20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A return to form with all promises delivered.,
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This review is from: Dynasty Warriors 8 (PS3) (Video Game)
At the start of this review I have currently beaten the Wei campaign and am working through the Wu campaign, and it has been perfect from the get go. Koei truly delivered this time with a perfectly rounded DW experience. The story is spot on, the new characters flesh out the battles and push the narrative further. I have been playing this series since Dynasty Warriors 3 (With the exception of 6) and this has been innovative and fresh.
The new weapons system is astounding, every character now has their own unique weapons, but no one is limited to what they can and can't use. The new rock-paper-scissors (Heaven, Earth, Man.) battle system is engaging and can add difficulty without punishing the player. The addition of levels that merely unlock more attacks and add stats improves from the old system of having to get high combos in order to get good stat drops. The weapon drops themselves are interesting as well, you have an infinite number of weapon slots and are able to gather multiple versions of the same weapon with different seals or damage values. I haven't experimented with the forging system yet, but allowing the player to sell off useless weapons for gold helps keep the game going without the need to repeatedly run missions for rewards. Finally, the rage mechanic and musuo upgrades allow the player to really shine in combat scenarios.
The campaign itself is very similar to Dynasty Warriors 7, each side has their own story which goes through all the major battles. The most significant change would be the addition of character choice, every battle has at least two characters to pick from (Wan Castle Ambush only allows Cao Cao or Dian Wei) where as others offer up to four. The "pre-battle camp" returns on some stages, where as other missions through you straight into the action after the cutscene. The maps have had a huge face-lift and they are not tweaked versions of the previous map sets. Several new maps have been added as well for changing scenery. The change that I like the most is the inclusion of "What If" missions. Back in Dynasty Warriors 3 if you saved Pang Tong from the ambush he continued to be part of the missions afterwards, though with no real effect, in this new form if you save Dian Wei at the ambush or prevent Guo Jia from passing away it alters the progression of the campaign and allows different outcomes and an alternate ending away from the historical ending.
Ambition mode is quite intriguing, though I haven't given it much attention past the tutorial stage. It seems to be a mash-up of DW7 Xtreme Legend's Legend Mode where you develop a town with DW7's conquest mode for building relationships with officers and unlocking special weapons. The tag-team set up is just like Dynasty Warriors 4's joint-musuo attack system where if you were close to another player you could unleash a devastating attack, though this time with NPCs. Each NPC character has special skills that they employ in the battles and the battle types are interesting, but not as fun as the campaign. More a means to an end than anything else. Each NPC has their own special missions, but I have yet to experience them.
All in all, Koei has truly fixed what was wrong with the battle mechanics, removed the dull grey wallpaper and applied a bright new coat of paint to the tried and tested game play that the fans enjoyed. The character designs themselves have finally hit that "We're serious, we look normal and we aren't wearing micro bikinis" style where they look authentic and not outlandish. Not including Zhang Jiao, but he is crazy.
Push comes to shove, this is easily a 5/5 game. Fans will enjoy it, new players can jump right in and you do feel rewarded for the time invested into the game.