Warriors Orochi 2 Xbox 360
Published by: Koei
Developed by: Omega Force
Release Date: Out Now
Few games seem to polarise opinions like the Warriors titles. The Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors divide opinion quite dramatically. There are gamers who can't get enough of them and there are those who play the next iteration expecting the whole formula to have somehow changed quite dramatically and they take an instant dislike to it when they find it hasn't changed much at all. Given the popularity of these games it's hardly likely that the games are going to be changed in a dramatic fashion. Sure there are disappointments with Warriors Orochi 2, our main complaints from the first Warriors Orochi game are still here, but it's still going to appeal to fans of the other Warriors titles.
As you probably know, Warriors Orochi is essentially a mix of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series with the evil Serpent King Orochi thrown in for good measure. The game offers a Story Mode, Free Mode, VS Mode, Survival Mode and a Dream Mode. The Story Mode offers five stories each made up of a number of scenarios, with one each for Orochi, Shu, Wei, Wu and Samurai. Story Mode can also be played co-operatively. Free Mode allows you to pick any three characters and compete in any of the scenarios you've unlocked in Story Mode. VS Mode allows you to play four different mini-games against a friend. The games on offer are Steeplechase, Tag Team, Elimination and Tower. Survival Mode requires you to string as many battle victories together as possible (online leaderboards are kept). Finally Dream Mode which offers its own set of scenarios to complete.
In truth Warriors Orochi 2 is a very similar experience to Warriors Orochi. There are over a dozen new characters and weapons and as mentioned above even a couple of new modes but the core experience is just the same. You'll still have three fighters who you can switch between at any point. During the course of a battle the characters you use will gain experience and level up and you'll get to level them up and improve their abilities when you're not in a battle by distributing the growth points you'll have earned during a battle. This gives you the option to either make your strong characters even stronger or to beef up those who you haven't used much on the battlefield. Levelling up the characters is one of the features that make the game such an addictive experience. The same could be said about the ability to fuse weapons together to create more powerful weapons for your characters.
What is disappointing with Warriors Orochi 2, irrespective of whether you are a fan of the Warriors games or not, is that certain issues from the previous titles in the series still haven't been addressed. The enemy AI is about as hopeless as you'll find. I played the game on all of the four difficulty settings and certainly for the Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty settings the enemies are pretty thick. Surrounded by a multitude of enemies it's possible to simply stand there and have to wait before any of them will attack you. Far too often it feels as though you can simply hack and slash your way through them almost without any resistance. It's only the main characters in a scenario that put up any kind of challenge. There's still no online play which is disappointing as it limits the possibilities for playing against human opposition.
Visually, Warriors Orochi 2 doesn't make the most of the graphical power of the Xbox 360. The character models look quite good to be fair but it's very disappointing to see enemy hordes simply pop into view. You'll also notice slain enemies disappear into thin air which is extremely disappointing. The draw distance is also very disappointing and you'll see buildings unveiled from the distance fogging as you walk towards them. On the PlayStation 2 this was understandable but on the Xbox 360 it's unforgiveable. The frame rate is mostly OK ,although some minor dips are noticeable. The camera can be annoying at times and it requires a fair amount of alteration during battle.
Warriors Orochi 2 won't cause deaf gamers any real problems. Tutorial messages are exclusively in text and you can read these at your own pace. The game's cutscenes are subtitled, although there are no character names or portraits placed alongside the text. During the in-game dialogue however you will see character portraits and names placed alongside the dialogue so you're always aware of who is saying what. Some of these comments are extremely repetitive however. Orochi says "Entropy will always triumph" that many times it makes you not want to play through any of the scenarios that involve using him.
Your opinion of Warriors Orochi 2 will come down to whether or not you're still enjoying what the Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors or the previous Warriors Orochi had to offer and whether you want what is largely more of the same. Warriors Orochi 2 doesn't reinvent Omega Force's mass combat formula and there's nothing here to reinvigorate the interest of those who have lost interest in the Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors titles. Even fans of Warriors Orochi should only consider this if they are happy to have a game that doesn't differ much at all. Whilst we certainly didn't expect the game to differ all that much, because as we said at the top of the review it wouldn't make sense to change a formula that sells well, it's a shame that online play is still absent and that the AI is still way below what it should be. There are still some visual aspects of the game that plainly show their PlayStation 2 roots which is very disappointing given that the Xbox 360 is almost three years old. In short it's a game for diehard fans only.