Dynasty Warriors 9 Review
Have you ever played a game in a series and wondered “Why?” Just asked yourself over and over as to why they would take a game in that direction? You just could not wrap your head around something that was so unnecessary? Well folks, Koei/Techmo & Wu Force Omega has got me tripping with their latest installment of the Dynasty Warriors 9 because, Dynasty Warriors + Open World = A Hot Mess.
Not much here pretty standard stuff. Based off the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel, players play through the story of the rise and fall of the Wei, Wu, Shu, and Jin Kingdoms, with some other smaller kingdoms in between.
Let me first say this, I know the Dynasty Warriors series is either you love it or hate it kind of deal. I happen to kick it on the “love” side of the fence. I have played every DW, Xtreme Legends, and empires since I dove into the series with Dynasty Warriors 2 back in the early 2000s. With that being said, the best way to describe dynasty warriors 9 is “bad nostalgia.” It’s as if Koei took major issues from every previous installment and added them to 9 intentionally.
The negatives vastly outweigh the positives. On the plus side, there are tons of characters who all have their own unique ending. The combat its essentially “square, square, triangle” per usual, however, there is a new system in place that allows players to use special attack knockdowns or Ariel attacks. Now there is a lot of things to do in this game. There’s hunting, fishing, side quest, and players can buy a house where they can send letters to other warriors. The environment does change depending on what areas you go to, alongside weather changes.
That’s it as far as the good goes. This game is a chore to play to say the least. All that “Bad Nostalgia” weighs this game down. Take the graphics, for example, I could put in my copy of Dynasty Warriors 5, on PS2, load it up, and see 0 difference between it and 9. These graphics are inexcusable for a PS4 game. It is all low rez and during night cutscenes, the characters are so bright they look like highlighters. This game is an eyesore.
Another throwback we didn’t ask for is the audio atrocity English voice over. Granted some of these fresh new voice cast did do a decent job, between the butchering of the Chinese pronunciation, and sounding like they were reading off a sheet of paper for a bulk of the cutscene, there is definitely room for much improvement. Players do have the option to change to either Japanese or Chinese, but for those who don’t feel like reading cutscenes & battle responses will be forced to subject their ears to the poor dub.
Now, bad voice overs can provide a good source of entertainment for the most part. I got a kick out of Zhang Jiao sounding like Kermit the frog. But, what is not cute is the choppiness and lag this game is chopped full of. Yet ANOTHER throwback we did not ask for. The lag in this game is so bad, it makes DW4 look like it runs smoothly. This furthermore attributes to the poor graphics because they load in during gameplay.
Now that is outta the way, let’s talk about the actual gameplay itself. Again the “Why” really comes into play here. Players are essentially running from town to town doing the same…exact…sidequests. Yep, that’s right people! You can go from town to town and go on the same “defeat the tiger’s” mission various times. So, an open world aspect is being utilized to play the same mission over and over. Although the environment is nice, it’s pretty empty. I’m surprised at the lack of random peasant filled villages, or vagabonds that threaten the peace. Just bases and cities.
I still am in disbelieve at how bad this game turned out. When I first heard Omega Force was going to make an open-world Dynasty Warriors, I was extremely apprehensive but gave them a chance. At most I expected hardcore lag and the same quests. But I just had an entire back session on DW9 and for that, this is getting my lowest score to date, a 2. I wouldn’t recommend picking it up, even to fellow fans of the series like myself. Hopefully, they find a way to retcon this mess with Xtreme Legends or Empires. Koei Tecmo and Omega Force I love you guys, but honestly you bit off way more than you could chew on this one.
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Price: $48.99 J&L