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It’s a Warriors game and Hack ‘n’ Slash can’t get any better.

Welcome to the third instalment of the Warriors Orochi series, the premise of the series takes the characters from the other entries in the Warriors games (Dynasty and Samurai) and places them into battle with supernatural beings from another dimension. To say that it is a strange combination would be a major understatement but in this case it is something more than strange, the concept has allowed the developers to go to town with regards to the established canon of the series. However, fighting the supernatural isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

Fighting the supernatural isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

There are many games from various developers that set you against hordes of undead or other demon-like creatures and they come in all different flavours, but are many contained within the Shooter genre. Warriors Orochi moves them to the well-worn Hack ‘n’ Slash genre that Omega Force is so well associated with. However, this feel like a pretty good fit. If there is one thing that the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors can do it is Hack ‘n’ Slash. However, don’t expect to see a massive change in the gameplay that you get here.

The gameplay is largely the same as you have seen before, you as a warrior from either the Dynasty or Samurai Warriors series take on hordes of enemies with the basic mission to cut through them. There are a few objectives thrown into the mix such as killing certain commanders, but that still isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before in the previous games; in some cases this is actually a step backwards compared to the previous games.

The biggest difference comes from the story and how it impacts on the game, the story revolves around the Hydra coming through another tear in between dimensions (this happens a fair amount as players of the previous Orochi games will know) and pretty much destroys the world, leaving Ma Chao, Sima Zhao, and Hanbei Takenaka with just a rag-tag band of soldiers. This is where things change dramatically, after the destruction a mystic Kaguya appears and offers them the chance to prevent the world’s fate. The mystic sends Ma Chao, Sima Zhao, and Hanbei Takenaka back in time to before the Hydra appears, but still armed with the knowledge of what is to come. From there you are tasked to unite the warriors from the different series to defeat the Hydra. This change isn’t a massive one to be fair but it is big enough to add a slight different strategic element to the proceedings.

The roster in the game is massive! It has over 120 characters to play with giving you ample choice to combine in battle, the roster also includes characters from other Tecmo Koei series too. The large roster compliments the new battle mechanic of on-the-fly character switching. You can switch between three different characters that you pick at the start of battle. This addition is especially important as compared to other games in the previous series the battles are much longer, some battles will last over an hour and playing as the same character does begin to wear thin. The ability to swap characters in game does open up a few new tactical options for gameplay as well. If changing in mid-combat then you can chain combos together to enhance their power as well as opening up enemies to the all-powerful ‘Triple Musou’. Characters are divided up into categories: Wonder, Power, Speed and Technique. Each of these categories offer different bonuses and unique abilities for the character as well as having abilities and moves unique to the individually too.

Playing with a certain character does have its advantages, because as you battle with them they gain Experience Points which improves move sets and various attributes. In addition, as you play through with a particular weapon you can increase the proficiency with that weapon which in turn grants damage bonuses. However, these additional bonuses are lost if you change weapon even within the same set. As mentioned before you do need to build ‘Bonds’ between the characters; which has been lifted straight from Dynasty Warriors 7. Increasing these bonds allows you to call them into battle to aid you, which can make a difference on high difficulty levels.

The strange thing about Warriors Orochi 3 is that it seems that Omega Force has ignored a lot of the evolutions that the series has taken over the last few titles. Take the recently released Dynasty Warriors: NEXT, where you can direct officers under your command to attack or defend bases or enemies or in the 3DS’ Samurai Chronicles where you could move around the map with different characters in positions to speed up travelling around the map. It just seems strange to skip some excellent additions to the series.

Moving off the single player experience there is a Multiplayer mode, but it is in co-op play. For the most part the mode is pretty dull, however Musou Battlefields offers something that will interest most for a while at least. In Musou Battlefields, you can take a scenario from the story mode and tweak it to set: what generals are on which side or what the type of troops that can be used in the battle. It isn’t anything ground-breaking or new but is an interesting experience at least.

It’s a Warriors game and Hack ‘n’ Slash can’t get any better.

One of the most annoying things is that the game’s voice over is in Japanese dub. This can complicate things in battles as often other officers will instruct you, but it is in Japanese which means that you will need to read the subtitles below to understand the instructions. Needless to say breaks up the game, especially as it is an action packed title, but hardcore fans will probably appreciate the original voice acting. But that isn’t to say it is a title that will only appeal to hardcore fans. While the story does continue from the previous games in the Orochi series it doesn’t matter; you can be a complete newbie and still be able to enjoy the game. After all, it’s a Warriors game and Hack ‘n’ Slash can’t get any better.

Rating: AverageReview Policy(version tested: Xbox 360)

You can order Warriors Orochi  3 from ShopTo on Ps3 and Xbox 360.

Edited On 15 Apr, 2012

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