Another year, another addition to the Dynasty Warriors series. Publisher Tecmo Koei will be retelling the ancient Chinese tale Romance of the Three Kingdoms for the seventh time later this year with their new title, Dynasty Warriors 8. I got my hands on the English PlayStation 3 demo at MCM London to see if this installation in the series could bring anything new to the table.
Despite my jabs at Tecmo Koei and developer Omega Force, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Dynasty Warriors games in the past and was definitely curious as to how Dynasty Warriors 8 was getting along. However, it became clear in the level select screen of the demo that Tecmo Koei might have pushed it a bit too far this time around as the one and only available selection was the Yellow Turban Rebellion. This initial chapter in Romance of the Three Kingdoms has appeared countless times in several Dynasty Warriors games; it almost seemed like a cruel joke to make me play it again. Even so, I gave Dynasty Warriors 8 the benefit of the doubt and started the demo.
Dynasty Warriors 8 = Dynasty Warriors 7.5
The stage opens with a cringe-worthy in-game cutscene in which several familiar Dynasty Warriors faces appear and talk about bringing order to the chaos and forcibly stamping the rebellion in the name of peace, you know, the same cheesy dialogue Dynasty Warriors players have heard a thousand times before. And don’t worry cheese fans, all your favourite cheesy voice acting is back in full force.
This cutscene is particularly bad though as it showcases some of the sloppiest graphics you’ll see this late in the current console generation. It’s no secret that the far from perfect engine from Dynasty Warriors 7 is being reused and tweaked in Dynasty Warriors 8, but those tweaks don’t show improvements graphically. We’ve got the same cardboard cutout men and women clumsily swinging their arms about, we’ve got the same muddy textures and pop-in and almost every curved line in sight is rife with jagged edges. I appreciate that it’s a work-in-progress demo, but the cutscene didn’t help get me in the mood for beating up hoards of soldiers.
It’s gets better once the stage actually starts. I’ve played Dynasty Warriors 7 briefly, but most of my experience with the series comes from time spent playing Dynasty Warriors 6. This didn’t seem to matter as the control scheme is exactly identical. Square for light combos, triangle for heavy, chargeable attacks, X for jump and circle for a special “musuo” attack. Horses can still be called and mounted just like before and horses can still hilariously jump six feet in the air.
Dynasty Warrior 8: Same old, same old
There are some new additions to the tried and test formula that showed up in the Dynasty Warriors 8 demo. For example, the current weapon can be thrown at enemies and replaced with a random one for about fifteen seconds before the original weapon is available again. Also, a more powerful state can be attained if players have a high enough “affinity” to other commanding officers. Successfully fighting alongside fellow officers increases affinity until the powered up state, known as “Storm Rush”, is activated. But are these new mechanics enough to spice up Dynasty Warriors 8? The answer is no.
Dynasty Warriors 8, as many of you probably suspect, offers the same old hack-and-slash gameplay that players of previous instalment will be incredibly familiar with. Don’t get me wrong, it was still a lot of fun to tear across the Chinese landscape like a demi-god, outrunning horses and destroying anyone that stood in my way, but I don’t need to buy Dynasty Warriors 8 to do that. Heck, I could crack out my PlayStation 2 and have a extremely similar experience playing Dynasty Warriors 4. There’s just nothing presented in Dynasty Warriors 8 that grabbed my attention enough to follow this game through till its launch.
Again, I played a demo of Dynasty Warriors 8 and there’s every possibility that the full game may contain interesting new environments, exciting new battles and further tweaks to its graphics. But as it stands, Dynasty Warriors 8 is nothing more than a slightly upgraded version of Dynasty Warriors 7 just like everyone expected.
Official Site [Dynasty Warriors 8]