Can you have a dynasty in this day and age?
The newest installment of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Dynasty Warriors 9, is taking the series in a semi-different direction from the past entries but it isn’t losing the key feel of a beat-em-up button masher. I was lucky enough to receive a review code from the friendly folks at Koei Tecmo so let’s get right into the massive group beatings cause there is a lot to cover!
At the start of the game, you’ll be able to start with the story mode that allows you to play as one of five “tribes” but you will only have access to three of them at the very start. You’ll have to progress in the adventure to unlock other characters so you’ll actually have someone to play as in the other “tribes”/missions. You’ll be thrown right into the middle of the Yellow Turban fiasco at the start of the game so come prepared! Also at the start of the game, you’ll be asked if you want to play the tutorial and I suggest you play it because Dynasty Warriors 9 is trying different things with the controls than in the past.
The tutorial is something you can skip but newcomers to the series should play it! Anyway back to the new things, the game is implementing different attack styles in the form of the State Combo system. What this means is you’ll have access to Trigger attacks, Flow attacks, and Finish attacks that will each do different amounts of damage to the groups of enemies you’ll have to deal with. These attacks are very easy to execute but will take time to master. One thing I don’t like about the attack system is the stamina bar that will drain over time but this is one way the game keeps the player from just mashing buttons all the time. You’ll have to strategize plans to attack and keep the stamina up so you can attack and I found the finishing move was a good way to do just that. The finishing move is exactly what it sounds like, a move that is designed to finish your opponent. When the time comes, an icon will flash over your enemy and you’ll have to execute it to eliminate your foe! There is also flow attacks that will change based on what the enemy does as well as reactive attacks that will change based on the situation at hand.
You also have special attacks that will be key for victory as well as gems that can be crafted to add skills to your weapons. Think of these skills as weapon abilities that can add such things as ice damage to your weaponry. These can also add special effects to your attacks such as stunning the enemy for example. However, to craft these items, you’ll need scrolls that will tell you how to well, craft the items in question and the ways to find them is to complete missions. There are missions you can go, either side quest or story mode that will move the main story along but you don’t have to do anything in a firm set order. Dynasty Warriors 9 allows for an open world feel that the player can travel pretty much anywhere on the map they see fit.
You’ll also have the ability to go on treasure hunting events/missions and go fishing as well. The treasure missions could be dangerous because you could run into dangerous wildlife near the treasure site so be careful. The blacksmith will become your best friend if you want to get really good at crafting because that’s where you perform your crafting skill. This is just one of the many ways the game has an RPG feel to it, such as leveling up and gaining Upgrade Points to better yourself and your abilities. The controls are simplistic but will take some time to master but practice makes perfect.
There is so much opportunity to fight and practice your controls that you should be able to pick it up rather quickly. Since I consider the game to still be a button masher even with the changes made, you don’t need to be too prolific with the controls to win battles. However, it was tough at times to see where you were supposed to go on the map because of small icons as well as those icons overlapping at times. When you were out in the over world, you could easily see arrows on the ground pointing you in the right direction as well as being able to set which directive you wanted to follow. If you did that, you would follow the arrows to that area, similar to how the mission menu system worked in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
It felt like side missions were too spaced out at times where you would finish one and then have to travel to the complete other side of the map to get to your next objective as on the flip side, there would be times where you would just happen upon groups of enemy soldiers. The drop down map and the little map in the corner weren’t great and I found myself zooming in on the little map for no reason at times by pushing the wrong button but the open world, over world icons and screen were fine. You could easily pick up items/materials just by walking over them and with how many things you craft, the more things you pick up, the more things you can create. One issue I did have on the over world screen is when you were in a an important fight and you needed to attack someone specific and the yellow story mission icon blended in with the red enemy soldiers health bars. The story mission icon should have been a much bolder/brighter color to keep it visible to the player!
There is English dialogue as an option in the game and if you have read most of my reviews, I’m glad when the game gives the players the option to have English as a dialogue option. However, the dialogue in Dynasty Warriors 9 has some of the worst voice acting I’ve heard in a video game in quite some time and it doesn’t stop with the acting. The spoken dialogue doesn’t match the spoken words and sometimes, the words aren’t even said at all. If the acting was going to be sub-par and the product wasn’t going to be first rate, I would have rather not had it in the game at all! It’s these reasons that I’m giving Dynasty Warriors 9 for the PlayStation 4 an 8/10, I would like to thank Koei Tecmo/Omega Force for the review code.