Game Review: Dynasty Warriors 7 (PS3)
Release: March 29th 2011
Genre: Hack & Slash
Developer: Tecmo Koei
Available Platforms: PS3, Xbox360
ESRB Rating: Teen
Dynasty Warriors is a famous and long standing series of hack & slash video games, now in it’s tenth year of circulation, and with that tenth year we see the release of yet another Dynasty Warriors with Dynasty Warriors 7.
Have you ever wanted to single handily be the driving force behind an entire army? Dreamed of wading through literally thousands of enemy combatants? I think it’s safe to say that many of us (at least of the male persuasion) have thought of it at one time or another. Being one of the best. Being a hero. Since the launch of the PS2 in North American Koei has been letting players fulfill that fantasy, first with the release of Dynasty Warriors 2 (The first game was really only a fighting simulator) and continues on with that legacy with Dynasty Warriors 7.
The formula of all Dynasty Warriors games are simple and straightforward. In Story mode you pick a faction to play under, in 7 you have the choice Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin, though I would strongly suggest playing through any of the first noted factions before playing as Jin, just to have a better understanding of the story.
Once your faction is chosen, it is then your duty to lead the various officers, the hero’s, of that faction to victory on the field of battle. While the objectives may differ slightly per battle, the basic formula remains the same. Rack up an unholy body count and defeat enemy officers to turn the tide of battle.
This is the series selling point and while premise may be simple it doesn’t make it any less fun.
7 has seen a series of improvements, such as a much needed graphics upgrade, new form of officer experience and weapon buying/crafting. There are some new minor mechanics of note, such as weapon switch, which allows the player to change weapons while continuing to string together weapon combination’s, which is a nice touch.
Co-op is once again present, available for both the PSN and local play, allowing you to take a friend into the battle.
A new game mode has also been added in the form of Conquest mode, where players get to pick battles to partake in from a map made of hexagonal squares, with certain rewards being offered for victory and allowing new sections of the map to open up as well. This mode is refreshing change of pace, as the mode it replaced was a free roaming mode with no rewards and no real incentive to partake in unless out of boredom.
The simple fun of partaking in massive battles in ancient China is the staple of the series and while this may be all some players need, other will have difficulty if they desire more then just button mashing combat.
Dynasty Warriors has always been a love it or hate it experience since the start, and 7 does nothing to change this fact. While this game has seen improvements, they aren’t vast or all that impressive if you do not enjoy the core formula. There is nothing to make players who didn’t like 2-6 want to come back and give 7 a try. The primary purpose I found for weapon switch was to air juggle enemy officers I deemed to be to dangerous to stand toe to toe with. Along that same note some enemy officers border simply on being unfair. Lu Bu for example has always been an extremely dangerous opponent in the series and it is almost suicide to engage in straight one on one combat, as many of his combo’s keep you from being able to attack or defend and some attacks are capable of taking ninety percent of your total life force, leaving you extremely venerable to even the weakest enemy, which may I remind you, there are hundreds of at any given time. If you play 7 you will suffer cheap deaths from time to time, it’s a simple fact. The bad news is that if you die you have to start the entire battle over from the beginning, and some of these battles can take the better part of an hour to get to the final officer, only to have him hand you your ass on silver platter, and thus start from the beginning with a new strategy for the end. While these issues may not be deal breakers they do make for some sharp edges that some players will sadly simply decide to avoid.
It’s the simple premise and some of the difficulty that will keep the Dynasty Warriors series from being able to be enjoyed by all gamers, and while they may be making improvements its safe to say that after ten years Koei intends to stick with the known formula, which will continue to make the series a love-hate experience. If you love button mashing combat, having the largest amounts of enemies filling the screen as possible and have an interest in martial arts and ancient China then Dynasty Warriors is likely right up your alley.
If this doesn’t describe you then you may come away from this experience disappointed.
My final word of advice is that if you haven’t yet played Dynasty Warriors then you should give the series a shot, just don’t expect a game of the year experience either way.
+ Long story campaigns
+ Lots of officers
+ Massive battles
+ Conquest mode
– Cheap deaths
– No quick-save feature
Final Score: 7 out of 10