The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Koei’s Dynasty Warrior’s series has begun to make me feel like I did
during enchilada day in college. A little over a decade ago, the series
started off fresh with expansive battles set before a rich historical
backdrop. However, we’ve been served the same reheated menu year after
year, and if I have to ingest another Dynasty Warriors title I feel like
I might puke.
Like its predecessors, Dynasty Warriors is based off the legendary
14th century novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Players take control
of one of four warring factions in their conquest of ancient China.
However, since the game’s opening movie begins with a young warrior
strapping a baby to his chest before kicking a horse in the face and
then surfing down a waterfall, you have to assume that some artistic
license was taken. Honestly, I probably would have enjoyed the game more
if it had embraced this kind of zany vibe, but most of the story is
told through a cast of stiff character models who deliver pages of
overwritten dialogue in awkward cartoon voices. Somehow, Dynasty
Warriors 7 still comes across like it’s trying to take itself seriously.
In previous Dynasty Warriors titles, players would pick a character
and follow them through the game’s events. DW 7’s story mode has you
bouncing from character to character as the plot rambles on. I hardly
noticed this change since I never felt invested in any of my characters
in previous DW titles, but I did appreciate the game’s new weapon
system. Characters no longer have individualized attacks. Instead, each
weapon comes with its own combo list, and since you can equip your
generals with any weapon in the game, you can customize the fighting
style for each character. Of course, each character also has an EX
weapon type that unlocks more powerful moves, so you’ll probably find
yourself gravitating towards those predetermined weapons anyway. Seals
can also be attached to each weapon to upgrade your character's running
speed or attack strength. But because every sword wielder attacks with
the same combo patterns, characters are not as distinct as they have
been in previous titles.
While Dynasty Warrior’s character management is technically different
from previous entries in the series, the game is functionally identical
in almost every way. Nine out of every ten enemies you “fight” will do
little more than circle around you ominously while you attack their
commanding officer over and over again with the same combo. Omega Force
has tried to vary the game’s missions, but whether you’re sneaking up
behind an enemy encampment, dodging falling boulders on your way up a
mountain path, or escorting hapless NPCs, every mission eventually boils
down to the same thing: tearing through thousands of Chinese soldiers
like some kind of human blender.
The Dynasty Warriors franchise is an impressive dynasty in and of
itself. Fans who’ve stuck with the series since its inception argue its
merits, but I’ve grown tired of the repetitive action, enemies, and
environments (I swear that I’ve seen some of this game’s levels while
playing a couple of its prequels). Dynasty Warriors may have once
provided a novel experience, but like metrosexuality and Jennifer
Aniston’s hair, things that fascinated us a decade ago eventually grow
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