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Another year means another Dynasty Warriors game. I have to admit I was kind of excited to see this coming out. I was hoping that the team at Koei would be able to put together a great Dynasty Warriors package since they have had time to craft their in-game engine to take full support of the Xbox 360. Were my expectations too high or did Koei hit it out of the park?
The Dynasty Warriors 7 story takes place after the fall of the Han Dynasty where the Three Kingdoms are fighting against the Chinese Emperor. This results in huge battles that span across countries in an attempt to overthrow the opposition. The story gets confusing and is really hard to follow to a certain point. If you are playing a Dynasty Warriors game, there is a good chance you are not playing it for the story. You will probably end up skipping most of the little story to begin with. The story seems to be just like another Dynasty Warriors game, so there is nothing new or interesting about it.
The game gives two different ways to play Dynasty Warriors. First there is story mode. Story mode revolves around one specific kingdom like the We or Jun. This takes you through each battle playing as different generals doing specific objectives but it usually comes down to killing a lot of dudes. You will at times play one section of a battle and then you will switch characters to somebody else that is on the other side of the battlefield.
When you start a battle in story mode, you at times start out inside a small fort. You are then able to go around to certain solders and chat with them. Talking with other people doesn’t provide any useful information. The only person that is worth talking to is the blacksmith. At the blacksmith you are able to create new weapons if you have the money and the experience to. Each weapon has its own selection and from there you are able to create more powerful versions of lets says a sword or a pike. The more experience you have the better the weapon you will be able to create. The blacksmith took some time to figure out because the game doesn’t do much explaining to you. You just have to kind of figure it out on your own.
Conquest mode allows the player to just battle and not have to worry about the story. In conquest mode, you first choose the general you want to play as. You have a decent amount of people to choose from between each kingdom. After you select your character you then start off in a little village where you are able to walk around and talk to other soldiers or the blacksmith to create or buy new weapons for your character. After you are done in this little village you then get taken to the mission select screen where you are then able to choose from different kinds of missions. Each mission is represented by a hexagon; you are then only able select a mission that is touching one of the sides of the hexagon.
Each mission is set in battle where at times you need to escort other generals to a safe zone. Most of the time it is just kill this guy and you are done. Some of the missions only last about 1 to 2 minutes. But that is because you are able to get on your horse and ride through any opposing force to get to the main guy and kill him.
The main gameplay that runs through each of these modes is the melee combat. You do get some ranch weapons at your disposal but they are not very useful. Dynasty Warriors has always followed the same routine of combat. Walk up to a mess of dudes and start hammering away on buttons. Most of the guys you can kill in 1 to 2 hits. They don’t put up much of a challenge. Most of the people that give you a challenge are the generals for the opposing side. These guys have life bars as big as yours and can take as much damage as you can. These are like mini bosses in each level. There are usually anywhere from 10 to 15 of them on a battlefield at once. Once you kill all the ones that get in your way, you make it to the main boss. Most of the main boss fights handle just like the mini boss fights. You just hammer away at the buttons and he will eventually give up.
It seems Dynasty Warrior's idea of combat is to just hammer on buttons. You have a weak attack button and a heavy attack. Each character also has a special move that they can perform whenever they have killed enough guys or by getting hit a lot. You can do combos with the mix of light and heavy attacks but it all comes down to hitting the same buttons over and over again. In each battle you press the same buttons over and over and over again. It gets ridiculous because there is nothing else to change up the gameplay. It is always walk up to a group of guys and kill them and then move on. It gets really boring.
With this being the newest Dynasty Warriors game you would figure that Koei would be able to make these games look at least decent. Well I am sorry to tell you but the game still looks bad. The characters' clothes, the horses, and just everything about it make it look like a PS2 game. The only thing really noticeable is the fact that there aren't any frame rate dips when you have tons of guys on the screen at once and that the draw distance during a battle doesn’t have a lot of pop-in textures anymore. The movies look decent but nothing that looks as good as what other developers are doing now. It just becomes a bummer when you think that this game is going to look good but when you are playing it, things still look downright ugly. It is like Koei just recycled the same textures from the past 4 games.With the release of Dynasty Warriors 7 came the hope of a new game with an exciting storyline and different variations of gameplay. But when it is all said and done the game is just like its predecessors. This game is a Dynasty Warriors game through and through. Koei hasn’t bothered to change the formula and I don’t think they intend to. The conquest is the better of the two modes but that isn't saying much. It is a good Sunday morning game because you don’t have to think about what you are doing and you just have to press the same buttons over and over again. If you want to play some Dynasty Warriors then you should pick this up at your local game rental or online rental place. Otherwise you can pick up an older Dynasty Warriors game for a lot cheaper and you will be playing the same game.