I don't really know why anyone moans at Dynasty Warriors for being 'samey'. It's a game based off of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, if you want the game to change, go 600 years back in time and write the book yourself, or better yet go back 1850 years and tell us what actually happened?
The game itself goes slightly back to the roots of Dynasty Warriors 5, featuring more familiar faces than DW6, but that's about as far as it goes, the story has been completely revamped, going through the history of the kingdoms and choosing your character for you. This sounds like a bad thing but it only really alters the base stats, certain moves and musou attacks, if you really hate a character it gives you the option to change weapon at any time.
The skill system is great but it throws you in to the deep end. Having played DW 2-7 I decided to skip the tutorial, so that may be why, however I didn't like how the skills worked in legendary battles, as some characters had none (Liu Bei, who I'd unlocked a few with in the story but for Sima Yi I started off with some), but in the generic conquest fights they seemed to work fine.
The fact that there is no Xtreme Legends for Xbox doesn't really make a difference to me, as the conquest mode has 'Legendary Battles' which pretty much serve the same purpose and show a fraction of the character's development or an ironic look on the true events. This is also the case for the lack of Free Mode, as although the generic levels don't quite compare to the freedom you've had in previous instalments, but they pretty much serve the same purpose, with a range of difficulties and you can choose any character, it's a pretty decent substitute.
Encyclopedia - Always interesting, a nice little educational addition to the game.
Gallery - Just have fun with costumes, check out Xu Zhu's 2nd costume, it's worth a laugh!