Ian Cooper delivers his verdict on suped-up tactical combat title Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate.
It’s a great day to be a Koei Tecmo fan, with Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Edition, Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn and Samurai Warriors 4 all hitting the shelves in October – and now we have Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate out for PlayStation 3 and Vita and now porting over to the PS4. It’s a big, unrelenting slew of games: but the million dollar question on every-bodies lips is, are all these releases in quick succession meaning recycled elements, which in turn makes the games feel like they are one and the same?
It’s tough not to wonder, especially with other developers taking years before another entry in their franchise comes out. If you’re a fan of course, it wont bother you much – it’s like your favorite band bringing out record after record, and you loving every single one (even if non-fans’ eyes may be rolling).
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is a direct crossover between two of its better known franchises: Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors. In Orochi 3, characters from the two labels, over 100 playable ones in fact, join forces to fight off an otherworldly enemy in the form of evil Lord Orochi and his band of demons. Starting with a defeat at the hands of Orochi’s giant multi-headed hydra, your starting team of three characters must travel back in time to seek help from more warriors to assist in fighting the hydra and beating Orochi once and for all. You do this in a sequence of missions separated by Japanese voice acted cutscenes and occasionally, fully fledged live action ones which are brilliant to watch. The voice acting is a recurring niggle, as western releases of these games consistently have no English voices. Luckily though, the dialogue is short and sweet during these cutscenes – so you don’t have to wait long before you’re chucked straight into the action.
Going back to what I said in the introduction about these games being at risk of feeling recycled, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate unfortunately does feel somewhat so, as the gameplay is identical to Dynasty Warriors games. Seen from a third person perspective, your onscreen character has two types of attack (weak and strong), which can be chained together to pull off some sweet looking combos – each character’s being different to the next.
Each character also has a special attack which corresponds to the franchise that character comes from. Dynasty characters have a Musou attack; a stylish super move that can take out tons of enemies in one go (which soon becomes a necessity considering the ridiculous number of enemies onscreen at any one time). Samurai characters have similar attacks, however they are more drawn out. Both Dynasty characters and Samurai characters also have different attacks and moves which are respective to their franchises, and their weapon of choice, which cannot be changed – although a visit to the blacksmith enables you to fuse weapons together which can add some neat properties to them.
In Orochi 3 Ultimate, the best feature is mixing and matching a team of three characters of your choice, which can be switched at the press of a button, or all three of your characters can fight at once – which enables you to activate a joint Musou attack which is the strongest and flashiest in the game. This adds an impressive amount of depth and makes restrictions on the inability to switch weapons or Musou’s forgivable.
You can also call upon your horse like you could in Dynasty Warriors 8. Your four legged friend makes moving around the battlefield that little bit easier, and charging through hordes of enemies is great fun. You’ll spend most of your time on foot howeve,r as the battlefields are jam packed full of things to fight. This time around, it’s demons.
Among certain groups of enemies are generals and key characters, identifiable by their names being displayed above their heads. They are tougher than your average fodder, but thankfully the rock-paper-scissors mechanic introduced in Dynasty Warriors 8 is absent here – making the battles much more manageable and fun. Also imported over is the dynamic battle system, which updates you of your allies’ progress, morale and whether they require your assistance. This is where that niggly language barrier pops up again however, as even though you’re informed by voice acting, its in Japanese so you are forced to read whats going on and in the heat of battle, it’s a huge pain.
Completing missions awards experience points and cash to spend on leveling up your characters, and buying new weapons or fusions. All of this can be done between missions in the story mode. Aside from the story, you can try out Duel mode which pits you in a three on three fight against the computer or friends locally or online. A tutorial mode is present for newbies and a menacing Survival mode is present to test your mettle against the increasingly difficult horde. New to the Orochi series is Gauntlet mode, which puts you and 5 allies in a dungeon filled with trials which get tougher as you progress. Completing the plethora of game modes is Musou Battlefields, which allow you to replay unlocked missions completed in story or free modes however you can customize enemy layouts, officer placements and even background music, a fantastic addition.
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate on PS4 is a remaster of its PS3 and Vita counterpart, so you wont find next gen graphics here – although character models and the ability to handle a silly amount of enemies onscreen is impressive. This is Orochi 3 Ultimate’s biggest visual flaw, as battlefields look nice but it’s hard to not feel like they are empty. No buildings or environmental features can be destroyed, so moving from one area to your goal, which more often than not is miles away, feels mundane especially – because the hordes of enemies can be ran through.
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is very recycled, but it’s also a fun, deep game – and thankfully key differences and improvements, plus the diverse range of characters and tons of things to unlock, makes this the best Warriors game I’ve ever played. Trailing around the huge battlefields can be painful, but the ridiculous potential kill count will keep you well occupied.
Story – 4/5
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 4/5
Version Reviewed – PS4