Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce Review


It’s time to look at a Dynasty Warriors spinoff. The concept behind this is pretty interesting. What if you took the usual Dynasty Warriors setting and then added a bunch of supernatural elements to it. I’m talking full dragons, super forms flight, energy blasts, etc. It’s definitely going in a different direction here. You’ve also got a few different crossover missions you can tackle and even a whole new section after the credits. Unfortunately a game is only as good as its gameplay and that’s where this one faltered. It was ultimately unable to live up to its true potential.

The story follows the same plot as the rest of the Dynasty Warrior games. You are tasked with uniting the kingdom under your rule using whatever tactics you need too in order to do this. I went with the classic Team Wu of course since those guys are always pretty neat. From there you’re off to the races. The game has 5 main chapters which each tend to have around 7-10 levels in them. After the credits you unlock a 6th chapter which which I would assume probably has another 5-7 levels in it but hard to say. Looks like you need to beat at least some of the request levels before you can tackle the story one. Not sure I’m a fan of that concept but it applies to the other chapters as well so the game is consistent.

As mentioned, my main gripe here is with the gameplay. Gone are the classic beat em up controls where you would go around and take down whole armies. This one plays out more like a mobile title as you have to take down enemies in small locations. Once you beat all of the enemies in one square then you can go into another room. Mind you, you don’t have to always beat everyone in the room. It depends on the mission and sometimes you can bypass rooms all together. I’m not sure if this would be a different genre or still just called your usual beat em up. There’s a lot more platforming in this game to be sure though as you have to jump around a lot and dodge the water. No swimming in this game.

The enemies are all pretty difficult including the minions. They’ll readily interrupt any kind of combo you try to use. The minions in level 1 have a higher A.I. than the minions in the final levels of the main games. So that’s pretty impressive but when you couple it with how unrefined the gameplay is then what you get is a scenario where you’re never actually able to cut loose. Everything you try to do is interrupted by the opponent without missing a beat. It makes the combat not very satisfying at all. You don’t even have a parry system or anything like that to stop them. You just have to eat the damage or waste a super. Unlike the main games the minions will never drop items either so restoring health just isn’t done unless you can find the rare vases scattered around.

In the end I had to resort to some cheese tactics. I bought the best bow money could buy and loaded it up with poison orbs. Poison deals a percentage of the opponent’s health which is incredibly helpful for bosses since it effectively bypasses health. It’s also good for staying afar since going up close is just asking to be completely wrecked. I was able to buy a bow with 268 attack power at the end and that was able to get me through the end. I did need to stock up on 30 potions and 10 Max Ether type items in order to do it though. You’ll be going to the shop quite a lot to make it through.

Strikeforce has a full hub world which is different from the others as well. You are able to manage a bunch of shops in the city and you level them up after waiting a while. Time passes in the game whenever you finish a level so the quickest way to get time to go by is to start a level and immediately surrender. Rinse and repeat as you watch the levels go up. Once a level is maxed out you have to use some items to upgrade the store further. Try to have the stores to at least level 3 so you can get some good items to buy. For the weapon shop, the higher level you can get it the better. I think you can’t get the 268 bow until it’s at level 4 so keep that in mind. There’s a lot to watch out for.

If you opt to fight with a sword instead of cheesing through with an arrow then just know that you’re going to need a lot of level ups. Earning levels isn’t the easiest thing in the world but by the end of the game I was nearly at level 50 which is the max so I guess it wasn’t so bad. The first level is the easiest one to grind. Just make sure you defeat 1000 enemies there and then clear the level. If you do it on hard mode then you’ll get 1000 EXP each time you do it. Not a bad deal right? Still, I can’t really picture beating some of these guys using a sword. In particular the various dragons and monsters you fight seem like they’d be a nightmare or the levels where you have 4 bosses running at you at once. Divide and conquer is always your absolute best strategy as long as you have some items with you.

The graphics are pretty good although they’re definitely a cut under the main games. It also feels a bit lazy at times because they actually reuse animations from the older Dynasty Warrior game for the cutscenes. They actually play the same cutscene after each chapter except for the final one where we get a new one but no voice acting from the characters. For that you have to wait until the after credits scene which is admittedly pretty hype. Now that’s a good way to really get the blood pumping I’d say. The soundtrack is pretty good. Maybe not too memorable but it gets the job done.

In terms of content this game will last you a while. The story mode took me around 10 hours and I didn’t do the extra chapter at the end. Trying to beat that game should add quite a bit more time into the playthrough and same for maxing out all of the shops. Achieving 100% completion status in this game definitely would not be very easy. Still, that means it’ll be around for a while at least and the going rate is pretty low. I’m confident they would be able to improve upon this one quite a lot if we ever got a sequel.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce is definitely one of the weaker ones in the series. It really takes out a lot of the positive elements from the series. It’s a spinoff though so I suppose that’s the best place to test out these new gimmicks. They didn’t work out but this was the right way to do it as opposed to risking it on a main installment. If you want to see a very different kind of Warriors game then it may be worth a shot. The gameplay just isn’t all that fun to me which is unfortunate as a beat em up but it can be satisfying to finally get the feel of the bow and start launching some counter offensives of your own. I also like the whole superhero aspect they went for here with all the powers being thrown around.

Overall 6/10

Dynasty Warriors 6 Review


It’s time to look at the next instalment in the Dynasty Warriors series. It’s definitely been pretty fun playing through all of the installments lately. From Dynasty Warriors 2 to now the series has definitely changed quite a bit. This one does feel a bit more modern than the last few even if the gap isn’t particularly wide. The story is more or less the same as the last ones so you’re really in this for the hype gameplay. Does it deliver?

When you boot the game up you’ll have a lot of different modes to choose from but I usually like to dive straight into Musou. This is effectively the game’s story mode after all so you definitely can’t go wrong there. The story consists of 6 levels where you have to defeat scores of enemies in order to proceed. It’s also a rather difficult mode and I highly recommend going into Free Mode and leveling up a bit if you want to really be ready for action here. Otherwise you can definitely expect to take quite a few losses in the meantime. The enemies have no mercy so if they catch you that’s it.

Often times you also have to account for the fact that you’re not the only guy on the squad. It doesn’t matter if you beat 700 enemies if your captain’s about to go down. One key thing to remember is that if he goes down you go down. There is really no I in team here because at the end of the day it’s all about the camp. If your camp is captured before the enemy one then that’s going to be game over. Some levels have different win conditions so I highly recommend checking into them as soon as you start each level. Knowing what you have to do in order to win and what you should do to make sure you don’t lose are absolutely critical.

The gameplay is the same as always so you should be able to pick it up pretty quickly. It’s a 3D Beat Em Up where you have to take down all of the enemies in your way until you get to the enemy stronghold. You have your standard attacks as well as power moves and super attacks. I recommend keeping your super attack as a combo breaker of sorts. The enemies deal a ton of damage so if they start to hit you I’d say to very quickly use your super. It’ll also give you an opportunity to run.

One thing about the game is that it’s very easy to drop you guard. You just took down 300 enemies in a row so why should this one be any different right? Well, the trickiest thing about the enemies is that all it takes is one solid combo to take you down for the count. Especially a boss. Part of why I lost in one level was because I underestimated the fact that the boss could take 75% of my HP with a single combo. It’s also pretty demoralizing to lose in this game because of how long the levels are. You instinctively know that you just lost a ton or progress.

It’s why I recommend playing the levels as intended. It’s real tempting to bypass everyone and run straight to the stronghold. In most levels it doesn’t even stop you from doing that. The problem is that it takes several minutes to run all that way and then you have around 10 or more bosses running at you at once. If you mess up your combo or leave an opening even for a second then you’ll be going down. You can’t really afford to do something like this until you’re at a very high level.

That’s where Free Mode comes in. Additionally this game has a more robust level system than most of the other games. You can actually learn new skills as you level up and upgrade your stats through a skill tree. I definitely was not expecting anything quite like that here so it was a pretty welcome surprise. I can’t say enough how much I like level ups. Having trouble on a level? Just go back and beat some more enemies. The gameplay is fun as I mentioned so it’s not like this is a problem. Additionally I like when you can see the fruits of your labor and the level ups make a good difference here. It’s like night and day. I actually took down 1200 enemies in one of the levels after grinding up my level so that felt pretty good.

In terms of graphics the game holds up well. The more realistic setting does stifle the game in terms of how out there the graphics can get but we get some nice action scenes. The intro cinematic was a little shorter than usual though or it felt that way. The soundtrack is pretty nice. I always like the opening main menu riff that tends to play. It’s always a rock theme in this series which starts you off right.

The length of the game is pretty reasonable as well. The 6 level campaign should last you a few hours I’d say and then you can multiply that by all of the characters who have a campaign. Additionally you can try to complete the campaign on more difficult settings as you go through the game. Then you’ve got the whole level up system and a ton of bonus content so there’s no end to it here. This game will last you for as long as you want to enjoy it.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn’t hold back on any of its punches. It throws you right into the action and it’s all handled pretty well. You really feel like you’re on some kind of grand adventure the whole time. I would like them to take more liberties with the story at some point but as long as the gameplay is this good I don’t see Dynast Warriors ever faltering. The fundamentals are just too good and there’s a lot of content for the price you pay. It’s a steal!

Overall 7/10

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Review


It’s time to look at another Dynasty Warriors game. It hasn’t been so long since I beat the last main title so now it’s time for a spinoff. I’ve owned the Gundam game for a very long time and did complete two of the Arcade modes a while back. I never actually reviewed it though so I went in and did another one for the review. It definitely still holds up as an excellent game and there’s a world of difference to me compared to the mainline Dynasty Warriors games. Even the gameplay itself just feels a lot better which I’m not sure is because of the character models or for Gundam they had a higher budget.

So there are two different story modes for the characters. One is the classic story which is based on events from the TV show. Then you have the original story which is the crossover epic. The crossover story involves a planet that is heading towards Earth. If it lands that will naturally result in the destruction of both planets so Amuro is ready to put a stop to this. Char has arrived and is asking for help. Can Amuro really trust Char to help him save the world or is this all an elaborate double cross? Either way the stakes are high and so Amuro really doesn’t have time to worry about this. At the end of the day he has a world to save.

The story is pretty basic outside of the main premise. You see all of the characters from the other series but we don’t have any big interactions with them or any of that. I haven’t seen the Gundam shows yet but you do at least get the general feel of their personalities. It’s sort of like a tribute to the fans but I would have liked some more bantering. Part of the fun with crossover games like Marvel vs Capcom is seeing these little interactions/potshots at each other. It’s hard to say who my favorite Gundam character is at the moment but I did like Heero here. He was all about attacking and attacking until the enemy goes down which is a pretty good plan if you ask me. You can’t win by playing defense so he made some really powerful points here. All the characters look pretty fun as expected though.

The gameplay as I’ve already hinted at here is a classic 3D Beat em Up. The idea is to take over portions of the map to weaken the opposing army. After a while their general will come out and the goal is to defeat him. I recommend taking over as many parts of the map as possible, but you do want to be careful not to overextend yourself. In Co-Op this becomes pretty easy because you can split up and each take over half of the map. When you’re on your own you just have to remember that a lot of your allies are fairly weak and will be destroyed pretty quick. Fortunately you don’t typically lose the mission on account of that. If someone specific has to live the game will tell you in the victory conditions page. I recommend looking at this page before every mission. It’s always good to know exactly how the fight must go to win or lose so you know who to prioritize.

At its core I think that’s why I really love beat em up games. On the surface it looks like you’re just an overpowered fighter taking down armies, but when you drill in to the specifics it’s really about learning how to strategize. Unless you lower the difficulty to easy you’re not going to have time to help everyone. In these games you’re highly encouraged to follow the plan of attack. If you deviate then you’ll probably lose a lot of allies. A lot of time you have to keep zipping around which will even mean retreating at times because the bosses take quite a bit of time to defeat. If you make the wrong choice you may end up losing. Your character is a lot more formidable than in Dynasty Warriors which helps you deal more damage to the army, but even here I did have to retreat and regroup a few times. I also appreciated the fact that the A.I. here is a lot better than in Dynasty Warriors. They actually assist you in a meaningful way which I was happy about.

As for the graphics, they are definitely high end as you would expect. The robots all look good and the explosions are definitely pretty intense as well. The level designs are also really great to look at. I particularly like how they incorporated space into this as one level in particular actually has to fighting in the vast unknown. That’s certainly not something you would see in a normal Dynasty Warriors game for sure. There are also some full cinematics that play through the game which all look very good. The various Gundam designs are all pretty unique and it’s fun to see them engaging in battle. The soundtrack is fairly large and works well. Admittedly you won’t hear it a whole lot as you’re blasting through everyone but it’s there all the same. The themes are suitably intense for the big moments and will give you the energy needed to clear these levels.

For replay value the game has quite a lot of it. Each story mode should take you a little over 2 hours. You can multiply that X2 for the characters who have both stories and then there are around 20 characters or so which makes for a lot of levels. You can also work on maxing out every character to improve their stats and gathering the items. All of this will take quite some time so you really won’t be running out of content anytime soon. There’s simply way too much to do and it’s part of what makes this game the complete package. The company clearly put quite a lot of time and effort into this one which keeps on holding it up as one of the best beat em ups.

Overall, If you like a good beat em up game then you’ll love this title. The gameplay is very smooth and there is a whole lot of content to absorb here. Each of the character attacks are different enough where you’ll see the benefit of switching things up. I can definitely say that the sequels are higher on my list although right now they seem a bit overpriced so I’ll hold off on that for a bit. Playing as a Gundam is just a lot of fun because of how many attack options they have as well as the stage backgrounds. It all feels very high tech and sci-fi which has really held up over the years.

Overall 9/10

Dynasty Warriors 4 Review


Time to take a look at the next Dynasty Warriors entry. I wouldn’t really say that it’s very different from 3 in this case. The graphics are about the same and the story is pretty similar too. In terms of changes from entry to entry I feel like the gap between 3 and 4 is probably one of the smallest that I’ve seen. It’s just as fun as the last game of course, but if you swapped them out it would be pretty hard to tell so I feel like this one came out really quickly after the last one in terms of development time.

So once again I went with the Wu faction to save China and unite everyone. The gameplay is completely unchanged from the last one with the core mechanics. It does seem like you know more of your super moves without leveling up this time which is handy. I also do like that you just have one weapon this time so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to equip it or something like that. That was one thing that could be tricky in 2 because it was hard to always be remembering something like that. This way you can focus on just getting into the action. You still have items to equip though and I recommend doing that since their extra stat boosts do help.

The levels try to have a little more variety in this game with new objectives. One of these is the “Find the Seal” level but the idea was better than the execution. This one took me almost the entire stage time not because of enemies but because the seal wouldn’t show up in any of the boxes. I broke over 80 and scoured the stage over and over but it just wouldn’t show up. It wasn’t really fun, but just tedious. Fortunately that level only showed up once and the rest were more standard. I much prefer just having to take down a bunch of enemies.

I gotta say that the final level really went all in though. It seemed like no matter which faction I tried to help I was left alone pretty early on. It was pretty thrilling in its own way though because the meter was all the way in the red meaning I had no support. I had to slowly encroach on their territory from all sides. There were many times where I thought I wasn’t going to make it, but I ultimately was able to survive. I got to test my skills under duress and they weren’t lacking. The computer A.I. in this game is pretty impressive. They don’t let you split them up very easily and even utilize traps of their own. You don’t want to underestimate these guys.

Even on the Easy difficulty this game could be pretty crazy. The final level is my proof of this but even the other levels would be difficult at times too. This is definitely not quite like any other Easy mode that I have experienced. This one is determined to give you a challenge under any level and I can definitely respect that. There is no easy walk in the park to be found here. My main gameplay advice here is to pick your battles carefully. Just because you can go into enemy territory and take all of the fighters down doesn’t mean that you should. If you leave your allies alone then they may end up getting crushed by the forces that remain. It may feel heroic to invade the enemy base but that’s why it’s so risky. Additionally in this game the enemy generals are a lot more likely to just gang up on you which makes them a lot more difficult to handle. At least one of them will probably block or parry your blow and then you’re in a bad spot.

There are also 1 on 1 duels in this game and I recommend turning them down. The enemies often have cheesy combos that take a lot of damage out of you and they also have access to potions. There’s no real reason to fight them except that your army will lose morale if you turn them down. On the flip side if you accept and lose then you get a game over so I really don’t think that the risk is worth the reward. It seems a little lopsided but maybe that’s just me.

On the graphical front the game looks good. As I mentioned it is basically the same as the last one. I liked 3’s graphics so I enjoyed 4’s as well. The soundtrack continues to bring us a lot of different rock themes so that was a lot of fun. These games are really super impressive with the tracks and I hope to see that continue in the newer games. Music is a big part of the gameplay experience after all and if I could ask for any enhancement it would just be to make the music a little louder during the actual gameplay. Amidst the sword swinging and yelling I really can’t hear the music and it may even stop during the levels. You really hear it a lot during the menus.

It goes without saying that the game has a lot of replay value. The main campaign will probably last you a few hours and then after that you can try beating the game with the other teams. Additionally you can max out all of the characters and get the items. It will take an extremely long amount of time to do all of that so you can really just keep playing the game until you get to the point where you are tired of the gameplay. When you couple that with the fact that the game goes for a very low price at this point then you’ve definitely got yourself quite the deal here.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 4 is a fun beat em up game as with the last one. If you have enjoyed any of the previous DW games then you will definitely like this one. There’s really nothing to dislike here and everything to enjoy. It’s got a ton of content and solid gameplay so you can’t ask for much more. Right now I’m working on Dynasty Warriors 5 and that will end my little marathon. It’s pretty impressive how many installments this series has gone which really shows what a solid fanbase it has. The games have earned it with the solid gameplay over the years.

Overall 7/10

Dynasty Warriors 3 Review


It’s time to look at one of the original Dynasty Warrior games. I played DN 2 a while back, but it’s certainly been a while since I was able to get back into the franchise so this was nostalgic for sure. I enjoy beat em up games a lot because it’s fun to just mow down armies and also attack strategically. The actual stories of the games can be a bit on the dull side for me though. Sengoku Basara the anime did this era the most justice in my opinion by making it really compelling. Still, the gameplay is enough to keep things going and the title does its best by adding in some fun cutscenes during the game.

So I picked one of the warriors from Wu to play with here. The goal is to unite China so I quickly got on that. The campaign is around 7 levels long. The levels can range from 30-90 minutes with how much time you have to complete it. One of them left me with only about 2 minutes left which was pretty stressful. These levels really don’t mess around and while 90 minutes may sound like a whole lot of time you can easily start getting close to that. You can play the levels aggressively and chase the commanders or you can play the long game and whittle away at the enemy forces. You’ve got options here and that’s part of the fun of the genre. How you play is really up to you.

This is one of the few series where Normal mode can actually be incredibly difficult. I did that one for the first few levels and it felt like hard mode. Not only were the enemy soldiers incredibly powerful but the timer was really not on your side. I would cut it extremely close until I lowered the settings. It is pretty exhilarating if you have time though. One big difference here compared to a game like Fire Emblem Heroes is that you aren’t an invincible superhero here to save the day. You can’t just mow through enemies too quickly and in the meantime your teammates are probably getting wrecked. As a result you do need a plan and usually that means stopping all of the sub generals and then going for the big ones. I also recommend going for the enemy camps since if you don’t blow those up early they can keep calling for backup infinitely. That’s a really good way for your side to lose morale so you have to do whatever you can to put a stop to this.

Another strategy is to go for the enemy boss right off the bat. Some levels prevent this by not having him show up til later on but in others you can literally just run up to him if you’re feeling brave. The downside to this naturally is that you will be outnumbered. It can take you around 2-3 minutes of nonstop running to get there so there’s no way backup will arrive in time and the rest of the enemy generals will follow you. When this works it is quite satisfying though so I recommend trying it out at least once. You need to make sure you really understand the gameplay to pull this off though.

This is a 3D beat em up title so you are naturally going to be fighting a lot. You’ve got your standard attack, power move, super attack, and block button. A really handy combo is 2 standard attacks into a power move which will stun the opponent and then you can do another attack. I recommend saving the super attack until the enemy lands a hit on you. It’s a guaranteed combo breaker and will let you get back on offense. Additionally if you are low on health and really need to get out of there then this is definitely your best option. There is always a pot with some healing items next to each camp so run there if you need too. You will definitely be doing quite a lot of running throughout the game.

If you’re low on health but don’t want to run away then just remember that your super attack meter auto charges once you’re close to dying. You can run around a bit to buy time and in a few seconds use another super attack. If you do this a lot then you should be able to survive even when low on health. Just be careful because the enemies may land a lucky shot here or there and one hit could finish you off pretty quickly.

The graphics here are definitely pretty solid. The game has a very retro PS2 feel to it and that’s in a good way. There are more cutscenes here than I remember in 2 which is nice because it makes the story feel a bit more grand. The soundtrack is quite excellent with a ton of rock themes everywhere. The series has always done a good job of getting that “cool” factor across which is important. The music pumps you up for the battles that lie ahead.

This game also has a ton of content. In general I think beat em up games always do a really good job of including a ton of content in their games. After beating a campaign you can always jump right into the thick of it with another character. Additionally you can replay old characters to strengthen your fighters and obtain some items to boost them as well. If you do play the story mode on higher difficulties it is almost mandatory that you do this or your character simply won’t be strong enough to do much of anything in the final levels. The level ups here make a huge difference in the long run.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 3 is a very fun game. While the story may not be super excited as it feels like you’re treading on familiar ground, the gameplay is as solid as ever. Beat em ups are just a fun genre to mess around in and back in the day I spent a lot of time doing just that in the Bleach PS3 game. Now I don’t stick around with games for nearly as long but if you have time then this is a solid title to pick up. I’m sure you would probably start with a newer title though and I definitely wouldn’t blame you there. I look forward to playing more of the new ones. At the time of this review I’m actually playing a newer installment in the series so a review for that will be showing up soon.

Overall 7/10