I’ve served eight generations of Dynasty Warriors games. Each one has been a melodic button mashing sensation that’s easy to lose the greater part of a week to. I was lucky enough to meet Akihiro Suzuki and it was an absolute pleasure. Dynasty Warriors 8 is by far the best iteration since Dynasty Warriors 4 or even the introduction of the Empire off-shoots.
For those of you who are not fully in the know about the Dynasty Warriors series you might be a bit confused. It is partially based on the unification of China and the book “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. Obviously some liberties have been taken, but only a few, after all we have seen a great deal of Asian movies with flying characters. It must be something in the water. This also isn’t actually the 8th game in the series, either. In fact there has actually been about 20. This title specifically is actually called Dynasty Warriors 7 in some parts of Asia.
The number of times you can blissfully swing away at the hundreds of soldiers in pursuit of the prized special endings is overwhelming.
Much like any other Dynasty Warriors game the story remains the same. You choose one of the kingdoms and continue through the story towards uniting China. It’s simple, precise, and beautiful. There is so much more to DW8 than any of its predecessors. Not only do you start from the earliest stages — the Yellow Turban Rebellion — you see the game straight to the final conclusion and last blood. There is even a little cherry on top with the addition of alternate timelines which are unlocked by completing specific objectives in the middle of missions. The number of times you can blissfully swing away at the hundreds of soldiers in pursuit of the prized special endings is overwhelming. Dynasty Warriors 8 also sticks far closer to the history of the series than any other.
Ambition mode is new and has superseded Conquest mode from Dynasty Warriors 7. In this new mode the player is presented with a hub which levels up as they acquire fame and allies, and allows upgrades to buildings that appear over time/after conditions are met, by scavenging materials from the battlefield. Although the mode is not quite as extensive as Conquest mode you are able to chose between missions that provide more fame, materials, or allies upon completion and by completing several in a row you can gain multiplier boosts to whatever you have unlocked. It’s a great way to pass the time and a marvelous way to level up your characters.
With every new Dynasty Warriors game there are a great deal of changes to look forward to. Whether it be a fancy new suit of armour or a change in weapon, there is usually something to get you excited — unless you too shed a tear when they gave Meng Hou a pillar instead of his big badass gloves. Thankfully I haven’t stumbled across anything I outright object to yet. In fact I love all the new changes, most notably Gan Ning’s new weapon and slight tweaks. There are even nine new characters tossed into the fray; my favourite being Zhang Chunhau. There is such a great deal of choice that you might just get lost in it, especially when you need to try every one to satisfy your button mashing madness.
There is something new to find in nearly every facet of Dynasty Warriors 8. There is also the character affinity system — think rock paper scissors but with Heaven, Man, and Earth attributes being added to a weapon to fight others, and the introduction of a third Musou attack for every character.
Once again I seem to be buffing up on my Chinese history, seeking out all my movies about the subject and praying that I don’t have to wait so long for the next Dynasty Warriors installment. I am in love with Dynasty Warriors 8. It is the closest it has ever seen to perfection. However there is a lack of anything different from the rest of the series, and, what’s more, there seem to be a good few bugs that can cause it to crash at higher levels of play. It’s a great game for a button masher, and an intricate game for those who want to complete a whole level without dropping a combo. It pains me to say this, as in my heart I want to play it until my fingers bleed, but there are too many niggling issues that hold it back.