|System: Xbox 360, PS3*|
|Dev: Omega Force|
|Pub: Tecmo Koei|
|Release: July 16, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol Reference, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence|
by Angelo M. D’Argenio
You know, I’ve done a lot of Dynasty Warriors reviews for Cheat Code Central, and they always seem to start the exact same way. I talk about how Dynasty Warriors is a formula that never really changes and how the development team already knows their fanbase. It’s rare that any Dynasty Warriors title ever deviates from the formula of “mash attack to kill all the peons,” and Dynasty Warriors 8 is no exception. So there’s not much to say about this title other than to talk about what the game has to offer to gamers who are already longtime fans of the series. Frankly, Dynasty Warriors isn’t going to convert any disbelievers, and I think Tecmo Koei is OK with that.
The roster is probably the thing Dynasty Warriors fans will care about the most in Dynasty Warriors 8. You can choose from over 70 classic warriors, and unlike Dynasty Warriors 7, each of these characters has completely different move sets. Yes, “clone” warriors have all been overhauled, making each one unique (if still somewhat derivative). Characters’ fighting styles can then be customized even further depending on what weapons that they equip. The weapon switching from Dynasty Warriors 7 returns in this game, allowing you to equip two different weapons to each character, though each character also has a favored EX weapon that grants them certain bonuses.
Each character now has three Musou attacks to choose from: two ground Musous and an air Musou. There is also a brand-new Rampage gauge, which is your standard action-game berserk meter. Fill it up and you’ll get a boost to your strength and speed and gain access to a special ultimate Musou, which usually does tons of damage and clears out a huge swath of soldiers around you.
A new weapon-affinity system has been added into the game, which is a simple rock-paper-scissors-type system that makes certain weapons more powerful against other weapon types. What’s really interesting, however, is that this system doesn’t just give you basic damage bonuses or buffs. It actually introduces entirely new moves and gameplay mechanics into your normal bouts of mashing on the attack button until everyone around you dies.
For example, if you are on the losing side of an affinity matchup, you’ll find that you’ll do much less damage and you can’t even get the opponent into a stun lock. This makes it extremely hard to chip away at the opponent’s life bar. However, you also get the ability to Switch Counter your opponent, which is activated by switching your weapon at the exact time an opponent hits you. This gives you temporary boosts and switches you, hopefully, to a weapon that is a better matchup against the opponent.
On the flip side, being on the winning side of an affinity matchup will allow you to use the brand-new Storm Rush maneuver. Essentially, attacking an enemy with a superior weapon will slowly chip away at a gauge with each blow. When the gauge empties, your opponent becomes locked in stun and you let loose on them with an insane barrage of blows that deals massive damage.
This new weapon-affinity system adds a little bit more depth to an otherwise linear game. If you desire, you can spend a lot of time tweaking your weapons and gear to make the most of the system in every match. However, you can just as easily equip weapons with the best stats and simply button mash your way through levels as well. General enemy A.I. isn’t really all that intelligent, and the difficulty in the game is mostly determined by the amount of damage that your opponents do. So the combat in Dynasty Warriors 8 is really just as deep as you want to make it.
The stages in Dynasty Warriors 8 are, unfortunately, kind of bland. While the graphics are detailed enough, the areas you traverse feel copied from one another. Once again, levels don’t really have any feeling of depth. They simply feel like wide-open areas connected to each other by a series of corridors. You never really feel as if the map is coming into play during your missions. Defeating an enemy general or escorting an officer to safety is exactly the same no matter what map it is on.