Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Review

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“Show me what you’ve got!”

Dynasty Warriors 8 is a historical tactical action game that follows the stories of the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin through the actions of historical military and political figures of the time as they fight to gain control over the Three Kingdoms of China.

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Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends

Price: £30 – £40 / $40 – $60 (Amazon)

Developer: Omega Force

Publisher: Koei

Platforms: PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Xbox 360, PC

Koei’s tactical action game isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but it isn’t stepping backwards either. There seems to so much more that the game could do, but it seems content to stay relatively the same as previous Dynasty Warrior games, just with slight improvements.

“Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends for PlayStation 3 is a stand-alone expansion of the highly successful Dynasty Warriors 8. It will include new episodes that add to the story of the three kingdoms the game revolves around, focusing on the exploits of the mightiest of warriors, Lu Bu. Additionally DW8XL will see the introduction of 5 new characters, giving players the option to choose between 82 warriors in total.”

Campaign

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The campaign starts without explaining what is happening, or even showing you the controls. This is almost expected from players, assuming that they have been following the whole series, which I haven’t. Things don’t get easier from there as characters are introduced at light-speed, and it leaves the player feeling rushed and somewhat confused.

The special edition, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends features 5 different story modes, an offline/online free mode, an Ambition mode where players can develop a camp to “look to welcome the Emperor to your side”, a challenge mode, a gallery and an encyclopedia. It has plenty to do but the content feels like it can only appeal to a select few gamers, as in this golden age of videogames it seems like shooters, RPG’s, action adventure and even indie games are stealing the spotlight away from fighting games like Dynasty Warriors.

How does it look?

Both the graphics and gameplay are an odd mix of fantastic and terrible on the Playstation 3 version. For instance Lu Bu looks bad-ass and is well detailed to look like a seasoned war-lord, however slicing through your 2000th mundane Chinese soldier soon loses its excitement; this is thankfully helped with the inclusion of battlefield tasks and boss fights.

While some character models look totally unique some seem to be reused – a lot, though this could be due to the games’ ‘how many enemies can I fit onto one screen’ style. Also some appear to be a little over the top, especially female characters that seem to be dressed quite inappropriately for combat. For instance a mini skirt and high heels might not be the best choice for dueling on a snowy battlefield, but hey what do I know.

Some of the best old, but not much new

In terms of story it’s no Metal Gear, the appeal of the game comes from fast paced slash and dash action, and not from why you are actually doing it. I haven’t played any of the games since Dynasty Warriors 3 on PlayStation 2, and I can remember only really liking it because of the carnage you could create on the battlefield with another player.

The game suffers significantly from little annoyances that grow stronger as you play on. These little irritating things like the music score playing over and over (the same guitar riffs on a loop will eventually drive you insane), characters repeating themselves, and saying things like: “My role is to see the hidden truth that lies beneath each battle” just seem a little bit silly to me and decrease the overall experience of the game, unless you turn the music off and skip most of the dialogue.

It feels a bit lazy and not as innovative as you would want a new release to be; saying that though Dynasty Warriors 8 retains the franchises’ core gameplay that has been present since the first few games in the series. So innovation may not be a major priority for Koei.

Although the notable changes I can see are: a large range of playable ‘officers’ and stories, a new Ambition mode, a diverse character move set, online play and improvements to the graphics, plus lots of added content like a gallery and an encyclopedia.

Dynasty Warriors 8 Extreme Legends Overall

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It’s a love it or hate it kind of game and yet I find myself stuck in the middle. I love the feeling of leading troops into battle, and this is something that the game does best, but at the same time I really don’t like some of the gameplay choices.

I was disappointed most because I can remember all those years back playing DW3 versus mode with my brother, seeing whose armies were strongest and fighting it out. We lost hours doing that, and it’s a shame that it hasn’t been included in the game again; it’s the biggest let-down for me.

Pros:

  • Epic, un-realistic combat
  • Total mayhem, always something to do
  • Great for button-mashers
  • Two player action
  • Loads of weapons (though some seem ridiculous – even for DW)
  • Keeps its old school Dynasty Warriors feel, very familiar if you’ve played previous games
  • Including Lu Bu was a nice touch
  • Fun to play!

Cons:

  • Over-used voice actions, particularly after completing move combos and special moves
  • Over-used music
  • Graphics – we’ve seen them before (better on PS4)
  • The writing could be better
  • Menu and gameplay confusing at times
  • Cutscenes should be savoured as there’s really not that many
  • It’s hard to keep up with all the names used in the campaign!

If you are fan of the series then I would suggest picking it up, if not then you may want to consider leaving this one, at least until the price goes down a bit.

 Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends is available on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, PC and PS Vita.

 

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