Dynasty Warriors 8 Preview
Yes, they’re doing another Dynasty Warriors. No, it probably won’t be that much different from previous entries in the enduring franchise. However, fans of the series can expect a ton of characters, upgraded visuals, and a few appreciated tweaks to the combat mechanic. Dynasty Warriors 8 was released on February 28 in Japan and will be coming to North America and Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in mid-July. The good news is that, much like many recent releases, it’ll be available in both digital and physical format.
The latest series entry boasts no fewer than 70 characters and although they’re reusing the same engine from Dynasty Warriors 7, developer Omega Force is placing on emphasis on extra content and longevity for DW8. Once again, the many factions in a fantastical version of feudal China are at war and at the outset of battle, you’ll have to pick a side. The designers have, however, instituted a new story mode for “Other” faction, so that might hint at some player customization. Does that mean we can make our own faction…? Anyway, each stage in the Story Mode will be bigger and longer, so freedom of movement will definitely be a highlight.
Another new feature is the “what if” stage, which lets you change the events and ultimately, the results, of the stage based on your decisions. This is a nod to this past generation’s common trend of giving the player important choices that will impact the outcome of an adventure. Furthermore, as you’ll most likely want to play with a friend, you can experience the lengthy and in-depth Story Mode in classic cooperative fashion, both online and offline. This is another nice little upgrade as this option wasn’t available in DW7. In addition to the Story, Free Mode returns after being notably absent in DW7, which further enhances this game’s appeal.
Plus, we get new battle mechanics that are based on commander affinity. So awesome abilities like Variable Counter (sacrifice your weapon for a randomly chosen new one) and Awakening Action (skill booster) will bolster the action, while at the same time broadening the strategy aspect. We even get an additional Musou attack, and each character will now have a unique EX weapon type. Sun Jian has a new nine-ringed blade, for instance, which generates damaging sound waves to nail the enemy. Lastly, a weapon’s type features an affinity (Earth, Heaven or People), and this creates a triangular relationship which will determine the nature of that affinity.
So as you can see, it’s not all same ol’ same ol’. Not only are there system and technical upgrades, but we get a brand new gameplay mode, too: It’s called Commander Mode, in which the player must build bases for peasants. These bases are called Bronze Peasant Towers and you must work to raise the status of each Tower, which is done by participating in three kinds of battles. There’s Skirmish, Raid and Large-Scale; doing them all brings in new recruits, grants resources for building, and increases fame. The end goal is to raise the Tower’s status so the Emperor will want to come for a visit. This sounds like a different sort of experience, right?
If done correctly, Dynasty Warriors 8 could be the largest and most satisfying installment yet.
4/4/2013 Ben Dutka