Not Just Another Dynasty Warriors Game
Dynasty Warriors has always been a “safe” game franchise. If you pick up a DW title, you can be pretty sure you are going to be hacking your way through wave after wave of defenseless soldiers. Every Dynasty Warriors title follows pretty much the same formula. Kill some dudes, capture some territory, kill a boss, and repeat. So the only thing setting these games apart is the window dressing used to frame the entire conflict. So far this year we have done the Dynasty Warriors thing with warriors in ancient Greece, samurai in Japan, and our good old friends from Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Now we have my personal favorite—giant robots—in the recent release of Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3.
The story of DWG3 should be familiar to anyone who has read or written bad fanfiction in the past. All the Gundams and Gundam pilots across the many Gundam universes have been transported to a mysterious alternate dimension. In this strange warped world, they have nothing better to do than form alliances and kick the crap out of each other. To the story’s merit, the game does a good job at smudging the line between good and evil. You see, each character experiences the events of the story in a different way. There are over fifty characters to unlock, and when you play as one of the villains you realize they aren’t as crazy as you once thought.
But you really won’t be paying attention to the story in DWG3. Instead, you’ll be focusing primarily on the gameplay, and the characters take center stage there as well. Not only will you be unlocking characters as you go along, but you will be leveling them up as you complete missions. The game has that familiar almost-an-RPG feel to it, with money and experience being earned rather quickly until the endgame. You can actually use your money to increase your characters’ stats by training them in DWG3, and this is great way to get low-level characters caught up to ones you’ve used the whole game, or to push your main characters to even further levels of absurdity.
However, characters aren’t the only thing you have to take into account in DWG3. You can also mix and match the giant robots they pilot, and there are over seventy to collect. At the beginning, characters are limited to using the Gundam they start with, which is usually the Gundam they pilot in their anime of origin. However, defeated enemies have a chance to drop “plans,” which allow you to build their Gundams for yourself and take them for a spin.
Each Gundam has its own stat layout and a limited number of “upgrade slots” that you can use to alter those stats. You can find better plans with better stats for a Gundam you already have, giving the game an almost Diablo-like loot-quest feel to it. Each Gundam also has a limited list of pilots that can use it, but you have the option to buy “liscenses,” which allow other members of the cast to climb into the cockpit. Eventually, you will be mixing and matching pilots to Gundams in order to make your own personally designed killing machine.
The core gameplay of DWG3 is, as I said before, pretty much the same as every other Dynasty Warriors game that has come before it. You control a leader in one army facing off against another army. A.I. troops and fellow generals will continuously travel about the map, facing the enemy in any territory they enter. Like a good anime character, it’s up to you to turn the tide of battle by applying your crowd-killing prowess in the right place at the right time. Kill enough peons while staying in a territory long enough and you’ll capture it. Capture enough territories, and you eventually will go up against the enemy’s generals. If you defeat their generals and capture their base, you win. But if the same happens to you, then you lose.
DWG3 mixes the formula up a little by adding unique territories to the mix that give you a special benefit when you capture them. For example, one of these territories acts as a teleporter, allowing you to get around the map at high speeds. Another gradually heals your troops and fellow generals. There are even missile bases that, when captured, periodically rain burning death upon your enemy’s territories. To succeed in any given mission, it pays to study the map and go for these key territories first, because if your enemy captures them, you could soon have burning death raining upon your own troops.
The control scheme is classic Dynasty Warriors as well. You have a weak attack, a strong attack, a ranged attack, and a special attack you can use when your special bar is filled. That’s about it. This would get boring if it weren’t for the fact that every Gundam—and, to a lesser extent, every pilot—plays differently. Some Gundams are slow bruisers, while others are quick and aggressive. Some fight with powerful beam sabers while others fight with ludicrous giant robot martial arts.
DWG3 adds a few more options by letting you stock multiple special attacks in order to make them more powerful, and by adding a “partner” bar that fills as you capture territories and generally go off being awesome. You see, you fight alongside a “partner” in every level of the game, and if you fill your partner gauge, you can call them directly to your field to do an awesome anime-style signature move. You can even do your special attack at the same time, teaming up to rain down hell on your opponents.
Add to this a dash and accompanying stamina bar, attacks that change based on how much life you have left, quick time events that occur when weapons clash, and cinematic events that change the state of the battle, and the game starts feeling like an epic battle in a Gundam anime, rather than just any old Dynasty Warriors game. Case and point, you can actually destroy an enemy with so much force that they explode in a burst of flame. Then that explosion can kill another troop, causing them to explode, which destroys another troop and so on. Eventually you will be clearing out entire fields in one stroke. I don’t think you can possibly get more anime than that.
For a Dynasty Warriors game, DWG3 has a lot of replay value. Putting aside the unlocks and loot hunting, there are over 300 missions to play. The story can be played from the point-of-view of multiple factions, and there are special “history” missions which have you playing out classic epic encounters from the many Gundam series. There are co-op missions (though unfortunately not nearly as many as the single-player missions) which can be played with one to four players that can drop in and out at any time. There’s even online play, and while the netcode during actual gameplay is decent enough, it’s kind of hard to find a game. The fanbase just isn’t big enough.
In the end, Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3 explains itself entirely with its title. It’s a Dynasty Warriors game, it had Gundams in it, and it has had three chances to improve on itself. It’s done a good job. DWG3 is a fantastic way to blow a few hours and let off some steam, and, heck, you don’t even have to be a Gundam fan. The gameplay stands for itself. But for fans, seeing Domon Kasshu beat the ever loving piss out of those pansies from Gundam Seed is just plain awesome.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.7 Graphics
Dynasty Warriors was never known for its graphic excellence, but the Gundam models are quite nice to look at. 4.0 Control
In a game where hoards of troops are always trying to kill you at once, it definitely helps that the controls are responsive. 3.2 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Frankly, the repetitive anime quips tend to get annoying, but the voice acting was competent enough. 4.3 Play Value
I’m already getting more mileage out of this Dynasty Warriors than many other similar games. 300 missions worth of mileage, that is. 3.9 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