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Dynasty Warriors 7 Review

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Game: Dynasty Warriors 7

Console: Playstation 3 & Xbox 360

Companies: Koei, W-Omega Force

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Conquest Knows No Boundaries

Ten years ago, Dynasty Warriors graced us with it’s presence on the Playstation 2, offering button bashing madness against hundreds upon hundreds of enemies and officers in a, soon to be, famous hack n slash series. Many people thought it might not catch on, oh how they were wrong….. 10 years later, the latest in the series, Dynasty Warriors 7, the principle was the same but everything else has changed, from the characters to the combat system and even level layouts.

This new game offers over 60 characters to play as making this DW game having the biggest character roster in the entire DW history, some returning characters and some brand new ones including a brand new kingdom to use. You have Wei, Wu, Shu and the newly added Jin kingdom, to those who aren’t familiar with the Jin force, it was created by Sima Yi but wasn’t a actual kingdom until Sima Zhao was made ruler and all 3 kingdoms were under the Sima rule.

Story Plot

The whole thing starts off with the Yellow Turban Rebellion and it’s leader Zhang Jiao as they rise in revolt of the current state of the Han Dynasty, in retaliation, He Jin invited generals from across China to wage war on the yellow turbans, the 3 main figures that joined were Cao Cao of Wei, Sun Jian of Wu and Liu Bei of Shu. After Zhang Jiao and the yellow turbans, came Dong Zhuo and the battle of Hu Lao Gate, Yuan Shao (Nobleman & Leader of the coalition army) ordered warriors from across the land to help out and overthrown Dong Zhuo, again Liu Bei, Cao Cao and Sun Jian answered the call once more.

Afterwards, the land slowly divides into 3 as the kingdoms of Wei, Wu and Shu continue to push themselves to find glory, power and a chance to unify the land but something else is amiss, a force that no one anticipated is forging, rising up and waging war on all armies of China to unify it and take it all for themselves, enter the Jin kingdom created by former Wei officer, Sima Yi, his ambition knows no bounds and so does his children who would later make the foundations of the kingdom but not everything is what it seems….

Gameplay

Dynasty Warriors 7 is, by far, the best looking in the history of the series and it’s also the most accurate in the story plot, the game is based on the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and it also has the most levels, most up-to-date graphics and combat system since it started 10 years ago.

The game now runs on 60 FPS, that is until you run into a large number of soldiers on one screen, then it starts slowing down to the average DW game, which is a shame as it looks superb at max frame rate and so free flowing yet to be lagging from the usual issues with too many on one screen. The game also can run on 3D graphics if you have a 3D TV, but since I haven’t, I can’t say anything about it so apologises about that.

One of the things you can perform during gameplay is the ability to switch between 2 weapons, if you played DW: Strikeforce, this will seem very similar to you but to those who don’t, you have a choice of 2 weapon slows in which you can place any weapon in those slots (As long as it’s within gender availability), you can gain and replace weapons at any time during in-game, any weapon with a EX sign on the weapon is that character’s speciality and can unleash a special move in mid-combo if you get the combination right.

You can choose from a VAST array of weapons and each character has different masteries of each weapon which is rated between 1 to 3 stars, one character could be 3 star in spear weapon in which s/he has high attack speed while using it and could be a 1 star in, lets say, a great sword, in which that character’s attack speed is very sluggish when using that weapon so look at the weapon list when using different character and try to use weapons that have 2 or 3 star ratings for that character to get the most out of him/her.

Each weapon also has a SEAL ability to unlock in which you can gain access to while using the equipped weapon and defeating officers with it, once to unlocked it, you can add that SEAL to any weapon with at least one SEAL slot. As you gain new weapon types or weapon levels, you can unlock new SEALS to release and use and as you gain more powerful weapons you can equip more SEALS. (Aswell as chance of the weapons getting elements to give you an advantage in tough fights)

As for the combat system itself, Koei removed the Renbu system and given DW7 the classic system we all know and love with a few twists, each character now has 2 musou attacks, once purchased from the character’s skills tree, all character has a standard musou attack with a single button, now with a second musou attack, you can perform them by either by pressing the button in mid-air or while holding the weapon switch button and each character has their own unique musou and EX attacks unlike DW6 where most of them shared the same moveset and musou attacks. Sure, DW7 does have major moveset cloning but it won’t bother you so much in this game, since there are so many weapons to use, you tend to either forget or forgive with the amount of effort put into it.

One thing you’ll notice is that the musou gauge is not the same as it normally is, you get given musou bars instead, fill each one can mean a musou attack can be performed, you can have upto 2 bars normally but you can unlock additional ones via weapon SEALS making it upto 4 bars, could be overkill to some players but to others it might be a blessing to get those high damaging combos.

Game Modes

There are just 3 actual gameplay modes in this one, Story Mode in which you choose 1 of 4 stories to experience, the Wei kingdom, the Wu kingdom, the Shu kingdom and the Jin kingdom. Each kingdom’s story mode is no walk in the park, each story will take you a fair few hours to complete which gives the mode longevity but not exactly a good thing. Some of the battles are either short lived or based on little skirmishes battles, about half of the battles in the story mode are major battles while some of them seems pointless but with that being said, it’s the most accurate in terms of character names (Been given proper pronunciation this time round, not just said how it sounds).

Story mode is the best way to power up and unlock most of the character roster but when it gets to each character during story mode, if you check the skills tree, that character earns all the points you’ve accumulated so far so it pretty much ruins the joy of earning it all naturally.

The worst part of story mode is the fact that the characters you play as are pretty much fixed, it can’t be changed even after doing story mode for the first time which can be annoying, sure, you get to experience the story from the chosen character’s point of view but if you ever wanted to play the stage again with someone else, prepare to be disappointed.

The next mode is basically one for new players to the series, Tutorial Mode, in this you go through several stages of knowing how the battle system works and describes the basics to weapon switching and SEALS. You play as Guan Yu’s adopted son, Guan Ping as he gets taught how to fight by Zhang Fei’s daughter, Xing Cai. Even if you played the series many many times over, it’s nice to remind yourself of the new things the game offers aswell as a nice achievement/trophy afterwards. (It’s quite a long tutorial to be honest, but still, it’s a nice feature for beginners)

The last mode is Conquest Mode, this is a big and new feature to the series, it’s like the Empires style but increased 10 fold, you start off in a province and work your way out all over China, completing stages, unlocking characters via legendary battles aswell as earning new weapons and animals to use in-game such as horses, tigers, wolves, etc. There is quite a bit to do, you can test your brain power in the Three Kingdoms quiz that the scholar offers everynow and again, you can develop a bond with other characters in which they can become your sworn allies and help you out whenever they are available, purchase the weapons from the dealer and if you can spare the gold, you can give weapons to the blacksmith and he will attempt to unlock any SEALS you haven’t done yet. There is also a merchant that comes every so often too, he offers discounts on 3 random weapons, offers any reinforcements you can purchase and if you can spare quite alot of gold, you can purchase special animals for you to use during battles.

You won’t be able to finish this mode in short notice, there is LOADS of areas to visit and complete, there is a legendary battle for each of the 62 characters and each one has 2 or 3 level each, that already is quite alot but there is also the provinces and the levels that gain access to each one, there is also levels that can increase the stats of the character, treasure levels to gain special weapons and a few special levels to unlock new horses. All in all, it’s a good mode and to be honest, even though there is no Free Mode in this game, I would like to consider Conquest Mode to be this game’s Free Mode as all levels can be played again and again.

Other Features

Being a typical Dynasty Warriors game, the music to this series is just the same as all others, rock much made by MASA but this time, the music as a little more authority, more theme suiting and powerful. Some of the music is just the usual rock which DW is famous for but there are some songs that have such a epic feeling about it and might make you want to listen to them again and again. Although you can choose your background music in Conquest mode, in story mode, some of the music doesn’t always suit the situation, but the famous Lu Bu theme song is still there so that is something that won’t ever go away.

There is Gallery option in which you can view any movies you’ve unlocked aswell as any wallpapers you can use as a loading background and you can visit each character’s model and hear their voices, actions and any costumes you might want to try out.

Finally there is the encyclopaedia, where you can learn from the history of each character, NPC officer and how the Three Kingdoms became to be and the battles they fought in, this might be useful for those who are having difficulty with the scholar’s Three Kingdoms quiz in Conquest Mode.

There is also upcoming DLCs for the game as announced by Koei themselves, some of the DLCs will be free and some will have to be purchased, these DLCs can feature extra levels, costumes and weapons aswell as a Japanese voice change in the sound option incase you think the english voices are quite lame, which some voices are unfortunately….

PROS

  • Best looking game in the entire series
  • Biggest character roster in DW history
  • Massive weapon listings means lots of style and moves
  • Story mode lasts many hours
  • Conquest is fun and even more so with co-op
  • ONLINE CO-OP!!! 
  • Finally adding the Jin kingdom
CONS
  • The music isn’t to everyone’s taste
  • Characters in story mode are fixed
  • Some levels in story mode are pretty lame
  • Online co-op is only for Conquest mode
  • Some of the voices are awful
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Ziedrich’s Blog rating – 9/10
There are quite a few bad spots like the moveset cloning and the story mode restrictions but it’s forgiven by the mass amount of weapons and unique musou/EX attacks that each character offers and all modes are fun to play along with great looking graphics making Dynasty Warriors 7 the best DW game EVER!!! If any “Expert” reviewer drops this with a poor review, slap them in the face, Dynasty Warriors is here to stay so they better get used to it! Thank you KOEI!!!

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