Review: Dynasty Warriors 8

Another summer, another Dynasty Warriors title. You could be forgiven for being so cynical, as Dynasty Warriors has become an annual franchise for Tecmo Koei Europe. More so, in fact, if you count the many spin-offs the Warriors franchise benefits from. But despite all of this, Omega Force almost always manage to progress the formula enough that Dynasty Warriors remains relevant. Dynasty Warriors 6 may not have been the true current-generation experience we all wanted, but Dynasty Warriors 7 managed to bring the series right back where it should be. Dynasty Warriors 8 proves that ambition is rarely a bad thing.

Dynasty Warriors 8 marks the most extensive revision of the combat system the series has seen in years. The biggest addition is Rage mode, an all new feature which is determined by a meter and offers access to a whole new combo string and musou attack when used, but perhaps more important are the Storm Rush attacks. Using a weapon compatibility statistic, which players can use to their advantage when changing weapons between battles, players will automatically initiate a heavy hitting, unbreakable combo that can envelope dozens of enemies when depleting the weapon gauge of an officer with greater weapon compatibility than yourself. It’s a trade-off between a basic weapon advantage or the ability to pull off a devastating combo, adding a tactical edge to the set-up before a battle.

Using this Storm Rush attack, or other special moves or circumstances, players can unlock new skills that will offer special bonuses in-game. Your pool of skills is shared between all of your unlocked officers and up to four can be equipped by any one at a time. In addition you can unlock new weapons and animals in the Story Mode, and much more besides on the new Ambition Mode.

The Story Mode is very well delivered, with cutscenes that bleed into the action and an extensive campaign for each of the kingdoms featured in the videogame. However, it’s the Ambition Mode that’s likely to be where most players spend their time as the investment between battles is certainly an interesting addition. Furthermore, Ambition Mode can be played in multiplayer mode online, allowing friends to join and further their own save data by earning new allies and weapons. Ambition Mode is a fantastic new gameplay mode that Metro Gaming hopes to see more of in the inevitable future Dynasty Warriors releases.

If it were to stop there Dynasty Warriors 8 would already be one of the best titles the series has yet offered, but there’s plenty more yet to come. Dynasty Warriors 8 features dozens of brand new characters, brand new stages, new enemy weapons and new animals. Dramatically improved visual quality, extended campaigns, revamped difficulty settings and all new ‘what if’ scenarios. Dynasty Warriors 8 isn’t just another Dynasty Warriors videogame: it’s the best Dynasty Warriors videogame.

Score: 8