You think by now, since I've played almost every incarnation of the Dynasty Warrior games on various platforms through the years, my thumbs would be worn out. Some days I wish that were true, as it would give me an excuse not to keep forever pining and playing the next installment of this personally beloved series. It's almost a sad addiction, but oh, I love it, so, no matter how many games they put out, my hours and cash will always be with them. The newest release, Dynasty Warriors 8 is no different.
If you've been with this series already, then you should be no stranger to Dynasty Warriors 8. It treads over the same ground we've seen over and over (and over and over) again. However, that is not a bad thing at all. After all, the Dynasty Warriors series knows its audience, and it banks the series on those who will keep playing them.
The story of Dynasty Warriors 8 is the same historical fare offered before, this time putting its roots down in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms world. The heroes of DW8 are presented uniquely and strongly, giving a variety of style and substance, so players don't feel like they are playing the same cardboard cutout character over and over again.
Dynasty Warriors has always been a true hack 'n' slash / beat 'em up, where you'll plow through hundreds of enemies with a variety of basic attacks, but mostly combos, building chains to do more destruction. Specific special moves have a cool down, and at the end of the day, it's pretty basic stuff. However, it's the muscle and sinew of Dynasty Warriors 8 which makes it fun to play.
Weapons and armor can be upgraded and unlocked, and this adds to the desire to keep plowing ahead and brings different styles to combat. One-on-one battles with more powerful soldiers on the field create a truly epic experience and break up the endless waves of footsoldiers you'll be fighting. Leveling up will also keep things entertaining, even if you don't find the story intriguing (though it's actually quite decent). Elemental powers (or affinities) also make each solo battle far more exciting, as certain ones have weaknesses to others. My favorite addition though? A horse which can be called to your side at any time for mounted combat.
Graphics and music are about the same as we've been seeing in the series, with some improvements to details and models. Overall, DW8 runs smoothly, looks good, but it lacks just a bit in these areas. The maddening guitar squeals of the battle music bring out the late 90s or early 2K anime feeling, instead of something more grand or historical. The environment is a bit bland, but it's still a step up from the previous Dynasty Warriors games.
Regardless, Dynasty Warriors 8 offers plenty of content. If story mode isn't enough for you, 77 characters raise the eyebrows of long time fans. A new mode called Ambition mode is sort of a town builder mode, where you will be fighting different kinds of battles in order to build up your town with shops and people. This is a very rewarding mode to play, even for those who have played every game in the series. Free mode returns too, of course, which enables you to play the game without stopping for story and to build up your heroes.
Overall, for those who have played Dynasty Warriors 7, DW8 is a must, as it brings together everything from the game plus more. Though some may feel disappointed that much of the content as far as characters and weapons were taken from DW7, this shouldn't be much of a surprise. Though I say DW8 is for those who have been with the series for a while, it is also the perfect starting point for anyone who has interest in the series, as the story is fresh and it's probably the best DW to date. Don't be intimidated by the amount of DW games that have been released. Just put it in and let the hack 'n' slashing begin. A decent tutorial mode is also available.
Dynasty Warriors 8 brings back everything you love from its predecessors, while continually updating and improving the series' unmatched style and gameplay.
GameDynamo's Score for Dynasty Warriors 8 (PS3)
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