Warriors Orochi is what happens when you take the cast of Dynasty Warriors and pit them against mythical creatures, but does the new setting and otherworldly enemies shake things up much?
I’ve never played a Warriors Orochi title before, but I’ve played multiple Dynasty Warriors title so I was itching to experience the addicting hack and slash gameplay but with storybook monsters; sadly, it isn’t quite as different as I hoped that it would be.
I’ll begin with the story, which sees you play as many familiar faces as they travel through time to save fallen characters, so that they can better fight the new threat. This sounds crazy and fresh for the series, but rather than take advantage of the mythical settings, Koie Tecmo seemed to think it better to often go back and fight normal battles, against human enemies. Fortunately, it’s interesting to see your favourite officers get put into outlandish situations, and you’ll want to see what other crazy stuff happens next.
New characters are introduced, including the nine-tailed fox Kyubi no Kitsune (she’s cute, but plays as one of the primary antagonists), Kaguya who has the power of time travel, Susano’o with his overwhelming strength and many others. Considering how over the top Dynasty Warriors is, these characters fit perfectly in with the already established characters. Cameo characters such as Sterkenburg from the Atelier series, and Sophitia from the Soul Calibur series are playable.
If you enjoy playing the Dynasty Warriors games, then you’ll enjoy playing Warriors Orochi 3. It’s slick, fluid and fast-paced, and you’ll still be mowing through hundreds and hundreds of enemies per stage; including some big enemies such as the Hydra. Combos are strung together with square and triangle, with circle set aside to perform special attacks. You can also perform team attacks with the right shoulder button. This is as addicting as you’d expect it to be!
You’ll be running from one end of the map to the other, carrying out objectives which love watching you run or riding a horse around, as you fight to take down certain enemies or opposing forces captains. It’s more or less exactly the same sort of thing you’d expect in Dynasty Warriors 8 but with otherworldly monsters.
Along with the campaign and Free Mode, you can play Musou Battlefields; in this, you’ll be able to edit stages as well as what officers say, how they look and more, to create your own unique battlefield. Then there’s Duel Mode, which is a 3 verses 3 Musou Officer battle with special rules and strategy cards with unique abilities; some reduce the opponent’s attack, some increase your attack. This can be played online and offline.
Lastly there’s Gauntlet Mode, new to Ultimate, and in this you’ll have a 5 character team as you navigate a dungeon. You can’t save until you’ve completed a level, and if you lose a character, you can carry on without them or wait for them to resurrect. Enemies become stronger when in the foggy miasma, but there are also dragon portals that give you buffs. As part of a team, you swipe down on the rear touchscreen to switch who you play as, but this can become intrusive due to the natural resting position of your hands.
And of course, there’e extra story content and side content that expands on the story, as well as on characters that don’t play a huge role in the campaign. The Tale of the Latter Day focuses on a new villain who’s plotting to have the heroes fight amongst themselves, whilst Tale of the Former Day is a prequel to the very first game and sheds light on Orochi.
I was provided a Vita copy, which is a shame as the game looks absolutely gorgeous on PS4 whereas this doesn’t show on Vita. Vita has some beautiful looking games, but Warriors Orochi 3 becomes quite bland and empty when wandering the environments, and characters look rather pixelated. The scale of the games are definitely a better fit on consoles, as the ports never seem to reach the brilliant pacing and Vita-specific scale that Dynasty Warriors NEXT achieved.
Koie Tecmo has ensured that the game runs smoothly however, even with the amount of hectic action occurring on-screen at any given time, which is quite an impressive feat. The frame-rate is steady and there’s minimal slowdown, even during the explosive special attacks you’ll be unleashing often. The character design is interesting, with the significant mythical characters brimming with life and capturing the original essence of the myths; it’s clear that Omega Force have done their homework.
Sadly, there’s no English voice-over in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, but fortunately the Japanese voice-overs are great; just be prepared to read plenty of text in-between missions. I assume the series isn’t big enough to warrant a dub, but I found Dynasty Warriors 8 to have a good dub so this is a huge shame. The music is good company during battles, although you may not find yourself humming any tunes outside of gameplay; they’ll push you forward to destroy enemy upon enemy though.
Reviewing a Koie Tecmo game is difficult, because they’re owners of brilliant IP’s and make terrific games, but sadly they focus on re-releasing older titles with a handful of new content, or create spin-offs that don’t branch very far from the main series it’s based on. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is packed with content, but it doesn’t provide a new experience outside of the Dynasty Warriors games, unless differently textured enemies is a game-changer for you.
I hope to see Koie Tecmo deliver new ideas now that the new consoles are out and have a solid install base, rather than rehashing older content, as I feel that some of their series’ are starting to wear thin from lack of creativity and Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is the perfect example. Koie Tecmo and Omega Force are capable of so much more, so I hope they don’t get too comfortable re-releasing titles with content that could’ve been DLC, especially when those titles are still easy to come by in their original forms, and usually on the same platform. Can’t go wrong with the sheer amount of content on the go, though!
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