quests.
Ah, the busywork. Do you know why most open-world games work? It is because there are things actually worth seeing and doing in their worlds. Dynasty Warriors 9 lacks this critical detail. Most cities and castle towns follow specific templates, with their layouts remaining largely the same and only their names change. Barren expanses litter the landscape, with occasional gathering points to run over to get one item each time. It is rare to see random enemies in these vast expanses, which means there is absolutely nothing to do beyond running from point A to point B. Should you come across a base or village, there is no reason to dally there, as no items or lore lurk within.
If you can avoid it, you should avoid traveling any time you can in Dynasty Warriors 9 . Most missions in the list let you press square on the DualShock 4 to automatically teleport to them, and you should take this option. Actually moving from one place to another is not pleasant. The game is fraught with frame rate drops, which are unpleasant and very noticeable. It often dipped to around 15fps on my standard PlayStation 4, and I swear it seemed maybe hit 30fps at its best. This means you are trudging through a choppy world where colors seem lifeless and washed out. You have a near-invincible horse with regenerating health that can leap to the top of small guard towers and even two-story houses. However, sometimes if you call, it you will not actually “see” the horse itself and will instead just see dust clouds and sound effects “indicating” that it is there. When you mount the horse and choose to auto-run to the quest or location you have designated, the game will take the long way around most of the time. The times when it is not suggesting the scenic route, it might just be sending you up an unscalable mountain.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Review
When you do finally get from point A to point B so you can complete whatever mission you are on, you will find yourself caught up in the most tedious quests. Most of Omega Force and Koei Tecmo’s Warriors games work because they actually involve strategy in a specific battle. You have a set map, with objectives that allow you to tip battles in your favor; morale for your own army increases and makes them more effective, while opponents are demoralized. There may be repetitive quests, but they are presented in a more manageable way. Dynasty Warriors 9 drags everything out and honestly even eliminates the push and pull in battle that makes morale meaningful. Those objectives that would take one or two minutes in a standard Warriors game take five to ten minutes here, not counting possible travel time. The main objective of each of these segments of a character’s campaign may require you to at least perform at least two to five of these. Your reward? The overall level and difficulty of the main boss fight goes down and you get experience to increase that character’s stats. After I completed the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the first story for Liu Bei, doing about 10 mission before heading to that final fight, I ended up saying screw it and doing as few sub-missions before each campaign segment as possible.
Dynasty Warriors 9 also makes its hordes of characters somehow feel less meaningful than they were in previous games. The Warriors series is known for its huge casts of playable characters. There are over 80 characters, and you can only play as them during the game if they were actually alive during that period of time. The issue here is, if you have played through a segment of history as one character, you might not have to play as another who was alive, on the same side, and participating in those events at that period of time. As an example and to avoid spoilers, I started with one of the handful of characters immediately playable when turning on the game: Liu Bei.
In the very beginning of his side of the Dynasty Warriors 9 storyline, Liu Bei swears an oath with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. This means you really do not need to play as either of those two other characters, since they were on the same side and pursuing the same goals during the Yellow Turban Rebellion and other initial campaign objectives. When Lu Bu and Diaochan are among the characters unlock after defeating Dong Zhuo as Liu Bei, you really only have to play as one of them to see their side of the events of the storyline. Each character does have some unique story segments showing their perspectives, but the overall quests can be the same. And, since everyone can use every weapon and gems can be used to alter properties of attacks, it is not like certain characters are the only whip, fan, lance, or sword users.
While that may be discouraging, the broken nature of Dynasty Warriors 9 is even more saddening. I am not talking about the occasionally invisible horses or atrocious frame rate issues. There are times when the game might straight up die on you. When I first defeated Zhang Jiao, the boss of the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the game crashed before the cutscene celebrating my victory. The second time I defeated Zhang Jiao, it crashed “after” the victory cutscene, but before the prompt to save my progress appeared. When I decided that maybe I wanted to have Diaochan equip a devastating sword instead of a flimsy whip, the game crashed when I went to leave the equipment menu screen. I found myself saving both before and after I did anything of note, be it taking a new mission, assigning character upgrade points, changing equipment, and even fast traveling.
There are lots of great Warriors games out there. Hell, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo gave us the fantastic Dragon Quest Warriors II and Fire Emblem Warriors in 2017! You can never go wrong with Samurai Warriors 4 . Hyrule Warriors is so good, it is coming up on its third port! And there are times when I still swear Dynasty Warriors 4 is the best entry in this series. Dynasty Warriors 9 is not a good Warriors . It is not a good open world game. It is a broken, tedious mess. Fortunately, fans of the genre have plenty of older entries to enjoy. Maybe in a year or two, after Omega Force has more experience with open world installments, we will see the Warriors formula work with this genre.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.0 Graphics
Environments are generic and unappealing, the frame rate can drastically dip, character models can have halting and unnatural animations, and some characters have frozen, emotionless faces during event scenes. 3.0 Control
It is easy to move around the world and execute combos, but button mashing one attack will do as much good as trying to send enemies into the air or smash them to the ground. 1.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Dynasty Warrior 9’s voice acting is horrendous, where it would honestly be preferable to keep the sound off while playing. 3.0 Play Value
There are over 80 playable characters, but tedious missions, repetitive storylines, a world with large expanses of nothing and no multiplayer. 2.7 Overall Rating – Average
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|