What is it with the Warriors Orochi/Dynasty Warriors games? They never change. They’re like the Will Smith of the gaming industry.
Sure, the visuals might have taken a slow meander up the quality chain as console generations passed, but when it comes to the heart of things – controls and gameplay – they’re still pretty much exactly the same as they’ve always been.
This is a port of the latest Orochi game to PS4, and while I never played it on the generation it was intended for, I think it’s safe to say we all have a pretty solid idea of what these games entail. Get chucked into a big map. Massacre thousands of enemy troops by yourself (although the game quite charmingly refers to your kill count as “knock out”, which brings to mind some kind of ancient Japanese hero who believes he’s just knocking someone out when he drives his giant glowing lance into his face), storm some gates, kill some bosses, watch some dialogue pop up for half an hour, and repeat the process from the start.
And it’s relentless, bloody good fun. Who doesn’t love charging headfirst into swarms of monsters and button mashing? There’s a lot to be said for mindless fun – which, not considering a fairly solid (but secondary) story – Orochi delivers in spades. It still feels the same as it did years ago because it doesn’t really need an update – if it’s not broke, etc.
Where Orochi beats its sister title Dynasty Warriors is in allowing you to pick three characters instead of the standard one, which in turn adds a massive degree of versatility. Swarms of demon grunts? Go for the dude with the giant, sweeping lance. Boss monster? You want the longsword guy with the big sweeping energy ball musou (There are way too many characters in this universe to keep track of. And I remember the names of every Game of Thrones character). Being able to just swap on the go makes the game’s giant battles significantly more enjoyable – you’re able to adapt your tactics to the situation at hand, meaning you’re not left bashing away at a giant tank with a character who is absolutely terrible at hitting one specific target.
The game picks up with your motley crew of historical heroes banding together to go kill a world-eating Hydra. It’s obvious from the start that you’re woefully unprepared to fight it – jumping into a Ballista might bring up the multi-headed pain in the arse’s health bar, but it’s only in a slightly mocking way, as if to point out how pointless and futile this whole endeavour is. For the entirety of the level your comrades are constantly dying and failing around you, and very quickly, the mission criteria changes from “Kill the Hydra” to “Run as far as you possibly can away from the Hydra before it eats you”.
What remains of your little gang gets scooped up by some time-traveling spirit and from then on the quest is to go back in time and rally up as many soldiers as you can to your cause before storming the Hydra’s base again. Solid plan, but it does kill the pace a little bit. When time-travel is involved, any kind of sense of urgency in the fight against the Hydra just goes out the window. You may as well meander through mystical feudal Japan at your own pace. “Eh, I guess we’ll get to that world-ending demon at some point. Not like it’s urgent, it’s 20 years away”. I kept expecting some blue box to drop out of the sky carrying a furious Glaswegian man who’ll tell the Hydra it’s beautiful and carry it away to its home planet before coming back to reclaim the vortex manipulator your mystical comrade clearly has. I’d play the hell out of Warriors: The Doctor.
There’s a whole host of game modes that’ll keep you busy – the versus mode in particular is good for some local fun, chucking your three characters of choice into an arena and just letting you have at it. It takes a bit of time to unlock a decent repertoire of characters, but remember – the versus mode is a nice bonus rather than a major selling point, and it’s a bloody good time.
If you have Orochi on PS3, fear not – as long as you’ve patched your game to the most current version all of your progress is transferable. Even if you’ve done all there is to do, there’s a hefty amount of new characters and content to make it a worthy upgrade.
This is an impressive title – perhaps the best recent Warriors title I’ve had the joy of playing – and a decent entry point into the franchise as a whole. With enough content to keep you busy for weeks, and the sheer unbridled joy of slaughtering thousands of opponents in a single map, you won’t regret buying into Warriors Orochi now. It’s just the right time for it.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.