As you all may of noticed, Dynasty Warriors 9 released this week for Playstation 4, XBOX One and PC via Steam. However, even though we have had our hands on the game for a while before release, the sheer size of it and amount of content means we are still yet unable to produce our review for the game. So with this in mind, we decided to do a little “Pre-review Impressions” take on the game to hopefully give you guys an insight and if this game is for you or not until we can finish our full review. Note our experience is with the regular PS4 version.
So let’s start off. Dynasty Warriors 9 in and of itself is a completely new game style from KOEI Tecmo and Omega Force, offering an Open World RPG experience over it’s standard scripted battlefields. The game offers 13 chapters in total, each covering different major historical events within the Three Kingdoms period; such as the Yellow Turbans, Cao Cao vs Yuan Shao, and Battle of Chi Bi.
You start off with only a few characters unlocked, and can only access the first chapter being the Yellow Turban rebellion. Once you pick your character you are given an overview scene (with narration, that has odd inconsistent audio mishaps) giving you a sense of what is going on and what you will be up against in the coming chapter. Afterwards you are thrust into the intro of your character, with plenty of exposition of who you are and why you are there. After an initial tutorial quest to allow you to beat up some baddies you are pretty much given free reign of exploring China.
This is one of the main gimmicks of the game. The freedom to explore a vast open world while many battles and skirmishes are going on all around you. You will have your main questline to follow but there are also a bunch of side-quests (known as requests), most being just usual fluff where you are tasked with killing a small group of bandits, collecting certain materials etc. As you progress further into the chapter you will notice that many of the main quests have sub-quests scattered around nearby areas of China, which will help towards your overall goal of completing that main quest. These are far more engaging than the requests you will constantly see pop up throughout your journey.
However a big flaw of the game is, in the grand scheme of things these do not make much of a difference. If you are so inclined you can easily book it to the main quest’s destination and complete the chapter (or that part of the chapter). It all really comes down to if you are willing to play along with these sub-quests to pad out your experience and try and believe you are making an impact on the overall battle yourself. If you are inclined to just charge straight for the Main quest’s goal, then you definitely will not get enjoyment from this game.
Aside from the Quests and Requests, you can freely explore China at your leisure. It is a vast landscape of deserts, snowy mountains, green fields and jungles. There is a waypoint guide system that can help direct you to your chosen destination (or quest destination), but it very much varies if it actually wants to play ball with you, often leading you the wrong way if you directly follow it. The issue in this case is that it gets confused when you head off the pathways. Luckily there is always a visible icon along with a handy step metre showing you where your destination is, along with how far remains. You head straight for there and you’ll be fine.
China itself, an issue with it being so large, is that it is a very empty place. There isn’t a whole lot to do if you want to just go out and explore. There are checkpoint bases scattered around, which may or may not be controlled by yours (or a friendly) army. You can go out and hunt, though this is done so mundane you can just attack animals easily from a far with an arrow without them even noticing they are being hunted. You can also find specific locales that can be used as fast travel points, and other waymarks that you will often find wherever you traverse. Alongside all this there are villages, camps and a few major cities that can be found.
In the cities, camps, villages etc you will often find stores (and a bevy of people with Requests) where you can purchase items, craft stuff and the like. You can also have these places used as one of the many ways to fast travel. Which leads to another issue with the game. Once you have explored China a bit, you will start to rack up many fast travel points, and with this you’ll just end up playing each quest by instantly travelling to a point right near where you need to be. Defeating the point of the need of an open world in the first place.
Now let us acknowledge the elephant in the room. The over-use of the same weapons. Though it is true many characters share the same weapon, with the revamped combat mechanics, none of them are clones of each other. Each character has four types of special attacks, which are mapped to R1 + one of the face buttons. Each of these is unique to the weapon and character. These also lead into their own “Flow attack” combinations if you mash Square after performing one of them.
Dynasty Warriors 9 is no longer a tight packed action hack n slash game but has fully donned the RPG cloak. Where each character, officer and enemy has a level which constitutes to how strong (or weak) they may be. As you level up your stats will rise, along with you being able to allocate certain stat points yourself. Though strength is normally the best one to go for, to kill those baddies quicker. You’ll gain EXP from killing enemies, completing quests and finding new locations.
To wrap this all up, there is also a miriad of technical issues with the game, which thankfully are being patched out at a quick pace. These issues mainly include frame rate issues, textures not loading or popping in very late and other things. Hopefully in due time these will all be ironed out, this is after all what most (if not all) open word games suffer with on launch, and this is all new territory for Omega Force when it comes to developing these kind of games.
Do we recommend Dynasty Warriors 9? It’s still hard to fully say as we are still working through it to write our review, but as of our current impressions, we would say to be weary of it. The game has built the framework for something that could become great, but maybe not in this iteration. The combat is fun and fluid, with the story and battles feeling much more vast and epic as ever before. But you really have to try and play the game exactly as how they want you to, or you’ll just find it a cheese fest that is able to rush to the finish line without much work or effort.
Stay tuned for our review (hopefully) soon!
What are your thoughts on the game? Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments!