Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Preview
Remember when the PlayStation 2 launched, and everyone made a big deal over Dynasty Warriors? I do. "Woah, look how many characters can be on the same screen at once!" Yes, it was a big selling point for the new franchise and now, over 13 years later, the series is still pushing forward (despite a few complaints that it lacks freshness). The latest entry will be Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends; the upcoming Complete Edition will be available for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Vita. If you played DW8 on PS3, that save data will transfer across all platforms, so good news there.
Xtreme Legends features five brand new characters, a new Ultimate difficulty level, and extra episodes that elaborate upon the storyline of Lu Bu. There are multiple "hypothetical scenarios" included in the plot as well, and that could prove interesting for those who appreciate the franchise's surrounding lore. Sure, one could argue that this is nothing more than an expansion, but don't forget that developer Omega Force has worked to implement a bunch of additions and features. It goes beyond those new scenarios and a fresh difficulty level, you know; the gameplay itself will get a boost as well.
For instance, every playable character gets a second EX Attack, which definitely adds to the potency of your assault. Players will also enjoy the option of manually activating Storm Rush attacks just by tapping the Square and Triangle buttons simultaneously. Again, this enhances the strategy of the title, as does the opportunity o bring up to three bodyguards into any given confrontation. There's even a nifty new feature that lets you see only the enemy general's health bar in the midst of a crowded battlefield. Then you've got the cosmetic stuff, such as DLC that delivers new costumes, music and stages.
If you want to get more out of your DW experience, you'll be happy to know that the maximum level cap has been greatly extended, from 99 to 150. On top of which, we get additional Optional Missions, which will bring you more experience and other rewards based on your overall ranking. And yes, the all-important and very convenient Retry option has been added as well. As for the game modes, they're chock full of renovations and improvements. For instance, Ambition Mode has been completely revised; it's now a "quasi-war simulation" and involves the building of the player's palace and the expansion of territory.
Challenge Modes returns with an online ranking system and all five courses now contain elemental gem power-ups that will prove to be of great use: Storm, Comet, Thunderclap, Gathering and Conflagration. Lastly, there are currently undocumented advancements to the overall gameplay mechanic, which should help to streamline the entire production. For the most part, I'm sure you can't expect anything too drastically different from what you've experienced before. It won't be a revolutionary overhaul, but it will make an already solid adventure that much better, and it's great that the designers have sought to improve just about every facet of the game.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition on the PS4 includes both DW8 and Xtreme Legends. The Complete Edition on Vita does as well. If you've still only got the PS3, the new effort will be released as a standalone expansion, and you will have the option of importing your old data. Have fun slaying countless more enemies on many of Japan's epic battlegrounds!
3/17/2014 Ben Dutka