(http://www.koei.com/strikeforce/) Rated Teen by ESRB. The Dynasty Warriors series have come far from its first one-on-one fighting game released in 1997 for Playstation, now it is a whole different game with many more features. Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce was originally released in Japan as Shin Sangokumusou Multi Raid. This version of Dynasty Warriors takes multiplayer action online over PlayStation Network or XboxLive. Instead of having a local wireless PSP party, you can just go on the online city and join a game. Also the difficulty is easier compared to the PSP version, with the new AI controlled officers there is much less level-grinding as the game progresses in difficulty.

(http://www.koei.com/strikeforce/) Rated Teen by ESRB. The Dynasty Warriors series have come far from its first one-on-one fighting game released in 1997 for Playstation, now it is a whole different game with many more features. Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce was originally released in Japan as Shin Sangokumusou Multi Raid. This version of Dynasty Warriors takes multiplayer action online over PlayStation Network or XboxLive. Instead of having a local wireless PSP party, you can just go on the online city and join a game. Also the difficulty is easier compared to the PSP version, with the new AI controlled officers there is much less level-grinding as the game progresses in difficulty.

Presentation:

All of the maps in this game are different from each other, but it’s the same zones being connected together differently to make a new map. Thankfully this generic modeling doesn’t apply to the playable characters, the mystic warriors of ancient China, who come with their unique character design. The “special” officers, like Lu Bu and Cao Pi all have a different face compared to all others; on the other hand, the officers that aren’t “special” share a few templates based on their job. The warriors are divided among 3 kingdoms, Wu, Wei and Shu, each with their goal to unify China. The similarly predictable stories that connect the warriors’ fights are some inventive interpretations of a historical fiction work. But the story is only here to give minimal meaning to division of the warriors into different kingdoms, and it had taken a major step back in comparison to other Dynasty Warriors games as well as other action titles. But the removal of the text-based fiction telling may even be considered an improvement, since it’s done to favor more intense and frequent hacking n’ slashing.

       

Graphics:

Dynasty Warriors, unlike the other new games being released, aren’t focusing so much on graphics, but more on game play. They did add in a few little details into the game to make it more detailed though. There are fine details such as dust flying when you run or walk, the pieces of crumbled weaponry, and sparks coming from weapon clashes, but overall it is still slightly dated despite being improved from the PSP version. They don’t affect the game all that much from its enjoyableness, but little details like plants not swaying in the breeze or the grass being 2D really catches your eye. There are also few occasions of frame rate dropping much like it had in the past when there is too much on screen.

 

The camera can be messy and annoying at times. For example, when an enemy is directly above your head, the camera tries to look up at him or her by making the screen move in a disorienting circle. Also, the lock-on feature automatically switches to a new enemy or weaponry after the previous one has been destroyed. This then, sometimes turns your character around to a seemingly random direction to face the new enemy, which can be annoying and frustrating when it contradicts your plan in heated action.

 

Sounds:

The music and sound effects are mostly the same ones from the other Dynasty Warriors games. There are recycled sound effects, such when you destroy a crate, smash a vase, or when you walk or run, from the old Dynasty Warriors games. With new additions to the game, more sounds and music have been added. With over 40 characters, getting voice over for this title is no small feat. The quality of the voice work can range anywhere from fitting to forced, depending on the character’s traits. At the very least, the game’s electro-rock tracks are still good for smashing ancient Chinese peons to.

       

Gameplay:

Strikeforce makes quite a few gameplay improvements over the main series, including customizable weapons, Chi that function as enhancing accessories, and most notably the nearly-revamped combat with the ability to use several jumps and dashes, the special fury mode, and being able to switch to an alternative weapon instantly.

 

Each of the characters specializes in their weapon of choice but may use any other weapon they meet the requirements for as a backup, carrying a total of 2 weapons. So for example if you like using bows you can choose a character that specializes in bows to do more damage to enemies. The alternate weapon complements the action greatly, allowing characters to have a second approach for situations that would otherwise be difficult for the character. Being able to switch weapon mid-combo at the press of a button opens up many possibilities for making creative chains of attacks as well.

 

Also the buttons are easily learned by randomly pressing one to see what happens. Sometimes though, during game play you might accidently press a button you didn’t intent to. Furthermore, things like commanding an officer to do something or switching from your sub weapon to your main, or vice versa, are easily done and don’t get in the way of fighting. Aerial combat makes it so you can add a little twist to your fighting by chaining ground and aerial attacks, and it also adds more combos.

 

The fury mode, chi and the orbs give extra help during game play. Fury mode, when activated, adds one extra jump and dash to help get you to places much faster which would help if you’re in a hurry to finish the quest. The chi can also add more jumps and dashes and the orbs can add a status ailment to your enemies when you hit them. The dashing, aerial combat, ally officer command, and weapon switches, all of that together utilizes every button on the PS3 controller, which is bliss for some but confusing for others. However, it is a blessing for the Dynasty Warriors to have more intense actions.

 

Chi, orbs, and weapon upgrades are purchased in your city’s upgradeable shops. Every so often, an officer will appear and you can talk to him or her to get a card of them that helps in upgrading your city’s shops. Small touches like these give the player quite a bit of initiative to play more quests to satisfy the upgrade frenzy.

 

Exceeding both its PSP brother and previous versions is the multiplayer mode supporting up to 4 players. In multiplayer you can play any quests unlocked in single player, which can help you if you’re stuck on a quest and need a hand. But it can be a double-edged sword. While in single player AI officers can die as many times as they want to and you can die 1 or 3 times depending on the quest, but in multiplayer the lives are shared. Also, it experiences some lag and de-synchronization issues. The other players sometimes skip from frame to frame and are slower in movement than how fast they’re actually supposed to be moving. An even worse problem is when a quest is finished without triggering the victory condition for everyone, the whole party is stuck in the game indefinitely. But the help from 3 other actual players is still welcomed weather it is for item hunting or finishing story quests.

       

Innovation:

There have been many innovations in this game that’ll help Koei with making their future Dynasty Warriors games even more enjoyable. New options such as the multiplayer are quite refreshing for the series because it’s really fun playing with others. The AI controlled officers add a helping hand to make battles easier. The different facilities could also help make game play easier too. With the Blacksmith you can make better weapons to do more damage and all the other facilities will also help you on your journey in a way or two. In the new multiplayer you don’t just have to do quests, but can also play PvP with two teams of two, two teams of one or one team with two players and one team with one player, depending on how many players there are in the city. What’s more, the new alternate weapons make it so you don’t have to keep using the same dull weapon over and over again.

 

Longevity:

You could easily be kept intrigued for many, many days with the new online multiplayer.  Additionally, unlocking new characters, getting trophies and in game treasures may keep you playing for an even greater period. There are many extra quests aside the “main” ones that advances the force’s story, some are even cross over quests bringing in characters from Tecmo games. When you beat the game on your first chosen force you can change to another force to unlock even more usable characters to use during game play if you’re the type of person who wants to get every little drop out of a game. Also you’d may be curious about how the other forces felt during that period in Ancient China, that’ll probably make you want to play through the other forces too because each force has its own story.

 

Conclusion:

It is quite interesting to see Koei spicing up the core hack and slash formula of the Dynasty Warriors series. The most interesting change is probably the ability to take the fight to the skies and therefore able to ignore most of the peons. The faster pace of which the characters move around about the battlefield also breathes new life into the game, requiring an approach totally different from the main Dynasty Warriors games. In fact, some of the fights are so fast and gravity-defying that the characters are more believable as androids or robots. It wouldn’t be surprising to find those physics in the next Dynasty Warriors: Gundam game.

 

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