Warriors Orochi 4 is Koei-Tecmo’s latest entry into their Orochi Musou game franchise. This franchise combines the best of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series into one gigantic hack and slash button bashing adventure. This time around though, the developer Omega Force have outdone themselves and have rectified a lot of what was wrong with their formula. Dynasty Warriors 9 left a sour taste in the mouths of many gamers and thankfully, none of that has made its way into Warriors Orochi 4.
The story of Warriors Orochi 4 is set in a fictional “other world” where prominent characters from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises are pit against an evil unknown force. For those that are unfamiliar with these games, they feature characters based on real life human beings that existed during the Sengoku period of Japan’s past as well as during the development of ancient China. However, for the purposes of the game, characters are all greatly exaggerated in terms of physical prowess and skill. Hearing how great a specific character is or was during a period of history is something that happens often throughout the story.
With these great Chinese and Japanese warriors thrust into an unknown world, the player will soon take on the role of 1 of 3 main party members on the battlefield. Players can swap between these 3 characters on the fly with a press of a button and can even combine attacks from one character straight into another character’s attack pattern. In addition to the 3 main party characters, 4 support characters join the fray and lend their abilities on the battlefield as NPCs. This is often barely noticeable but the help is appreciated when enemy numbers get too high.
Warriors Orochi 4’s story is rather intriguing. Players will slowly but surely unlock an immense number of characters as they play through the game’s various chapters. Chapter 1 serves as a basic tutorial of sorts as the game introduces different complex gameplay elements to you. The player’s initial party of 3 characters from the Samurai Warriors series will soon be joined by characters from the Dynasty Warriors games and the plot thickens considerably as they venture out into the mysterious world trying to unearth what’s going on.
Soon enough, players will discover that Nobunaga Oda is amassing an army and your group of heroes seeks to find out why. Fast forward a little bit into the game and things get even crazier when it turns out that Mythical Gods are involved with an overarching plot involving world destruction and 8 bracelets of power forged from Medusa’s hair. Things get fantastically over the top with regards to the story but this is where all the joy is to be had. Warriors Orochi 4 is a fantasy hack and slash adventure with technical elements that blend seamlessly into the story mix resulting in solid gameplay from start to finish.
Players will be able to control their selected character from their party and perform a variety of attacks. A light attack combo can be initiated by pressing the Square button repeatedly while a heavy attack combo can be triggered by pressing the Triangle button repeatedly. Combining light and heavy attacks together results in a range of unique combos that each character can pull off. Additionally, based on the type of character you are using, extra attack options can be made available such as buffing your weapon or entering an aerial attack chain that is visually spectacular.
Players are advised to create parties of characters based on their character class. Power, Speed and Technique classes are available and generally, the character designs themselves show off which class a particular character may be. Power characters, for example, are rather bulky male characters that brandish massive lances or swords whereas speed characters typically make use of lighter weaponry. Technique characters fall in between these two and employ a far more unique set of weaponry. A hook-like battleaxe, for example, belongs to a particular technique character and it’s incredibly enjoyable using this in battle.
The story of Warriors Orochi 4 is broken up into 5 chapters with numerous missions contained within each chapter. Missions or sorties as they are referred to contain main objectives that need to be fulfilled as well as bonus objectives that provide specific once off rewards if completed. Each mission has a level requirement as well a time limit and at the end of each mission, a score is awarded along with a letter grading. Trying to get the highest score possible and reach S rank is a challenge in itself and players will definitely revisit old battles to do this.
Warriors Orochi 4’s gameplay as mentioned previously involves pulling off combination attacks with your selected character. Players will traverse rather large maps filled with hundreds upon thousands of enemies and have to hack and slash their way through these enemies. Higher ranking enemy officers, base captains and evil entities known as Chaos Origins are also to be found. Players can make use of special Musou attacks by pressing Circle when the Musou gauge is full or additionally can make use of magic attacks by holding down R1 and pressing either the Square, Triangle or Circle. Each face button performing a different magic attack while pressing R1 and X will trigger the summoning of a horse mount to ride throughout the battle.
The game also implements a brand new Unity magic attack which is triggered by pressing R2 and L2 at the same time when the Unity magic gauge is full. This gauge is gradually filled as players defeat the hordes of enemies thrown at them. The Unity magic attack involves calling upon the power of all 7 allied characters in the battle to unleash a giant magic explosion that effectively wipes out everything in its path. This is indispensable in some of the harder battles where the sheer number of enemies and enemy officers can get overwhelming.
Players will be able to level up their characters at the end of a mission when they return back to their base camp. The base camp serves as the game’s main menu from which you can perform a variety of actions. Here players will be able to upgrade their characters with growth points and skill points earned from missions as well as upgrade their entire camp, providing global bonuses to all their characters. Players can also view short visual novel event scenes that are triggered by increasing a character’s relationship affinity above a certain threshold by using them in battles consistently. As more characters are unlocked, more of these event scenes can be too since they involve the friendships and interactions between specific characters.
A final layer of complexity is added to the game in the form of weapons and weapon upgrading. Each character in Warriors Orochi 4 has a unique weapon and new weapons of the same type are found throughout battles. Players can equip the new weapons back at the base camp and can also opt to dismantle or upgrade weapons with specific buffs such as elemental damage or experience boosting attributes. Given the sheer number of characters that the game has, players will spend a lot of time at the base camp when not laying waste to the enemy hordes in the story missions and side stories.
Graphically, Warriors Orochi 4 looks visually pleasing. Character designs are extremely striking and well done and the in-game effects are particularly flashy. In-game environments, however, are a bit drab and could have used a bit more detail, to be honest. The game’s soundtrack is excellent with certain battle background tracks being exceptionally good. The voice acting in the game, however, is entirely in Japanese so fans of the English dubbed cast from previous games will have to learn to love the original Japanese voice acting. That said, the Japanese voice acting is phenomenal with many seasoned veteran voice actors lending their talents to the game’s colourful cast.
Warriors Orochi 4 features a 2 player split-screen co-op mode and honestly, this is one of the best features of the game. There really isn’t like playing the game with a friend or family member and laying waste to masses of enemy hordes with spectacular combos and flashy magic spells. There’s also an online battle arena, however, this currently only features 1 map and is a 3 vs 3 modes.
Overall, with a cast of over 170 characters to play as, an absolutely insane amount of character dialogue and an equally insane amount of enemies to slay, Warriors Orochi 4 will keep you busy for hours and hours on end. The story mode featuring missions that take anywhere from 7 to 20 minutes each to complete results in satisfying battle sessions that are rewarding. Gameplay is excellent despite being repetitive hack and slash based since it is quite simply, incredibly fun and implemented in a non-aggravating non-grindy manner. The sheer number of characters each with unique weapons makes Warriors Orochi 4 a must buy game for fans of the musou game genre and is quite easily one of the best fun games of 2018.