Warriors Orochi Xbox 360 & PlayStation 2
Published by: Koei
Developed by: Omega Force
Release Date: Out Now
Take the Dynasty Warrior series, combine it with the Samurai Warriors series and the result is Warriors Orochi. That is an admittedly rather simplistic description of what Warriors Orochi is all about but it's certainly an effective one. For years now the Dynasty Warrior series have proved to be very popular mass combat action games based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel. In recent times Koei have also given us the Samurai Warriors series which is very similar in nature to the Dynasty Warriors series except for the fact that the game is loosely based on the Sengoku period of Japanese history. Warriors Orochi takes 77 characters from both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series and allows you to square up to the Serpent King Orochi in four different storylines. This review looks at both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 versions of Warriors Orochi.
Warriors Orochi offers a Free Mode, Story Mode and a Gallery where you can view the officers and weapons in the game as well as look at the game's movies that you've unlocked. Free Mode essentially allows you to pick three warriors and jump into battle in either a single-player or two player mode. The heart of the game is the Story Mode (which can also be played as a two player game). There are four stories for you to play through: Shu, Wei, Wu and Samurai Warriors. The story goes that the Serpent King Orochi used his demonic powers to warp time and space creating a fusion between the Chinese Three Kingdoms era and that of the Japanese Warring States period. Orochi then decided to test his strength against the heroes of both of these eras.
Whilst Warriors Orochi is a very similar experience to the previous Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games, there are some subtle differences. The game sees the introduction of the three person team. Essentially you can switch between the three characters at any time. The two you aren't using get to restore their Life and Musou gauges. It's even possible to chain Musou attacks together by performing a Musou attack with one character and then quickly changing to another character that is also able to perform a Musou attack. It's worth noting that the more you use a character, the quicker they level up so if you use one character more than the other two you'll find yourself with an uneven party. However, you can level-up the characters you don't use so much by giving them the bulk of your growth points (which essentially gives your character experience points) that you earn for completing the mission.
Each of the characters in the game have been categorised into either a Power, Speed or Technique attack category. Each category has access to unique special attacks. A Power category character possesses a Power Attack and also Hyper Armour which protects them from ordinary and arrow attacks whilst they are attacking. Speed category characters can perform Combination Manoeuvres as well as using Aerial Thrust and Aerial Escape moves. Technique category characters can perform Enhanced Strike and Counter Strike moves. If a character has at least two weapons they can be fused into a more powerful weapon. Naturally the stats for the new weapon will depend upon those that were fused for its creation. Whilst none of these game-play additions do much to dramatically change the experience, they are additions that fans of the series will appreciate.
There is no denying that Warriors Orochi can be an addictive experience. Playing through the Story Mode and developing your characters is just as addictive as ever and the new game-play additions certainly add to the experience. There some disappointments however. The AI essentially hasn't changed at all and at times the masses of enemies that you'll fight feel as though they aren't capable of putting up a challenge. Characters you are meant to defend can seemingly not give a fig about their own safety and often put themselves in danger, which can prove really infuriating at times. If you were hoping for an engaging storyline then you're not going to find it in Warriors Orochi as the storylines in the game are essentially a simple way of threading the battles together. After playing the various Empires versions of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games, which combined turn-based strategy with real-time battles, it’s fair to say that I haven't enjoyed the games where the focus is purely on the battles as much. There's no online mode in the game and that's both surprising and disappointing.
Whilst the game is undeniably better looking on the Xbox 360 there's not a lot of difference between the PlayStation 2 and 360 versions of the game. In fact you could say the 360 version is practically the same except that it's running at a higher resolution and therefore looks crisper. The 360 version supports 720p/1080i/1080p resolutions and is a 60Hz only game. Omega Force have used the same game engine for quite a while now and it's about time we had a game that took advantage of the 360's superior hardware. Even PlayStation 2 gamers will probably be disappointed that the game hasn't improved in terms of its visual quality for a few years now.
Warriors Orochi is fine for deaf gamers. All of the main dialogue in the game is subtitled. Mission descriptions and the mission introductions are subtitled and the text can be read at your own pace. During the combat the dialogue between the main characters is subtitled and these dialogues have character portraits and names placed alongside the dialogue so you'll always know who is saying what. This is actually quite important as there is a fair amount of dialogue that occurs during the battles. You're always made aware of what needs to be done too, as this is shown in text. There are some comments that aren't subtitled but to be honest they are of no real importance.
Anyone who hasn't appreciated the Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors series should really give Warriors Orochi a miss. Essentially, whilst the game is a mix of the two series and there are some differences here and there, Warriors Orochi is more of the same. Conversely if you are a fan of either the Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors series then you'll regard Warriors Orochi as a must. Even the most loyal Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors enthusiast would have to admit that certain elements of the game are disappointing in that they haven't been improved upon from previous versions. Xbox 360 owners will undoubtedly have expected a better looking game rather than a high resolution PlayStation 2 game. Owners of both consoles will be dismayed at the absence of an online mode and also that the AI hasn't been improved upon from previous games in the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series. Those who have enjoyed those games will enjoy Warriors Orochi. You can't help but feel a few alterations to the basic formula and some AI and graphical improvements wouldn't have gone amiss though.
Warriors Orochi is for fans of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series only. There are some differences from those two games but for the most part, it's more of the same.