Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce PlayStation 3
Published by: Tecmo Koei Europe
Developed by: Omega Force
Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce for the PSP attempted to breathe new life into the long running Dynasty Warriors series and for the most part it succeeded. It's no surprise then that the game has now made the journey to the PlayStation 3. On the PlayStation 3 Strikeforce still proves to be an enjoyable game that fans of the Dynasty Warriors series will want to purchase, but its PSP roots are showing through a little and the game doesn't really take full advantage of the PlayStation 3 hardware which is a little disappointing.
Your first course of action is to choose which "Force" you wish to represent. In the single-player game, there are five chapters to play through for each force and a ton of side quests to be undertaken. You can either fight for the force of Wei and serve under Cao Cao, or for Shu and represent Liu Bei or maybe you'd prefer to opt for the force of Wu and fight under Sun Jian. Once you've picked your chosen force, you'll have a choice of between eleven to thirteen characters to play as. In total there are around 35 characters you can initially choose from. Once you've picked your character you'll find yourself in a village. The village will act as your hub in Strikeforce and it's here you'll reside whilst between missions. The game also supports co-operative and competitive online play (there are sadly no local multiplayer options however) and it works surprisingly well.
There are several facilities (Gatekeeper, Notice board, Market, Blacksmith, Workshop, Academy, Exchange, Storehouse etc.) in the village that you can make use of to customise your character and their weapons. The Academy allows you to use materials (materials are acquired during the course of the missions) to acquire Chi skills. The Workshop allows you to use materials to make orbs and these can be added to your weapons in order to give the weapon a particular effect or enhance your character's abilities. The Notice board allows you to take side missions, which are rated out of five for their difficulty, when you feel like taking a break from the main storyline. When you want to take story related missions you'll simply visit the Gatekeeper. Most of the facilities can be upgraded by officer cards that you'll acquire from characters who visit the village.
As the game was originally designed to be played on the PSP, it's no surprise to find that the battles are short and snappy affairs. In many respects this is a refreshing change but missions are on a far smaller scale here than in a typical Dynasty Warriors game and the battle areas are much smaller than what you might be used to. You're not faced with quite so many enemies but that works out well. What is pleasing however is that the enemies seem as though they are determined to stop you and seem more active than in previous games in the series. That said, the AI is far from being challenging and it's only the sheer numbers you'll face which will pose you any kind of problems. You'll have the ability to change between two weapons (which can be equipped prior to commencement of a battle) and of course you can still perform musou attacks.
The PlayStation 3 version of Strikeforce does look better but it's not the huge increase in graphical quality that many would have hoped for. The maps you'll fight on are still quite simplistic in their layout but there is a fair amount of variation in the terrain to prevent things from getting too repetitive. I suppose the big disappointment is that the game doesn't really take advantage of the superior graphical horse power that the PlayStation 3 has over the PSP. The loading times can be a little irritating. Thankfully you do have an option to do an install. The install takes up 1,892MB and does make a noticeable difference with loading times being much quicker so if you have the hard drive space available, it's certainly worth taking the required few minutes to install the game.
Strikeforce is fine for deaf gamers. The cinematic sequences are subtitled so you'll be able to appreciate the dialogue in them. Tutorial messages are given in text and you can read them at your own pace. The dialogue in the cut scenes doesn't have any character names or portraits accompanying the subtitles. In other parts of the game however, you will find character portraits and names placed alongside the dialogue. The mission victory, defeat and bonus objectives are all shown in text and you'll never be at a loss to understand what needs to be done.
If you're a Dynasty Warriors enthusiast and didn't get around to playing the PSP version of Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce, it's pretty much guaranteed you're going to enjoy what the game has to offer. Strikeforce breathes fresh air into a series that's been rather stagnant for too long and there are some interesting twists here to really freshen things up despite it being a true Dynasty Warriors experience at heart. Of course if you've already played the PSP version that was released last year it's fair to say that you've already seen most of what the game has to offer and there's little here to impress those who have never liked the series. For everyone else however, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce is certainly worth your attention even if it doesn't make the most of the PlayStation 3's capabilities.