Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Box Art(http://www.tecmokoeiamerica.com/dw8)  Rated T for Teen by ESRB.  There is a darn good reason why Tecmo Koei were one of the only 3rd part developers, Japanese or otherwise in the main hall at E3. Tecmo Koei over the past handful of years has taken incredible strides to reinvigorate their key franchises. Dynasty Warriors may be there most “milked” franchise, but the past few iterations of the game have all been excellent. Dynasty Warriors 8, however took the franchise and gave it a huge dose of steroids, but is the boost enough to win over new fans?

Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Box ArtDynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Logo(http://www.tecmokoeiamerica.com/dw8)  Rated T for Teen by ESRB.  There is a darn good reason why Tecmo Koei were one of the only 3rd part developers, Japanese or otherwise in the main hall at E3. Tecmo Koei over the past handful of years has taken incredible strides to reinvigorate their key franchises. Dynasty Warriors may be there most “milked” franchise, but the past few iterations of the game have all been excellent. Dynasty Warriors 8, however took the franchise and gave it a huge dose of steroids, but is the boost enough to win over new fans?



Presentation:
Dynasty Warriors 8 pulls a new group of aesthetics, tactics, and ideas in to the mix. While visually, graphics and art direction has not changed much at all from the previous 3 games, the story of Dynasty Warriors has finally progressed towards the end of Cao Cao’s reign. This may not be an entirely accurate portrayal of the three kingdoms romance, but it is pretty close to the original novel form, and all liberties considered DW8 actually moves closer to historical accuracy than previous iterations. Character costumes have also never been more unique and fitting of the characters that wear them. While some characters have donned more armor than before, others have made a move towards traditional formal clothing, but in all cases colors are more vibrant and patterns are more ornate than ever before. DW8 has also added a handful of new characters for players to tear through armies with. Of course none of these charms help with the quality of the game, if the game cant handle the most important part of the franchise; mass armies.

Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots

Graphics:
Warriors 8 is, and should be known as one of the crowning achievements of the musou series in this gen. Dynasty Warriors 6 Empires was able to pump hundreds of enemies on to screen at once while you plow through them. Dynasty Warriors 7 and it’s off shoots, including the spectacular Warriors Orochi 3 had issues managing the rendering of crowds without pop in. DW8 carefully walks that balance of the number of enemies not surpassing what the engine can handle, while not disappointing players with too few enemies. Enemy pop in still exists, but the shear number of on screen enemies hides that issue well. Texture work is nothing ground breaking, but fair enough for the rendering style.  Animations on the other hand are superb. Fluidity of the moves has never been more apparent, which makes following your chosen general in the crowds that much easier. All that said, I cannot emphasize enough how gorgeous DW8 is. Warriors 8 may not be pushing any boundaries but what it does, DW8 does beautifully.  An almost non existent amount of frame rate dips and slow down lend credo to the theory that many fans had about the 360’s weaker architecture hindering the game.

Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots

Sound:
Like every Warriors title, sound design is far from flawless but very good. The sound track is, as usual, fantastic with truly awesome speed metal symphonics.  This time however, Omega Force added a lot more strictly cinematic scores, which greatly improve the character interactions and storytelling. Sound effects are par for the course, with heavy hitting crushes and lightning fast slashes. Everything is appropriate but not particularly new or groundbreaking.

Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots

Gameplay:
Dynasty Warriors 8 won’t be anything particularly jarring for series fans or those familiar with the games. However, there are a few changes and additions that propel DW8 into new territories. Much like 7, DW8 has brought back the weapon-switching mechanic, which helps boost your combo meter. New to the series is the berserk mode like “storm rush”, which grants you ridiculous speed and strength, and a new more powerful musou attack. You can also counter enemy attacks in a rock paper scissors style method, as well as a guard break which grants you a chance for a rapid button mash attack. While not much has changed at it’s core, Dynasty Warriors 8 has tweaked every facet of the game. Balancing has been improved greatly and the new additions to the combat engine make ripping entire armies apart all the more entertaining and artful. 

Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots   Dynasty Warriors 8 (Xbox 360/PS3) Screenshots

Conclusion:
Dynasty Warriors 8 knows it’s own strengths and weaknesses well. By keeping the strong elements as they are, but polishing weak areas, and adding some shiny new bells and whistles; Koei Tecmo have made sure that Dynasty Warriors 8 and it’s inevitable spin offs will be acclaimed. With Samurai Warriors 4 hopefully getting it’s official reveal at TGS in September, DW8 is a great harbinger of the greatness to come. Fans of the series, you have a must buy in DW8. Those not familiar with the series could not pick a more fantastic entry to start with.

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