Dynasty Warriors 5
Some things in a gamer’s life are for certain. For example; you’ll always have to add 25 years to a release date of 3D Realms, when it’s Christmas you’ll be smothered in EA’s sports games and every now and then the console gamer will be confronted with a new Dynasty Warriors game. Today its Dynasty Warriors 5’s turn, which is like the 10th game in the whole franchise and not the last one for sure, as for the moment Koei is already busy working on Dynasty Warriors 5 Legends.
DW5 is an action-strategy game with a lot of action and not that lot of strategy; in fact – let’s just be honest – it’s just a hack ‘n slash game. The strategy-aspects are limited to the morale, choosing the right equipment and conquering checkpoints for your troops. It does include some gameplay elements of the Legends series but overall there’s nothing new added. You still walk around the battlefield, going after your main target while slashing down hundreds of enemy soldiers and officers. You can use a horse or an elephant for transporting purposes and scattered around the area are crates and amphorae filled with weapons and items. It all sounds so familiar because it all has been done before. The fact that little is changed on the gameplay of Dynasty Warriors is a good but also a bad thing. The RPG element is also still included; by making more and more K.O.s you can upgrade your character and carry more items, a stronger Musou attack or have more hitpoints.
The story is more or less based on ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms’, in western countries better known as: ‘The Attempts to Unite China’. Although it is told between the missions, both in cut-scenes and a narrator, it’s not that important. The overacting of the English voice-overs and the constant nagging about honour and glory are sometimes quite ridiculous, but combined with the – occasionally hilarious – rock music it creates a unique charm that surrounds Dynasty Warriors.
The only ‘real’ change can be found in the graphics department; the developers have succeeded in removing the fog of war and still managed to maintain an acceptable draw distance. The special light and weather effects are really well done too but despite all these improvements the graphics didn’t appeal to me. The character models are somewhat limited, which gave me the impression of fighting against a huge clone army. A clone army that only responds when you come in guns blazing. I also found the environments to be uninspired and sometimes plain boring.
The AI is not that great either, your friends and foes don’t do anything more than a bit of wobbling until you close in, and afterwards it’ll still happen that the ‘sworn enemies’ are just standing there, peacefully… Like this, it’s very easy – even on the hardest difficulty mode – to make hundreds, even thousands of K.O.s which totally removes the challenge value of the game and you’ll be doing nothing more than brainless buttonbashing. Not exactly the ‘epic battles’ I was expecting.
Apart from the gaming aspect, DW5 also contains a kind of encyclopedia with a collection of facts and figures about the history of China. For those fascinated with China’s history and who like to read pieces of text from their television this is an absolute must, for all the others it’s kind of redundant.
The big question is of course whether you’ll have fun playing this title. If you’re a Dynasty Warriors fan who just wants more of the same, this is exactly what you were waiting for. If you were hoping however on some major changes and improvements, I would take a raincheck on this one.
Dynasty Warriors is not a bad game but the repetitive gameplay will bore you quickly despite the hours of promised fun and the gigantic amount of unlockable features. If you’re not a big fan of this series, walk away Jim, walk away…