Dynasty Warriors 8 Review


It’s time for another Dynasty Warriors experience. It’s definitely a step down from the last one which is unfortunate but it’s still a great game. For some reason they just stripped out most of the voice acting and story that made the 7th game so good. Perhaps fans felt that the story was too expansive and overshadowed the actual gameplay. Maybe there were time constraints. I don’t know, but it’s definitely noticeable when playing the games back to back. For once I changed sides over to Wei this time just so I could get more of a fresh experience this time around.

So you’re playing the same story as usual as you try to unite the country. Most of the key battles are the same as always but it’s interesting playing as the side that is often treated as the “bad guys” of the story. Of course each faction sees each other as the enemy so it’s hard to really say who the true heroes are. That being said, I’ve always been partial to the fire group which is why I would side with Wu. The story has around 14 battles and after completing them you can unlock some what if stories based on if you completed all of the objectives along the way. If not then you’ve still got free mode and a bunch of other options to work with as well.

The gameplay is largely the same as in 7. It’s not quite as crisp but it’s hard to say exactly why that is. I think there may be a slight time lag in switching weapons or something. It’s hard to quantify but otherwise this is still one of the cleanest beat em ups I’ve played. It’s still very smooth and every hit is pretty satisfying. I actually took out 1200 opponents in one level this time which is now a new record for me. I’m not sure if I’ll ever top that because that number is just too crazy to think about. My favorite character was one of the new power types since you can use an axe and it just shreds opponents.

One thing that’s a little different here are the command grab supers. Before now your super attack would always be some kind of massive blow that dealt a lot of damage to everyone. Now you have more personal supers which target one enemy but do a ton of damage. You could effectively one shot even whole bosses using this technique. That was always a blast but it can be hard to effectively aim at the guy you want. There’s also a new mechanic where you somehow trigger a mini animation where you start swiping at a lot of enemies. I never got exactly how I would do this but I was always glad to see it because the damage was massive and even does more than your super move. You really can’t go wrong there.

As with the last game I also like the way they managed the horseback riding. It’s so much smoother than in the old games and makes navigating the level a lot more convenient. It’s hard to imagine going back to the days of having to run everywhere. Now that feels a lot more tedious in comparison. You can’t even compare the two speeds and it’s also handy for tracking down opponents who are trying to make a break for it. Now you just jump on the horse and you’re all set for action. A lot of quality of life upgrades like that have stuck since the last game which is great.

As always the graphics and soundtrack are on point. All of the super attacks and combo moves look incredibly flashy and high-end. Then you’ve got the solid soundtrack which the series is known for. There are a ton of great rock themes to enjoy here and they fit in quite well as you take down all the armies that try to oppose you. You won’t particularly remember any of them but the fast beat is really the important element here and the game definitely delivers on that.

There’s just a lot of content to enjoy here. You can play as all 3 of the usual factions and then you also have an extra group. I’m wondering what they do or how they factor in. Should make for a pretty fresh take. After you complete all of the story modes you can work on gathering all of the PS3 trophies or playing free mode and maxing everyone out. There’s a lot of replay value here and the game goes for pretty cheap nowadays. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth here.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 8 is a great game. In some respects it can feel a bit lazy though. I don’t see why they had to get rid of the voice acting. It’s part of what made the last game so ahead of its time. Going back to text boxes just feels like it’s a pretty big step back even if we did get some cutscenes still. It’s definitely not quite on the level of 7 but it’s still great so I recommend checking it out. The series has definitely come a long way since the olden days. It’s also pretty cool to know that I’m finally almost caught up with the series. One more game and I’ll finally be at the end.

Overall 8/10

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 5 Review


It’s time to take a look at another Dynasty Warriors game. With this title out of the way I have now finished playing through all of the installments that I own. It’s been a pretty fun ride to be sure. This one definitely has the biggest change between entries in the series. It’s really like playing an entire new game which is cool. I definitely like all of the changes made here and he game still gets quite difficult by the end of its run. It’s certainly not a game to underestimate.

The basic plot of the game seems to be the same as all of the other ones. Your goal is to unite China under the same flag as the army you are fighting for. Once you do that, then you will have restored honor and balance to the kingdom. I went with Wu as always. The army’s armor always looked pretty cool and it was nostalgic to play as the same guy from the third game. From there I just went on to clear the campaign which was certainly a lot quicker than the last two games. There are only 5 levels here compared to the usual 7-8 you would have expected. Couple that with the game’s less difficult nature and it was a breeze.

I’d heard about this before but the difficulty in 5 is definitely a lot lower than in the previous two games. You really just mow the enemies down and they don’t fight back quite as much. I would say that the whole game was a cakewalk except that the final level was actually very difficult and felt like one of the installments from the earlier titles. It took me a lot of attempts to clear that one. I did my best to try and complete it the “normal” way but my army would lose morale way too quickly so it would never work out. Finally I just had to try and run straight up to the main villain and then I was able to clear it. This certainly took a good amount of effort.

Most likely the reason for the spike was because my level just wasn’t high enough. Due in part to how easily I would complete the other levels, I hadn’t needed to fight nearly as well as I should have. If I had been a higher level then I’d be beating enemies a lot quicker and naturally that would make a difference with the army morale. That wasn’t how things went down though but it does add to the replay value of the game. You can easily beat the game in under 3 hours if you blast through. However, after that you can also work on getting all of the other characters leveled up and completing their stories as well. In this game each characters gets their own story so that is definitely a lot of stories to run through. It’s definitely not something that will be an easy task nor will it be one that you can do quickly.

The graphics definitely look very good here. You’ve got a lot of little improvements like each enemy having a health bar and also their status not vanishing. In the old games you could easily lose track of a general among the mob because the title would flicker in and out. In this game it stays put the whole time which is appreciated. Characters load up a lot quicker and in general it all just looks quite good. Then you have the soundtrack which has a lot of classic rock themes like the last two. I’m still pretty surprised in general that the games have such a great soundtrack but I’m certainly not going to complain.

The gameplay in Dynasty Warriors 5 plays it straight this time around. You don’t have any missions to find a missing box or anything like that. All of the missions are simply about taking down a boss and unlike previous games they never lock the main villain away. You can run up to him in any of the levels and just test your skills. It won’t be super easy to do so as there are a lot of minions in the way, but 5 certainly makes it possible. I imagine that experienced DW fans would be able to easily get in there and take down the boss. It’s ultimately a strategy that will bite you in the end since your level will stay low but if you’re just planning to quickly beat a campaign then it makes sense. If you do this then I recommend the paralyze combo. It’s two week hits and then a power shot. It trigger a 5-7 hit combo with guaranteed stun. It’s really hard to think of any attack option that is superior to this. Spam it as often as you like. As always make sure to keep your final smash on hand until someone attacks you to instantly combo-break the opposing hit.

If you get a horse then I recommend keeping him around. On Easy mode none of the minions can do anything about him so just jump off when you make it to the boss. The horse won’t be going anywhere either so once you’re done you saddle up and move. The humans run a lot slower than the horses and these levels are massive so I definitely recommend keeping him around. In general it is just so handy to have your own horse and they can be rare to find. Another way to get one is to lure your ally who has a horse into a big battle and once the enemies knock him off you grab the horse and run. I hope in one of the future games you are given the ability to tell your ally to leave the horse. It’s a small feature but one that would be very handy.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 5 is about as solid as the last two. If anything I would say that it is even better than them thanks to the graphics improving quite a lot and the gameplay feels smoother. The opening cutscene for example is pretty incredible. 5 feels way more polished than the last two and you would have expected that the game would have come out a lot later than it did. It’ll be interesting to see how 6 tries to stop 5. It definitely won’t be easy but the series seems like it’s on an upwards trend so I won’t say that I’d be surprised either. If Dynasty Warriors wants to keep improving I expect that it will be able to do so. If you like beat em ups then you definitely ought to give this one a try.

Overall 8/10

Dynasty Warriors 5 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Total Play Time 30m 41s
Total KO’s 395
Total Points 8543

Stage Stats

Stage 1

KO’s 61
Total Points 1409
Clear Time 2m 46s

Stage 2

KO’s 26
Total Points 1501
Clear Time 3m 9s

Stage 3

KO’s 78
Total Points 1615
Clear Time 4m 25s

Stage 4

KO’s 138
Total Points 1797
Clear Time 7m 7s

Stage 5

KO’s 92
Total Points 2221
Clear Time 13m 12s

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