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Review: Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper for Wii U

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Warriors Orochi 3 HyperWarriors Orochi 3 Hyper
Price: $59.99
System(s): Nintendo Wii U
Release Date: November 18, 2012
Publisher (Developer): TECMO KOEI America Corp. (KOEI)
ESRB Rating: Teen for Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence

Back when I was writing my Wii U Countdown articles, I mentioned that I really kind of wanted Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, but couldn’t figure out why. I enjoyed Samurai Warriors Chronicles on the 3DS, but didn’t at all get into Samurai Warriors 3 on the Wii. Too much of the same thing with nothing to really tie it together.

As such, I picked up Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper a bit late, but I’m glad I didn’t pass it up. This game is so over-the-top in story and action, and it makes such obvious use of the Wii U Gamepad, that it has become my favorite launch title. I haven’t played all of them, but I don’t see how anything available at the present moment could top it. If you think that’s insane, I’ll let you talk to my kids.

Eight Heads vs. 130+ Colorfully Dressed Warriors

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper drops you directly into a battle against the gigantic, eight headed hydra. After hacking your way through countless demon soldiers to reach it, you find that your attacks on it have no effect. You’re doomed to death, until a female warrior named Kaguya arrives to magically save you. She has the ability to travel through time, and she has a plan; you will go back to earlier battles to recruit an army strong enough to defeat the hydra.

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper

And there’s your game. You fight dozens of battles, each of which will unlock characters that you can add to your army. It’s then up to you to equip these warriors with powerful weapons and bonuses and provide them the experience necessary to level them up to the point where they can take down the eight headed beast.

You Can Handle it, but Can the Wii U?

A great deal of the fun with Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is discovering new characters and learning how to best use them in combat. That’s good, because there are over 130 characters to unlock. The game combines characters mostly from TECMO KOEI’s Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors franchises, but dips into some other titles as well, such Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive. No worries if you’ve played none of these games; you don’t need to know who any of these people are, but fans will be pleased to see them here. (Is it too much to ask for a Fire Emblem / Warriors crossover?)

The great thing about having so many characters to unlock is that the game remains fresh throughout. There’s always something new to discover and another bizarre plot element to unravel, which helps you get through the mostly similar combat in each level. The locations vary a bit, stretching from feudal Japan to modern day New York city, but the action is the same through them all. And because the new characters come with such low stats, you’ll need to replay early levels in order to get them up to speed. Yet somehow Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper never gets bogged down by this, and you’ll be amazed by how often you’ll switch your favorite character before you reach the end. Increasing the bonds between the characters (through combat, conversations and tea parties / banquets) opens up bonus missions and increases their power together on the battlefield.

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper

I mostly play this game with my kids (the violence is not at all gory and can’t be taken seriously), who selected their warriors based on clothing. I went with combat ability. Warriors can focus on power, speed, technique and wonder, and learning to best utilize them all will be key to victory. There are so many soldiers to kill in this game, punctuated by the more powerful officers, that you have to master the combat system to get through. Basic attacks will last you a while, but without the ability to strategically time the more powerful Musou attacks and the awesome True Triple Attack, the second half of the game will be pointless to even attempt.

Which brings me to my complaint with the game’s documentation. The developers seem to think we’ve all played a Warriors game before and know how to activate a lot of the more powerful attacks, let alone how to access/use any other features of the game. The included instruction manual is completely useless, so expect to spend some time online seeking answers.

Also, although the graphics in Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper are fantastic and really drive home the Wii U’s capabilities, they also accent its limitations. Things look great, but the system has trouble handling so many characters on the screen at one time. As such, there are often frame rate issues, and enemy soldiers will pop in and out of view with frequency. It’s unfortunate, but never really annoying.

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper

Although Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper comes with features such as the ability to create/share your own battle scenarios (in a limited way) and to fight through a duel mode using cards acquired throughout the game, my favorite is easily the local multiplayer option which can be set up so one player uses the GamePad and its screen while the second player uses a Wii Classic Controller Pro or a Wii U Pro Controller and the TV screen. I’ve always hated split screen, and this solves the issue wonderfully (although the terrain map on the GamePad screen is pretty much indecipherable). Online co-op is also available and easy to access, but it can be difficult to find people with whom to play.

Fun for the Whole Orochi

I didn’t expect to get into Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper as much as I did, but it easily makes up for the bland experiences I’ve had with previous entries in the series. I also didn’t expect it to become a family favorite, but playing through a level or two became a nightly ritual in the Hiner household. Granted, it was a bit uncomfortable when that Rachel woman first appeared in her dominatrix outfit, but her alternate costume is business attire, so we can switch her to that and the kids can just pretend she’s killing a thousand or so demon soldiers on her way to the office, like their dad does. My son couldn’t care less, anyway, as he’s more about ninjas and giant gourds at this point than he is about cleavage.

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper

I’d enjoy this game as much on my own, however, so you’ll be fine if you have no one playing on the couch next to you. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is big, over-the-top fun that provides a wonderfully fulfilling gaming experience, and it’s mostly a great way to show off the high def graphics of your new Wii U system. Don’t pass it up like I almost did…I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Review: Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper for Wii U

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