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PlayStation 3 Review: Dynasty Warriors 7

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When a gaming franchise launched in 1997 still continues today, you would figure that the controls have morphed over the years and gotten slight more intricate.  That is certainly what you’d expect from Dynasty Warriors 7 but that’s not the case. It is still a button jamming game. What fans of the franchise will experience however is how the game has morphed from a pure fighting game into a hack and slash jamboree.

While visually appealing, the game relies on legacy gameplay and story lines for it to go mainstream and appears to be more popular in Japan that it is in the US.

In terms of main modes, there are two — story and conquest. Story mode is split into four sections which allows players to play through four sagas. Each story is very lengthy, which means there’s a ton of video sequences and other content to plow through. Don’t fret however, there are walkthroughs that help guide you and galleries full of unlockable art and videos to check out. Additionally, there is an encyclopedia for in-game knowledge. In terms of new features, players can use dual-wielding weapons and a new fourth kingdom called Jin.

Story mode has campaigns — one each for Wei, Wu, Shu, and the new kingdom of Jin. Additionally, story mode puts the player in the shoes of a variety of generals, where each stage of the game mode is specifically tailored to their particular exploits. I’ll admit, it takes some getting used to, but the change in characters makes for a more compelling story, detailing the history of the entire kingdom and the warriors that helped shape said kingdom.

If you’re interested in ancient China, this is your game.  Creators Omega Force have crafted a story about the country with characters dying at their appointed times and epic battles that unfold according to legend. The stories in itself are what makes this button smashing game intriguing.

In conquest mode, players will have the same gameplay as story mode, but rather than progressing through a story, players move across a map, conducting battles in order to dominate the entire area. This mode unquestionably takes up a lot of time; it’s pretty epic to say the least. However, players can jump online in conquest mode to help with their conquest-ing, but I found it to be a bit muddled and honestly, quite buggy.

Despite the content being pretty robust in terms of quantity, at the end of the day it’s still a button thrashing game.  In terms of specific details about gameplay, Dynasty Warriors 7 uses a “charge” combat system, where strong attacks are inserted into strings of regular attacks to make new moves, i.e. button combos to make cooler and more damaging moves.

Combat appears to be faster and more intense than other offerings in this franchise. The focus in this game, as opposed to others before it, is on finishing objectives as opposed to slashing the enemy to pieces. You have to pay attention to the objectives otherwise, you’ll end up defeated. While this is an interesting way to present the action, the overall missions sort of put a damper on the gameplay.

Characters can use any two weapons. However, the combat effectiveness of each is different with each character. While one might be an expert at axes, able to attack faster with them, they might also be useless with clubs, meaning their attacks will be slow and easily broken. Every character also has their “EX” weapon, i.e. their signature weapon. Using the EX weapon, allows the character to perform a unique special move with it.

Regardless of whether you’re playing in story mode or conquest mode, you can expect to find scenarios that are pretty much the same. A zillion soldiers will line in the area where you are and are really just there for you to swiftly remove of with your blade (or whatever weapon you’re using at the time). This repetitive murdering (but with less actual bloodshed than gamers have come to expect) is broken up at times by an enemy officer with whom you must do battle. Regardless of some variations in terms of equipment you use, types of characters you fight, the gameplay is consistently dull.

I’m guessing most hardcore gamers will find this game boring as all heck. Despite creative story line, which is based on the Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms (written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century), the game just isn’t up to par despite it being in its seventh iteration. It’s a game that looks pretty dated, is repetitive, and doesn’t suck you in the gameplay as typical war/fighting games do.

It might be time to bury this franchise.

Dynasty Warriors 7 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for referencing alcohol reference, mild language, mild suggestive themes and violence. This game can also be found on Xbox 360.

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  • Having never tried a Dynasty Warriors game yet, I may start with DW7 and work my way back.