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Dynasty Warriors 8 Review

With a game that starts off with a horse doing a barrel roll in the opening intro screen you just know you are in for a treat and Dynasty Warriors 8 does not disappoint.

The age old argument of “it’s just the same game” does start to wear a little thin, but that is the general direction of where we are in the history of console games, they are mainly re-releases or revamps of previous titles, with ever-so-little extra updates. Look at the FIFA’s, PGA Tours and Call of Duty games, they have repeated an awful lot of the same tried and tested formula for years now, so why does it only seem to be the Warriors games that get vocal disapproval? These games have been coming out for a solid fifteen years now, switching between the Chinese tale of the Three Kingdoms in the Dynasty games and the many wars in Japan's ancient history with the Samurai Warriors games and a hell of a lot of other games in-between. Dynasty Warriors 8 takes us back to the era based from the novel the Romance of the Three Kingdoms; but even though we have trod this path many times in the past, never before has it looked and played so well.

We yet again find ourselves able to choose from the kingdoms of Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin, offering over 70 characters and many storylines as we experience the many battles that took place as they each tried to take total control over the Three Kingdoms of China. The main pull of this game is the action and as ever, Dynasty Warriors 8 seldom lets up, placing you in the middle of some huge battlefields and using a simple but progressive combo system that lets you create long chains of attacks with the two weapons you are able to take to the field. Though for the majority of the game you will be slashing away at the hordes of enemies there is also a tactical element to the game with the ever present map in the top right of the screen constantly flashing areas of concern, sometimes it can be an ally in distress, other times a new enemy boss character would have arrived, announcing their entrance with a short piece of dialogue. Either way you need to get there fast, be it on foot or with a quick whistle, your faithful steed will run up next to you, allowing you to jump on and gallop across the battlefield.

Though a huge selection of characters, most of them have the same combos and up to three special power (Musou) attacks, however it is with the huge variety of weapons available that the real variety comes into play, with the likes of swords, axes, hammers and claws, there is something for everyone, with each one able to be slightly altered with more special powers to add even more devastating effects when in use. This time around each weapon has a specific affinity, be they Heaven, Earth of Man, these act as a sort of Paper, Stone, Scissors scenario with colour codes on your own and the enemies weapons; if your's is better then their's you will perform even more devastating special moves, however if your's is weaker, expect to be on the receiving end of a few ferocious flurries from the enemy. This is where the quick switch comes in handy, as allowing you to carry two weapons grants you the ability to at least prevent your character from being at a disadvantage.

The actual maps that the battles partake in have had a serious overhaul from previous iterations, previously they were generally quite flat, now the battlegrounds have been replaced with plenty of multileveled environments with hills blocking views, forts to run around, camps, towns and caverns to venture through, they do not add much to the gameplay but it makes the game a whole lot more pleasing to the eye.

Whilst on the subject of graphics, this version is easily the best looking with each character and weapon lovingly created, each with many different iterations; the same can be said for the huge amount of enemies with the game engine yet again handling hundreds on screen without any trouble, with some moments being breath-taking like the first moment you peer over a hill to see legions of enemies waiting for your blade.

There are a few modes that really try to add a little variety to the overall hack and slash action and for the most of the time, it works really well. You have of course the story mode, the bread and butter campaign with you selecting a kingdom and fighting for their cause, traversing the huge battlefields and trying to ensure victory plus a few What if? scenarios that you can see what may have happened if things went a little differently; giving fans of the book an exciting alternative story to experience. Free mode lets you revisit many of the battles but the most interesting is with the Ambition mode; setting you up as another, small kingdom and choosing from an initially a small selection of warriors and begin to build a Tongquetai (palace) to try and impress the Emperor. 

Split between a hub world and battles, you will venture to your small village, chat to the locals and try and offer them what they need, which for in return they will slowly start to create a palace large enough to attract the attention of the Emperor. With food shops and weapon-smiths asking for help you then go to the many warring areas outside of the village, selecting what battle you would like to take part in. Each one offers slightly different prizes and this also reflects on the size of the battle, with some offering basic materials, others fame, whilst others will unlock allies, allowing you to chat to them back at the village but also play as them in the battles. Add to all this a huge gallery and detailed information of what occurred during this era and Dynasty Warriors 8 is a must have purchase for fans of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

You would think that by now hack and slash fatigue would have set in but it is far from the truth, with so many fine tweaks to not only the visuals but the gameplay, if you are either a long-time fan, someone who has not played for a long time or a first timer, Dynasty Warriors 8 is for you.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS3)


+ Over 70 characters to choose from.
+ Hundreds of weapons to customise and use.


- Still suffers from the occasional pop up of characters.

Edited On 19 Jul, 2013

( 6 )
Baiken_'s avatar
Baiken_ 4 years ago
Hasn't been bad so far, just completed the Wei story and started the Shu one. Although i agree about the pop-up issue it happens quite often.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 4 years ago
Liking it so far i am near the end of Wu campaign but i have been on the ambition mode so far and that is pretty good.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
Apparently the X-Box version is broken almost to the point of being unplayable. So would avoid that. (you can tell since it's a quick port only for release over here. Game was made for PS) I like how they managed to make a lot of the game feel completely new combat wise. A lot of new features and stuff.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 4 years ago
Its the 360 version and i have only suffered from slow down a couple of times and its not really that major when it happens.
Johno Muller's avatar
Johno Muller 4 years ago
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 4 in developments now please.
optipete's avatar
optipete 4 years ago
I played the first dynasty warriors and also played seven. You still get invisible enemies attacking your character, the scenarios haven't changed much, it's pointless playing two player as you get more invisible enemies who attack and then appear on the screen. Its frustrating because its a fun game but the developers don't seem to be doing much developing. If you look at the first COD to where it is now they've always improved. Same with FIFA, 99 is nothing compared to 12

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