Bring Bandages for your Thumbs!
There comes a time in every entertainment franchise where the question “What the heck?” comes into play. Sometimes it has to do with the repeat of the same old formula. Other times it means that the storyline has been played out so much that no one wants to rescue the princess, protect the village, or relive the code and heritage of Dynasty or Samurai Warrior. When a series reaches any of these aforementioned points, developers look for a way to breathe new life into them. KOEI has done what they thought best by combining two of their fabled series into one game. However, was there really any point to doing this? Well it must be in the eye of the beholder, so read on and decide for yourself.
The basic storyline is that the warriors we have come to know and love have been ripped from their timelines and now face a new foe, Orochi, a serpent king with a nasty penance for having allies with serpent-inspired names, one of the things I disliked about Warriors Orochi. Instead of being a little more creative about the enemies you encounter, you are assaulted throughout the game by hulking enemies with names like Diamondback, Copperhead, and, of course, Python. On the plus side, there are four different storylines for you to follow – Shu, Mei, Wu, and Nobunaga. Each storyline has its rather than there own missions that lead them ultimately to Orochi. Let me tell you when you finally do reach this time and space bending tyrant, you will not be prepared. This says a lot considering the gameplay itself is the truest sense of button masher.
While anyone will be able to pick up this title and enjoy the simplicity of charging into the hordes of enemies and repeatedly jabbing their finger onto the controller, there’s more to it than just that. Instead of charging, hacking, and being victorious, this title is than an excuse to try to break your thumb. Obviously, you have your special attacks to calculate for maximum damage, but the interesting thing here is the strategic RPG essence built into the game. You start with two additional characters to switch to on the fly. Throughout your quest, you will run into other characters that will join you in your attempt to take down the Serpent King. Each of course will have their own style to bring to the combat, and fans will recognize them from previous titles. You will also earn growth points on missions, and these points can be distributed amongst your team members or can be used to fuse weapons together until you have an all-powerful weapon to take down your enemies. While it might be extremely tempting to fuse several weapons and add attributes to your weapons, it will be best to have the growth points go to your characters since you have the ability to achieve level 99 with each of your characters. Additionally, this will also aid you in taking on Orochi. This brings me to another factor of the game that I grossly disliked. Throughout the entire storyline, no matter whose storyline or difficulty you are playing, Orochi himself will be the most insane villain you will face in the game. Normally, this would not be a problem. After all, too often in recent years the final boss is so lackluster that it loses something with the game. Here, however, it is not leveled gameplay. Make them all equally and gradually difficult or keep them on the same playing field, don’t go from easy kills to “Dear Lord this is insane!”
Graphically, Warriors Orochi is a bit of a let down in many areas. With opening CGI that looks phenomenal, you would expect the in-game graphics to look very close to the beauty that opens the title. Regrettably, this is not the case. In several instances, the character models don’t spring from the screen the way they should. I mean they tend to blend in too much with the countless drones you fight. The environments suffer a little dose of bland as you trek along the vast maps; you will actually wonder to yourself if you had already been in this area. However, these are a few things that fans of both series have not been bothered by since the beginning, therefore nothing real major to complain about. The sound of the game is along the same lines as well. The soundtrack leans more to a techno metal mix instead of utilizing the opportunity to capture epic tunes for the game to fit the time period. Voice acting makes no advances past the usual dry dribble that has always been present in the games. Again, another area that I wish we could see grow.
With all the complaints a new player to the franchise could find, this game feels more like a dedication piece to all the fans of both series. Does this mean that new players may not appreciate the title or enjoy it not entirely? The appeal of these games is the simplicity, the old “my thumb is numb from playing” titles. There’s no reason whatsoever to think you would dislike this installment, especially if you enjoy these types of games. However, I have to say that if you are debating this title, just remember in a market where most games cost 60 bucks, it is nice to see a title available for less than the industry standard. For this reason alone you should look into picking the title up. The other reason for you to look into the title is for the simplistic destroying of countless soldiers and hours of thumb numbing fun.