REVIEW – Musou games aren’t usually mainstream titles outside the Far Eastern regions of the world, and I believe that the situation will likely not change with Dynasty Warriors 9 either, although the game tried to bring in new elements… which was somewhat successful for it.
Omega Force now created an open world for the kingdoms of Wei, Shu, and Wu – the Three Kingdoms (184-220). The gameplay is your traditional Dynasty Warriors-style: you have the main characters who knock out hundreds and thousands of easy enemies, but on higher difficulty levels, the mindless slashing is going to change into a strategic approach, as the first miniboss will cut the crap and cut the player in two instead. Let’s go back to discussing this open world subject for a bit…
I don’t know, but the way the open world was implemented into the game isn’t the best. Most of the game I found myself riding a horse to the next destination, which, frankly, is anything but exciting. Even the previous installment (8 Xtreme Legends if I remember correctly?) offered faster gameplay, although that title did not have the sandbox factor in it. Sandbox – Dynasty Warriors 9 only laid the basics down for the next game, because it should be filled meaningfully to be one of the positive aspects, but until then, it’s sadly just a negative… for now.
Too bad – the fighting is as exciting as ever, though. Dynasty Warriors always had the melee combat as one of the best elements in it, and now it even has a truckload of characters (pardon me, officers), each with their unique story and ending. If you are interested in a tiny slice of Chinese history, you’ll probably not learn much, but you might get hooked on the subject. The problem is that it gets a bit repetitive; if you’d like to unlock a character, you might have to replay the same mission a few times to achieve them. On paper, it extends the game’s length, but in reality, it’s just annoying.
Let’s get into the missions then: there are the story missions, duh. The side missions (which could go from just bringing back item X to defeat boss Y) even have versions that are related to the main missions, and if you find them having a little too high-level requirement, you can ease your situation by attacking the enemy’s base, because these can slash the levels down to your skills, and the best part of this approach is that it’s optional altogether.
You can also find materials in the world, which allows crafting materials, upgrading weapons and equipment, or create gems to get you more damage, or just apply an element to your attack. (This sounds like Diablo to me.) The fights are exciting – you have several types of moves, but I have to bring attention to the reactionary ones. You’ll notice icons above the enemies’ heads. If you respond properly, you’ll apply a mighty blow to them, which is going to be necessary on higher difficulty levels to master.
The audiovisuals are mixed. Let me start with the bad news first: the graphics are, khm, not that good, and on a regular PlayStation 4, the frame rate can easily drop from thirty frames per second! If you don’t have a PlayStation 4 Pro, I’ll warn you outright: there will be fights where the performance will be hit, and the animations aren’t perfect either.
However, the way that the characters and their outfits are designed are FANTASTIC! Omega Force has done a marvelous job, props to them! I’m not commenting on the voice acting (you can pick the Japanese voices if you want them), but I’ll get into the music: it’s great. Just like with 8, Dynasty Warriors 9 is rocking. In short, the average graphics are balanced with fine audio.
Dynasty Warriors 9 is good but not great. It deserves a 7.5 for being an entertaining title, but it lacks in several aspects, cutting it off from an 8 or even an 8.5. Unfortunately, the console is technically under pressure, so don’t expect to see solid 30 FPS during combats. If you liked 8 on PS4, I could recommend this one, too. You can plonk twenty hours into it without problems, and if you are a fan of the series, it could be as much as thirty hours, too.
+ The character design, plus they all have a unique story and ending
+ The soundtrack
+ The combat
– Without owning a PlayStation 4 Pro, the frame rate
– I’ve seen better visuals
– The open world needs to be improved, maybe next time it will happen
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Genre: Open world Beat-‘Em-Up
Release date: February 13, 2018