Game: Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce System: PlayStation 3
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Released: February 16, 2010
Review by: Kosamus Chino (TQstaff)
When you think of Dynasty Warriors, what immediately comes to mind? The massive battles of course! Something that doesn’t come to mind is online co-op. The one long overdue addition that has kept the franchise from really expanding or evolving is finally available to home console owners. Last year PlayStation Portable owners had the chance to team up online with three other warriors to visit the “Three Kingdoms” era in Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce. Now PlayStation 3 owners finally get a home console port of Strikeforce and an opportunity to claim the land of China with three friends online to get their FURY on. So now that “DW” includes online co-op, does it hold up? And what other additions do home console owners get with the latest “DW”? Read our review below to see our take on Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce for PS3 and see if it’s right for you.
Presentation and Story
The course of this adventure centers loosely around the history of the “Three Kingdoms” era of China. It begins by having you choose one of the three kingdoms – Wei, Wu or Shu. Each kingdom has their own set of warriors for you to chose from and over time you will be able to play as many of them as they become unlocked or traded to other players for. Primarily your ultimate goal is to control the land of China but plenty of side quests are also available to prove your worth. Their are six chapters of missions that carry the story forward with a cinematic before and after each chapter to keep you interested.
Even though the Dynasty Warriors games have always been centered around the series’ trademark of huge battlefields, Strikeforce steers a bit away from that by having multiple focused sections during missions that you must clear to progress. Some of the sections include large castles with plenty of artillery and giant animal beasts that cover a majority of the screen. The casual infantry enemies are now more aggressive and varied in abilities and will not go easy on you by taking turns. The real threats may be the super powerful Generals that wait for you at the end of levels, but don’t expect the Commanders that guard the gates for each section to be push overs either. The fact is, the Generals and Commanders are just as powerful or not more than you. So just when you think your unstoppable one minute, you will get slaughtered relentlessly the next.
The biggest inclusion to Strikeforce is the HUB village or city. This is were many of the newly included RPG elements come into play. The player will spend their time making purchases at the market, leveling up weapons at the blacksmith, purchasing orb powers for characters four appendages, training at the academy, storing goods and building your single and online party. You will also find Officers periodically in the village that give cards which can be equipped to level up your village during missions. Example- The higher your blacksmith level, the more powerful weapons and upgrades will become available.
Dynasty Warriors has always suffered from the last generation look of the PS2 and Xbox when making the transitions over to current generation. Strikeforce is no different. The graphics just can’t hold up to the mark of other game being released. It’s not the worst looking game, but I find myself constantly unimpressed by the visuals. Sure the cinematic look good, but I think the modern gamer on the PS3 has been spoiled by other great looking titles. Strikeforce still manages impress on other levels such as the large beasts and enemies that cover the screen as your character evolved into its’ FURY mode. Which is a transformation into a much more powerful and sparkly version of yourself (Think Dragon Ball Z). The bland backgrounds and many enemies do tend to get repetitive as you progress through the story. I also found their to be quite a bit of slowdown and clipping when in the large multi-leveled battleground, most commonly found at the end of a chapter. Omega should have made that a focus to keep the gameplay smooth after so many Dynasty Warrior games.
The gameplay is were Strikeforce truly shines because of the unique customization of your characters. The Orbs purchased in the village can drastically alter your playing style by adapting them to your appendages. The Orbs can increase your dashes, jump counts, healing, damage, enemy stuns and others attributes that affect your entire party. Whether it be online or off, you will rarely see anyone with all the same powers. The six weapon categories have now been given the ability to upgrade to your play style. Your character has made the biggest leap in the series. The ability to fly, float and dash around the battlefield to keep the opposition on its’ toes has become a big part of the game play. FURY MODE is probably what saves this game from just being another hack n’ slash. Now each character has his or her own transformation into a SUPER POWERED version of themselves. In FURY, you are chaos on two feet and nothing can stand in your way as long as you use the series staple strategy of SQUARE, SQUARE, SQUARE, SQUARE, TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE SQUARE. Which honestly still can get a bit repetitive and boring.
During combat in single player, you have to power to give orders to your three-AI controlled teammates with just a pull of the trigger and a button push. The AI are actually quite smart and will not need much baby sitting. But I did find the game to be extremely difficult in single player even with the great AI. That is why I recommend playing completely online because you will need the help of high leveled human players just to get through Chapter 2. Be careful because the Generals can be ridiculously cheap because they can have the same upgrades as you. I found myself constantly being juggled in the corner for an excruciating period of time before I was able to dash to safety before it started all over again.
The audio isn’t much to brag about but their are no real complaints either. The sound department could have added some battle chants for enemies to make me feel like I’m in an epic battle. The special attacks and transformation effects are very pleasing as you battle hordes of enemies.
Wishes or Changes
THE CAMERA! It is too sensitive and those with motion sickness will not be happy warriors. I found myself using a bigger strategy to control the camera more than fighting enemies. (That is a big problem) The game does feature an auto lock, but I would only recommend using it on Boss character because on normal enemies it will constantly lock on to enemies you already killed for longer than needed. You will notice the problem the first time you reach a multi-leveled battle and your camera can’t be controlled fluidly enough to have precise control of your actions. You will be dashing around to find an enemy for him to be just a meter above you before you get caught in his 30 second juggle combo. Adding some sort of camera options so I could pan out farther would really help Strikeforce to become a game I would want to play without screaming obscenities.
Another problem is at the end of an online mission at the Victory or Defeat screen. It will sometimes freeze and lock up your system, and their is no auto-save! I had finished the same Chapter 2 end mission five times before it finally let me return to the city so i could save. A patch could probably fix this.
TQ Bottom Line
With 10 playable character for each faction and 41 playable in all. Their is much to come back to with every play. Strikeforce is definitely a leap in the Dynasty Warriors universe because of the addition of the RPG system and the online co-op. Their is no split-screen, but it won’t be missed. If you love your hack n’ slash games or Dynasty Warriors, you will not be disappointed. The online is were the true fun is had. If you and your friends love massive battle, this is the game to get if you need a break from your guns.
3 michelas out of 5