I’ve never been a huge fan of the Dynasty Warriors series, but I did highly enjoy the seventh installment of it along with it’s Xtreme Legends counterpart that added even more fun at the sad cost of double-dipping. And when you’re talking about the Dynasty Warriors series, that’s a whole lotta dipping going on.
And while I didn’t get to check out last year’s eighth entry, it’s a good thing I wasn’t able to since now I have the opportunity to experience the game and it’s Xtreme add-on here in full next-gen console glory form with Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition.
I like to think I really got lucky on getting into Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors series with Dynasty Warriors 7, as the mechanics were overhauled greatly from the previous entries, along with adding the ability to switch between weapon sets even while attacking and racking up combos. And I’m sure I speak for most when I say I didn’t approve of the double-dipping, but I did enjoy the Xtreme add-on disc for DW7 as well. Now we’ve come to the eighth installment and its Xtreme content woven together in a seamless package, which builds upon what made DW7 so great with a few added things to keep the series staying strong.
Those familiar with the game series will feel right at home with the controls, as you use two attack, jump, a special attack, and block buttons to fight your way through the opposition. There’s also a button you can use to summon a horse to ride on, which comes in handy when you need to get from one side of the battlefield to another. Doing all of this through the story mode where you get to choose from a total of 82 characters once you’ve unlocked them in the three, long campaigns here is sure to keep most busy and challenged.
And if that wasn’t enough, in this edition enemy officers are now able to use weapon switching which leads to some interesting and challenging gameplay this time around. This finally puts an end to blowing through hordes of troops and their leader who is usually supposed to hold some historic significance. A lot of people have often pointed out that this was one of the game’s biggest flaws, as it looks silly to just mow through something such as Cao Cao’s army and just as easily take him down as well. Now that the enemy leaders skill sets are nearly equal to yours, it takes a bit more strategy and planning with your weapon sets and gear to take them down.
The level cap has been raised here to 150 as well, which leads to being able to obtain and use more powerful weapons than ever before. You’ll need these weapons if you’re thinking of taking on the harder difficulty levels, especially with the newly added “Ultimate” setting. As long as you have a character you’re comfortable with and know all of their attacks, EX combo moves (Xtreme adds a second EX combo to all of the characters now) and the weapons best suited for them, you’ll most likely be able to hold your own no matter what stands in your way. And there’s always online multiplayer to keep things interesting, and it might make clearing some of the more difficult missions a little easier.
One of the biggest topics about this release is obviously going to be the graphics. While they’re not as heavily detailed as say Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition or the recent Infamous: Second Son, it is by far the best looking entry in the series yet. The main characters are well detailed, right down to seeing some cloth and leather texture in some of their armor. And thanks to the power of the PS4, even more enemies can be shown on the screen at once, though it does tend to make the frame rate dip a smidge here and there. It’s nothing that will take players out of the game, but it’s enough to notice. Hopefully if there’s a DW9 that’s made from the ground up for the PS4, they’ll fix this minor quirk and have a perfectly, buttery-smooth ride next time around. The stages are also highly detailed and bigger than ever, making fighting through skirmish after skirmish a deep and fun experience.
It might not live up to all of the next-gen hype like most wanted it to, but Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is by far the greatest entry in the franchise yet. Despite some very minor frame rate quirks and some slightly repetitive action, fans and those new to the series looking for a good game for their PS4 will benefit from jumping in with this title, as it’s easily the most well-rounded game in the series with the added value of getting two games in one.