Once More into the Breach
Warriors Orochi 2 for the PSP is little more than a clone of the original, with a few new strands of DNA thrown in for variety. Technically it delivers the goods; and very well I might add. It looks, sounds, and plays great on the PSP. Despite the new content, it’s only recommended for hardcore fans of the series, or those that might have missed the first PSP version.
Warriors Orochi 2 combines the characters, storylines, combat, and other elements from Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. You’ll get to pit Chinese fighters against Japanese Samurai, of which there are more than 90 – 96 to be exact. Interestingly, you get to play as Orochi right out of the gate. But you’ll have to be patient to unlock some of the new characters in the painfully long story mode.
There is a lot of content in this game including a ton of modes and huge maps. And while there’s nothing really new about this game, I still have to admire the developers’ attention to detail. All of the characters have a distinct look and feel to them. They possess different moves, weapons, and combat techniques. They share the same control scheme, and that definitely makes things easier. Each time you unlock another character, it really feels as though you’ve got a new and different fighter under your thumb. Fans will drool over the vast selection of single and multiplayer modes that include Story, Free, Dream, Tag Team, Versus, Co-op, Survival, Elimination, Steeplechase, and Tower. And though we’ve seen it all before, we’ve just never seen so much Warrior content packed into a handheld.
Events take place years after the apparent death of the serpent king Orochi. All of the dynasties are brought together through space and time to the land that Orochi once inhabited. These clans will clash with each other to settle old scores and to keep the evil armies from resurrecting the serpent king once again. In other words, it’s little more than a good excuse for a fight. You’ll be able to play as numerous dynasties including the Shu, Wei, and the evil Orochi.
Gameplay is strictly hack ‘n slash. It’s a finger-numbing exercise to push those face buttons so rapidly and so repeatedly, but it’s the only way to win. There was some hype about strategy in this game but certainly not during the battle. You can’t rest your fingers for a second. This is a challenging game. Enemies come fast and furiously in waves, and waves, and waves. The average soldiers are fairly easy to take care of one on one, but when they are swarming you, things can get overwhelming in a hurry. It seems as though you can’t make a mistake, as it will throw your rhythm off. But things do bog down when you are confronted with the various generals and lieutenants. Along with the bosses, these superior characters will require more abuse from you, and you’ll require more stamina. The only real strategy comes into play before battles when you can choose the character and weapons that you will bring along with you. Since you don’t really have any knowledge of what you’ll be facing, it’s probably best that you stick to your preferred fighting style. You can upload characters, via the memory stick, from the original game and use them here. They can continue to be leveled-up, but chances are your favorite character will be included in this roster anyway.
In the Free mode you can play as any character in any Dynasty that you want, as long as they’ve already been unlocked in the Story mode. The Story mode drags – it’s long and convoluted. The only excitement is seeing what the next character offers. A co-op mode makes the Story mode more enjoyable. Along with the Versus mode, you can play along with, or against, another friend with the ad-hoc wireless system. Even though there are plenty of enemies and detailed environments onscreen, the two-player mode does not show any signs of slowdown or command issues; everything runs smoothly.
Most of us are already used to the poor quality voice acting in Warriors games, but there are some improvements in this version. As corny as the dialogue can be at times, the actors are less stilted in their performance. The oriental ambient music is great, but when the adrenaline kicks in the dated and dreaded cheese-metal guitar takes over. Add repetitious sound effects to this mix and you’ll be experiencing sonic fatigue long before you get bored with the Story mode.
Warriors Orochi 2 is no better looking than its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good. It’s colorful and nicely detailed with large environments. The special moves such as the Musou and team attacks are pure eye candy. However, there’s no argument that the engine has reached its peak.
Seams are starting to show. If this franchise is to survive, it’s going to need a compete overhaul from tip to stern. The peasants can only be gouged so much before they revolt.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.2 Graphics
Great looking game, but no vast improvements have been made over the last version. 3.5 Control
Standard button-mashing control scheme. Kills your fingers with extended play. 3.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Improved voice acting. Repetitive music and sound effects. 3.3 Play Value
Classic button-mashing brawler. Challenging gameplay. Good variety of modes keeps it interesting, especially with another ad-hoc player. 3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.