Dynasty Warriors 6 PlayStation 3
Published by: Koei
Developed by: Omega Force
Release Date: Out Now
Whilst Dynasty Warriors 6, the latest in the mass combat action game series that is based on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel, isn't the first game in the series to appear on a 'next-generation' console, it's the first to be designed from the ground up with just the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in mind. As you might expect, the game doesn't deviate much from the formula which isn't that surprising given how popular the series has been over the years. That said, the developers have added some new twists to the game-play and whilst these aren't anything major they do help to add a bit of freshness to the experience.
Certainly in regards to the game modes on offer, little seems to have changed. The modes on offer are Musou Mode, Free Mode and Challenge Mode. You can also access the character and warhorse models etc., in the Camp mode as well as find out information on the officers, timelines and The Three Kingdoms, amongst other things, in the Encyclopaedia. Musou Mode is the game's main mode and is essentially a story mode where you can play scenarios (and on completion unlock additional ones) for each of the games factions. Free Mode allows you to replay the Musou Mode missions giving you additional opportunities to develop your officers. The Challenge Mode gives you a good amount of challenges to try your hand at. You can test your skill by trying to kill as many enemies as possible whilst remaining unscathed or test your speed by attempting to travel to every base as quickly as possible or test your agility by collecting as many pouches as you can.
The key differences in Dynasty Warriors 6 probably won't seem that pronounced at first but when you take them all together they do make the game a slightly different experience. Your character can now swim through water, climb ladders, perform sneak attacks and generally make better use of the environment. This has a surprising effect on how you play a mission and means you have less artificial boundaries to constrain your movements. The character upgrade system has been reworked and there is now a kind of tech tree system which works well. The game features the new Renbu attack system that rewards your efforts for stringing large consecutive kill combos together. The more consecutive kills you can amass, the more effective your attacks become. This isn't that noticeable to begin with but as your character develops the effects of the Renbu attack system become more pronounced.
There are some disappointments to be had with Dynasty Warriors 6. There are less playable officers here than in previous versions and there are quite a few shared abilities, which make the included characters feel a little less special. You'll have to turn the difficulty level up if you don't want to experience rather thick AI opponents that are simply there for the taking. With the difficulty turned up you can face a real challenge but it makes victories all the sweeter. Probably the biggest disappointment however is the lack of an online multiplayer mode. Musou Mode supports two-player offline multiplayer gaming but there is no online gaming and that's rather a shame as it would have been a major addition to the series.
Dynasty Warriors 6 sees the series move away from the PlayStation 2 style graphics and it is all the more pleasing for it. The character models are much improved and the animations have also received an upgrade. The maps you'll do battle on are also much more aesthetically pleasing. There are some of the ugly aspects that have remained from the earlier games. You'll still see hordes of enemies just pop in from nowhere and similarly disappear from view when they are retreating. Given the theoretical graphical muscle the PlayStation 3 has, this is a little disappointing to say the least. At least the frame rate remains constant throughout even when there are many enemies on screen at once. There are a range of fancy blurring effects that have been used and it all looks rather swish. There are some rather impressive cutscenes that have been woven into the action quite nicely.
Deaf gamers won't have any real problems with Dynasty Warriors 6. Subtitles are enabled by default and the game's cutscenes are subtitled, although there are no character names or portraits for the cutscene dialogue. All communications with fellow and enemy officers during a mission are subtitled and these do have character names and portraits placed alongside the dialogue so you'll know exactly who is saying what. All of the information in the Encyclopaedia is in text. Tutorial messages are also text only. In fact there is little to complain about in regards to Dynasty Warriors 6 support for deaf gamers.
Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn't do anything to appeal to those who have previously shunned the series but then again why should it? The Dynasty Warriors series has always been one that has given the fans more of what they like and Dynasty Warriors 6 continues this tradition. There have been some minor changes to the formula which do have a bigger effect on the overall experience than you might think but fans of the series are pretty much guaranteed to appreciate what the game has to offer. The lack of online play is unfortunate however and it's a feature that future releases in the series really need to include. Dynasty Warriors 6 is certainly a step in the right direction however.