Dynasty Warriors 9 - The Saga Evolves and Finally gets Better
Quick Glance - Dynasty Warriors 9
- Platform - PC (Reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
- Players – 1
- Achievements – Yes
- Steam Trading Cards - Yes
- Controller Support - Yes, Full
- Retail Price - $59.99
High Level Premise – Open world exploration of Historical China inspired by the Romance of the Three Kingdoms books where you somewhat singularly battle against hundreds of enemies on your own.
Graphics/Style – Anime Styling with the graphical love focused on the main characters and buildings.
Music/Soundtrack – Driving energetic music mixed with traditional Chinese musical instruments.
Story – You progress through the Romance of the Three Kingdoms books like every other Dynasty Warriors game. Basically warring factions fight for supremacy, honor, and sometimes love.
Replay-ability – 90 playable characters with varied fighting styles and weapons with which to play through, plus the open world adds an exploration element that hasn't been featured in the previous games.
Time Commitment – Actually a little easier to pick up and put down if your time is tight. You can simply explore or gather resources if your time is tight, or dive into a massive battle.
Value – High - This is the best Dynasty Warriors since 4 and the open world makes the game feel more open ended than previous games where you may have felt finished once you beat the story.
Favorite Element – The boss battles are more satisfying to play than the last few entries making it more addictive to seek out the named enemies across the battlefield.
Dynasty Warriors has been around for quite some time, and has famously churned out sequels that change very little year to year. Lately they took the one-versus-hundreds game play and applied it to other licenses like Hyrule Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes, and Berserk so you got some varied style and a new storyline to replace the recycled Romance of the Three Kingdoms books. Last time Dynasty Warriors 8 had a Risk style overworld map of control to fight over, and you had to manage your armies and resources to hold your lands while you try to squash out other factions. While I liked the game more than a few of the games before it, it still felt very much the same.
Here with Dynasty Warriors 9 they tightened up the elements we love and added new wrinkles to step up the variety. You don't jump from battle to battle unless you want to, and instead you can fish from the river, hunt wild game, gather herbs to make medicine, or craft items to strengthen your favorite weapon. While I have to admit none of these elements are very deep, they are a welcome break on occasion. The battle system made combos a bit more strategic and enjoyable and so the battles against other generals feel more skill based than button mashing.
The update does come with a few drawbacks. The addition of the open world doesn't feel fully polished, as many areas are sort of bland in design and the need to traverse these stretches can be boring until you unlock a fast travel way-point. You can't start the game with just any character as you unlock them as you progress, and the build-a-character features I enjoyed in 8 are gone. The pre-release PC version I played on had a few dialogue translation problems and even gave the wrong commands to follow in the tutorial sections that made it hard to complete until I went rogue and mashed buttons. I would imagine some of these issues will be fixed with patches as they seemed like quick fixes.
Dynasty Warriors is like a guilty pleasure of mine, I NEED to play one of these games every so often and this is my favorite new addition since the 4th game back on PS2. If you haven't sampled this type of game yet this is a decent place to start, and if you stepped away from the series and are itching for an excuse to come back this is your chance to enjoy the game with strong graphics and improved game play. If this model is well loved I can see it being even better the next time out making me already a little excited for Dynasty Warriors 10 which the last few sequels did not accomplish.