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The Game Dynasty Warriors 8 Needs To Be
The Dynasty Warriors series will always be dear to me. I don’t regret a single hour I’ve spent – and there have been many – plowing through waves upon waves of seemingly helpless Chinese soldiers. In fact, Dynasty Warriors was actually part of my daily waking-up routine for quite some time. I would wake up, make myself a coffee, and continue from wherever I had left off – with whichever character I left off with – from the previous day. Doing this, I managed to complete the game with every single character. Anyone who has played any of the latest Dynasty Warriors game will be able to appreciate this. The number of playable characters has grown drastically over the span of the series.
This extensive playable-character list Dynasty Warriors offers is a double-edged sword. It’s great to have such a vast array of unique characters, but it’s not so great to have an ever more vast array of unique characters and a bunch of uninteresting clones.
In the earlier Dynasty Warriors games, each character had their own distinct charms and unique weapon and move-set to complement their overall character.
It was hugely disappointing to then get home with the latest game in the series, put it in the console and discover that the majority of the ‘new’ characters I’d been excited for were direct clones of others.
Suddenly, I had no interest in playing these characters; especially due to the fact that they usually didn’t even have their own playable story. The characters they’ve so crudely been ripped-off from suddenly seemed less unique also.
This has been a major factor in my growing loss of interest in the series. Everyone moans about how boring and repetitive the game is, and how every release is the same as the last, but none of that has ever bothered me. I suppose you could call me a fanboy, but I prefer to see it as having had the opportunity to experience the series and make a more educated and experienced judgement on its mechanics. There is something at the core of the series that is so uniquely fun; it’s all just being constricted by a lack of creativity, consistency, and most of all, heart.
The potential is there for something great, there’s just a few things just need to be reviewed first. A good place to start is definitely a reevaluation of the characters. Simply reverting back to the character roster in Dynasty Warriors 4 would do wonders. The roster back then was already huge, and even so, there were still a couple of characters that lacked flair.
Then give each character one weapon. Yes, just one. That’s all they need. Then expand the moveset of that one weapon and allow the player to upgrade and customize that weapon over the course of a story – even the overall look of the weapon. This same idea could then be applied to armor of the character.
With this more manageable roster, there would be much more room for character development and story.
Personally I’d go as far as to recommend the removal of any ‘create-a-character’ modes. This never really added much at all to the series, and your created character never had any natural significance in the world or story.
The story itself has always been somewhat bipolar in terms of pacing. On one hand, you’re receiving updates of all the goings-on of the battlefield from officer dialogue that conveniently pops up on the screen. On the other hand, you’ll often arrive at a location, have the screen go dark, a small and seemingly-pointless cutscene will load up, and only then, will it allow you to take action. After a while, majority of players will skip these every time they appear.
These little annoyances seem archaic in design, and you can’t help but wonder why these little things can’t just be integrated seamlessly into the gameplay.
The fast-paced action of the Dynasty Warriors series has always been one of its stronger features, and any hindrance to this will inevitably have players noticing a whole lot more of the weaker elements of the game.
An obvious exception to the annoying-cutscene rule is, of course, the opening cutscene of the game. The opening cutscenes in every Dynasty Warriors game are a joy to watch, with so much ridiculous, anime-style fighting on screen.
It all really begs the question: Why not integrate this style of cutscene at key points within the story?
It would definitely make for any transition of environment far more impactful, allowing for a whole lot of character development, and generally be a whole lot of crazy fun to watch.
All attempts at anything akin to this have, so far, fallen short.
I’m well-aware that there are a whole plethora of other problems with the series, although I believe these take a back seat, and could even be remedied by, the simplification and refinement of the existing mechanics, as opposed to constantly adding new and uninteresting features. Let’s not even get on the topic of DLC.
Just don’t change the music direction in Dynasty Warriors 8, Koei. That’s one thing you got so, so right.