There are tons and tons of Warriors games and spinoffs and this one features the Legend of Zelda. Our Editor-in-Chief had never played on of these but knew what to expect. And it was spectacular.
Linkle is a PG-Rated Bayonetta
A while back, Nintendo announced a female version of Link from the Legend of Zelda games. Some were concerned about who or what she was supposed to be. It turned out she was a character in Hyrule Warriors and seems like she’s a charming little girl with DUAL WIELDING CROSSBOW SMGS.
Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition is yet another game seeing a big port from the WiiU to the Nintendo Switch. This counts as a new game because nobody owned a WiiU. Not you, not anyone else, nobody, and it’s a shame because, with titles like Bayonetta 2 and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, some interesting games are finally being discovered. Developed by Omega Force and Team Ninja under the supervision of Koei Tecmo, this game is a compilation title that takes all of the greatest characters from all of your favorite Legend of Zelda titles and contrives a reason for them to be together. You’ll fight hordes and hordes of enemies in the thousands and plow through your opposition under the gameplay hack and slash loop made famous by Dynasty Warriors. Now here’s the thing, I’ve enjoyed quite a lot of Zelda games, but never actually played any of the more POPULAR ones. I played a bit of the original NES version as a kid, then I played Link’s Awakening on GameBoy Color (which is the best Zelda fight me) along with Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons, then skipped all the other entries until Breath of the Wild. I’m not going to act like a Zelda fan, which is great, because I’m not and can play this game with a clean slate with minimal hype brought on by nostalgia.
I played almost 90% of the game on handheld mode and got quite a lot of frame drops compared to playing it docked, yet the novelty of the former mode keeps me playing on it, despite this drawback. This is a game that looks… not bad. Like, it can run on a PS3 with ease but there’s also nothing actually wrong with the graphics. For lack of a better word, the game looks like a game and all the art and well-designed characters really neatly kees the experience wholesome and fun without going out of its way to try and impress you. There weren’t any moments where I actively noticed something looking great, but at the same time I just can’t think of a single moment where I said “that texture looks bad” or “that shadow looks like a blob.”As a Warriors-like game, you’ll have dozens, sometimes possibly hundreds of enemies on screen all at once. One cannot expect a game requiring that much processing power to also look true to life. It’s simply graphics that fit and work, nothing else.
I gotta say, it really is one of those “excuse plot” kinds of stories. The story is delivered mainly in some expositionary dialogue and staring at a map at the beginning and end of every level. There’s also some story that happens on the field, but the big problem with that, and all Dynasty Warriors games, is that there is so much going on in the HUD at the same time. You have the map, popups for quests, and characters chatting in the bottom left corner. That right there is the biggest problem, there’s very little voice acting in this. This is troublesome because with so much going on, all you hear is a non-committal grunt from every character and have to quickly read what they say while still paying attention to what you’re doing. This game could have been better if there was simply more voice work put in. What is in the game for a plot is just okay. It’s just standard Zelda fare. Nothing unique going on, just a battle between good and evil.
Also, you wouldn’t believe this if I told you but there’s a character named Sheik and he turned out to be Princess Zelda in disguise, which is totally a move I never would have imagined.
The audio is rather muddy here, with the sound effects and music competing with each other in a “who can be the loudest” contest. As said before, the voice acting is barely present and would have really improved the experience had they just gotten some more talent on board. The OST is a good mix of the power metal of Dynasty Warriors and all of your favorite themes from several Zelda games. And a house track too. But overall, none of the tracks really popped out to me except for the house track, but that’s only because of my bias as an EDM fan. Really, it just comes down to some cheap SFX and lack of voices that keep this section from getting full credit.
Imagine the look on someone’s face who’s never played a Warriors game before. Imagine me as I discover the fast-paced action where you carve out enemies by the hundreds. Then I ran around on a battlefield capturing territories and facing boss characters. It was quite an experience that I now probably won’t get to have again, but now that I know what Warriors games are like, I am enamored. It is such a satisfying game to play, and while I initially felt like it was too easy, I soon realized this wasn’t the case. Strategy is a very important part of the game, and being able to kill swarms and swarms of baddies won’t get you very far if you don’t take care of your fellow soldiers. More often than not, they can become a liability, with you frequently having to do “all the work”. Important characters get in danger a lot, your other playable characters don’t do a lot unless you stop and tell them what they should be doing, your forts are always in peril, and miniboss characters will spawn in random areas of the map, putting you on a mad dash to cut them all down. It’s a great gameplay loop, and apparently, a good enough formula to house so many titles in its portfolio of spinoffs and adaptations.
Every time I picked this game up, I intended to put it down after a couple of battles. But five battles later, I’m hooked and can’t stop. The thrill of the battle will keep you coming back every single time, not the plot. It helps doubly that this version of the game comes with all the DLC, adding up to endless amounts of missions for you to tackle. Between the campaign, side quests, free mode, adventure mode, and a challenge moment, it’s well worth the cost for the amount of stuff you can do for days and days. Adventure mode, in particular, has you playing a sort of mini strategy game that includes battles that play out as you move your favorite fighter to square after square on a playing field resembling the older top-down titles of the series.
I’m not even the biggest Zelda fan, and I was thoroughly impressed with Hyrule Warriors. I came in ready for some extreme hackin’ slashin’ button mashin’ fun and got more than I ever could have expected. Consider this one a solid entry, and consider me sold on playing other titles. Just not Dynasty Warriors 9, that game is a travesty.
It seems number 9 doesn’t quite make a great dynasty.
One of the longest-running series in gaming, even spawning its own sub-genre of games, is back in the race. Dynasty Warriors 9 arrives to bring historical Chinese warfare to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo, Dynasty Warriors 9 released in America on February 13th, 2018. Boasting over 60 unique playable characters and a fully open world version of feudal China, the latest entry in the series looks to breathe new life by adding modern day gaming mechanics to its hack and slash formula. Does Dynasty Warriors 9 deliver a new experience that protects the fidelity of the series while encouraging new players to join the fun?
Dynasty Warriors has never been graphically impressive from a visual fidelity standpoint. However where it has always succeeded has been with rendering large amounts of content and assets on screen. Hundreds of warriors at a time, with a mini-map, flashing lights from attacks, horses, grass, fire, and so many other things all on screen at the same time. But sadly this time the fluidity was not there. Too often the movements felt choppy and frame rate issues seemed to be very prominent. There was also an incredible amount latency in button response time. A game very centered around button mashing needs to be on point with the control to screen time. Because of the new open world and lack of loading screens, the cutscenes even felt very weak. For this review the game was running on a launch day PS4 so it could be possible that some of these issues are addressed with the power of the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. Regardless, for a current generation console game Dynasty Warriors 9 is severely underwhelming in the graphics area.
It’s the feudal era of China’s great history. Or at least a theatrical version of it. The Dynasty Warriors series is based heavily on a novel titled “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” which tells the story of a three way war. After the Han Dynasty was horribly damaged by the Yellow Turban rebellion three different powerful men became leaders of their own kingdoms with their own visions for the future of China. The game gives the player to relive the history of each individual kingdoms as well as smaller factions that had major impacts on the outcomes of tide changing battles. If none of that was interesting stay far from this game. Otherwise, a very compelling story that challenges morality, belief, and strategy is brought to life in Dynasty Warriors that cannot be matched by any other historically based game. Because of its new open world design Dynasty Warriors 9 struggles to effectively deliver this story like past entries. By providing the player so much freedom, the way events play out is thrown for a complete loop and is ineffective at telling the rich story. In its heart Dynasty Warriors 9 wants to tell a great story, it just doesn’t know how with the new tools in its hands.
Major issue: certain dialogue will get interrupted with no way of replaying if the player steps away from the NPC speaking. The bigger problem is the distant is completely inconsistent. Sometimes the player can step almost a whole road away. Other times an accidental flick of the camera stick will instantly mute this potential new friend. Outside of that big problem, it’s business as usual. The voice acting is pretty great offering both English and Japanese audio options. As always some characters sound better in one language than the other, so it really becomes a player preference thing. Sound effects on the battlefield were amazing. The sound of horses galloping, troops’ battle cries as they entered the war, and the cool video game sounds of power up and special activations were all great. In full surround sound, it’s very easy to get immersed in the world through its well-placed sound design. Until the visuals do something stupid and remind you it’s just a game.
Anyone familiar with Dynasty Warriors and its long history will find a few new things laced in the same effective formula. The “Warriors Style” games are button mashing fast paced action packed games with good plot and interesting dynamics. Huge battles and seemingly endless enemies open the door to entry level gaming for novices while maintaining enough strategy to fulfill advanced players. Playing the game on normal let’s you feel almighty as you strike down soldiers with various combinations of the face buttons and right trigger. The new open-world format is the most damaging part of the game. By opening up the largest country on the planet and allowing the player to explore its vast content would be great for a game with slightly slower pacing. The focus of the Dynasty Warriors plot is to let the player relive epic battles and implore their own strategy to achieve victory. Dynasty Warriors 9’s open world add the depth of challenging batteries anywhere any way, but misses the beauty of experimenting in contained battles with reinforcement from a simulated real world. The revamped shops and crafting systems add an RPG that helps connect the player further to their favorite characters but the navigation feels clunky. Lots of menus plague this already overwhelmingly large game. Dynasty Warriors 9 is a great example of why all games don’t need to go and open the whole world for gamers.
Despite the sum of its flaws, Dynasty Warriors 9 still shines through as being a mindlessly fun game. Racking up outrageous body counts still feels just as rewarding and entertaining as it did when the series first converted from a fighting game. Traveling the open world of the warring era of great China is fun even though it lacks true purpose. Taking over enemy bases feels satisfying and employing real strategy to defeat officers at higher difficulty levels can be very stimulating. Because of the scale of the plot advancing battles hours can pass without realization so long as the graphics issues don’t intrude too often. And with a playable roster of over 60 unique characters with their own favorite weapons and play styles, the replay value of the game is ridiculously high. Completionist and trophy/achievement hunters will have a ball chasing all the various objectives, armors, items, and weapons available throughout the game. To reiterate, if the context and content are interesting this game will keep you hooked for a really long time.
Straying from its roots and exploring the possibilities of a new fan base by following the open world trend does more bad than good for Dynasty Warriors 9. Very quickly it becomes apparent that Dynasty Warriors 9 is suffering a major identity crisis. Longtime fans of the series will find it hard to enjoy the tactical battles they’ve grown used to. Newcomers with expectations of what an open world game should feel like will be underwhelmed by the large mostly empty world presented. The open world feels very cartoony I’m a very bad way very quickly. It was exciting to see a franchise with such a long history of being fundamentally the same venture out and try something new. Unfortunately, this didn’t work and Dynasty Warriors needs to stick to its roots.