I haven’t been a fan of Dynasty Warriors long, but in the last few years I’ve played some of the series I’ve pretty much enjoyed it. This is my first time jumping into Koei-Temco’s Warriors Orochi series, which is very similar to DW seeing as some of the characters from there are teaming up with some of the Samurai Warriors ones along with a few special guest stars from other games to take hack and slash games to new heights in Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate.
The plot is a little thin but is more than enough to unite the characters from Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors together, which sees them being placed in a realm that exists between time and space. While there, they’ll have to work together and stop the evil Orochi and his followers from taking over as best they can. It’s up to you to guide a three man team that you can switch through at anytime while unlocking over a hundred more to put an end to this evil once and for all, or at least until the next entry in the series.
Anyone who has played any of the Dynasty Warriors series and those like similar to it will feel right at home with the easy to learn controls and skills the characters use here. You’ll use your character’s special moves and attacks to rack up combos and push through hundreds of enemies coming at you while trying to accomplish whatever goal is set before you. What’s different is that this time around you can’t swap weapons, but instead you can swap between three characters with the weapons and skill sets you want. There’s also a button that allows you to use a character specific skill which makes for some pretty nice finishers for your combos.
Also new here is the way you go about powering up your weapons. Those who have played any of the later DW entries have noticed the complex forging system on there. On here you’re able to combine two weapons together which combines their currently equipped skills and turns them into more powerful weapons for you to use. With tons of ways you can combine weapons and their skills, anyone can custom tailor their characters to suit their way of playing.
There’s also plenty of game modes to keep you tearing through enemy mobs, starting with the basic story mode that gives you loads of missions to complete as you gather allies to help aid your cause. Featuring over a hundred characters you can add, you’ll be playing this mode for quite some time. Speaking of which, there’s also a few new ones that will excite fans of many games out there, such as Kasumi from the Dead or Alive, Sterkenburg Cranach from the Atelier Arland series, and even Sophitia Alexandra from Namco-Bandai’s Soul Calibur series.
Duel mode is for those who enjoy putting their characters to the test against AI, offline and online opponents. Here you’ll make a three man team to go against another team in a small arena-like area. This mode reminded me a lot of Tekken Tag and comes off like a fighting game version of DW. I thought Gauntlet mode was pretty cool, where you make a party of five characters and fight your way through dungeon-like stages. Musou Battlefields rounds out the modes, and allows you to edit existing stages by swapping out characters and some elements of the stage, and upload your stage for others to download and play. I found this this mode to be pretty neat as it reminded me a lot of the map editor from StarCraft 2.
Thanks to the power of the PlayStation 4, Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate looks and sounds great. Much like Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, the crisp, high definition graphics look amazing and animate at a smooth framerate that buckles only slightly when there are literally a hundred or more enemies on the screen thanks to the incredibly high draw distance the PS4 offers. Perhaps one day Koei-Tecmo will find a way to keep the framerate constant throughout, but players will be too busy fighting swarms of enemies to really notice. The audio side is equally impressive as the Japanese voice actors play their characters with conviction as rock and techno-like tunes play in the background as you work your way through the countless missions.
Warriors Orochi 3: Ultimate is just that, the ultimate package for those who enjoy the Dynasty Warriors series and hack and slash games in general. With a gigantic roster to unlock that seems to never end, easy to pick up and play controls with a simple weapon customization feature, and plenty of online and offline modes, this is the game for them. Until Koei-Tecmo’s Samurai Warriors 4 comes along soon, this game will keep fans of the genre busy even after that gets here.