The eighth installment of the Dynasty Warriors series is among us. Are there reasons to get excited with this new musou or is it just more of the same that we see every year?
As usual in the main Dynasty Warriors saga, the game follows the events of the historical novel “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” written by Luo Guanzhong. This book focuses on the events that end up creating the three most important states at the end of the Han Dynasty: Cao Wei, Shu Han and Eastern Wu.
As in all previous titles, we can use much of the officers and leaders of the four factions that were imposed during this time (Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin) to take control of all China. As a new addition in this release, each of these factions has two paths to follow:
- The historical path: where the missions and events are more faithful to the novel.
- The hypothetical path: where the story changes after completing all optional objectives in both the main and secondary missions.
Although the game inherited much of the graphic appearance of Dynasty Warriors 7, this installment fortunately has better textures and effects for the main characters and their attacks. Such improvements do not sacrifice performance and, at first glance, one might even say that there are not many slowdowns as before (even in the midst of a battle with a large number of units). Apart from these changes, the interface, much of the environment and enemy troops remain without a radical change, which may not affect the fans of the series at this point, but should be considered for upcoming titles.
Like Dynasty Warriors 7, this installment has only English voices, creating some awkward moments during cutscenes and some videos where the lipsync obviously fails for the length of the dialogue or traditional expressions they use. KOEI has already confirmed that there will be a free downloadable content with Japanese voices in the future but there is still no exact date for this unfortunately. The celebrations and one liners from the characters during combat remain the same, but one ends up getting used to them. The music continues to be fast and suitable for fighting, and we can hear some remixes of classic tracks of Dynasty Warriors 3, 5, 6 and 7 for the hypothetical battles.
Besides the Story Mode already mentioned, DW8 has two more game modes:
- Free Mode: where we can play in scenarios that are not in the story and find weapons, level up our characters and recruit new members to use.
- Ambition Mode: where the player is tasked with creating a base called “Tongquetai Tower” and develop it to finally receive the visit of Emperor Xian. The three key factors for this development are materials (obtained by Skirmish Battles), fame (Unconventional Battles) and allies (Great Battles).
Note that this last mode ends up being one of the best additions, because if we finish a mission and accept another without returning to our base, the difficulty and rewards are increased, creating a new challenge with the opportunity to find better weapons and increase number of characters that we will have at our disposal.
The gameplay, like all musou, still focuses on mindless action and keep improving our characters, but there are small changes that can be noticed if you’re a fan of this saga. Although most of these are to fight with the inclusion of Storm Rush, Switch Counter or Rage Awakening (which serve to attack faster, make a counterattack and do more damage respectively), we see that the enemies give higher priority to our allies (which can often hinder protection missions), we can now mount animals almost automatically, use weapons with different affinities and effects, etc.
As the previous ones, Dynasty Warriors 8 is still a game for few but, with the improvements made and the added game modes, we can say that this installment is among the best in the series.
The review code used was provided by KOEI and the game is available since July 16th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (Retail / Digital).