by Chris Priestman
reviewed on X360
Against Your Wishes
It has been 11 years since Dynasty Warriors 2 was released, and many have asked what actual progress the series has made since then. That question has quite understandably become a bit of a joke amongst many members of the gaming community. However, the Dynasty Warriors series is still going strong despite the copious amount of criticism against it. Even though the last entry into the series was on the current gen of consoles, it was still considered to be living in the last gen and was arguably one of the worst in the series.
Omega Force now return with an attempt at redemption as they state that Dynasty Warriors 7 has seen much more attention in development. They claim many improvements have been made to the addictive hack‘n’slash formula they have served up over and over again. Fans were hoping for the ultimate Dynasty Warriors experience and, to a point, that has been delivered. However, the real question is whether enough has been done to interest people outside of the existing fan base.
One of the strongest aspects of the Dynasty Warriors series outside of the gameplay (which has since become old) is the story. Up until now the story that derives from the ancient Chinese epic, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, has merely been a referential point; its events and characters were realised but the actual story itself simply existed in the background. All of this has changed in Dynasty Warriors 7 and it is surprising how much difference is made by having an engaging multi-threaded story that is entirely true to the novel. Now with four kingdoms instead of just the usual three, the whole novel, and thus the history of ancient China’s reunification, is covered. Most impressive are the cinematics between battles, which manage to flesh out some of the most important characters by getting inside their heads and providing much deeper backgrounds and motivations.
Unfortunately, some things have not changed much at all despite the graphics seeing a significant update: the textures and some animations. These problems affect the cinematics the most as it can be quite distracting to see an ugly texture pop up in the middle of the dialogue. However, for the fans this change is utterly remarkable and it is possible that the more engaging story may even be enough to lure back those who have grown tired of the series.
Having a strong backing for the gameplay also gives each battle more purpose. This is helped along by the forced playable character for each stage in the Story Mode. Although this could be seen as a negative, it actually makes the story and game feel more fluid and genuine. The strongest battles are those that have you play through a certain section as one character, to then switch to another warrior after the first character's requirements in battle have been met. It is all presented very well with cutscenes and conversations in battle and really manages to add that extra something to the game that it has been missing. To put it shortly, the story mode excels this time around and makes the game feel much more rounded out both on and off the battlefield.
Story has been vastly improved like never before, mission objectives provide good variety, lots of replayability
Textures and animations are still last-gen, core gameplay is still repetitive