Dy­nasty War­riors 9

Games TM - - CONTENTS -

The Dy­nasty War­riors games have al­ways at­tracted a fair bit of crit­i­cism. for be­ing repet­i­tive, for be­ing the same game with slightly sharper graph­ics, but these com­ments un­der­mine how well re­fined the se­ries had be­come. each en­try a hugely en­joy­able hack-and­slash romp with a solid and sur­pris­ingly ver­sa­tile com­bat sys­tem at its core – one which con­tin­ues to lend it­self to many li­censed spin-offs, such as Dragon Quest and the leg­end of Zelda.

Devel­oper omega force was ea­ger to try some­thing dif­fer­ent with this ninth in­stal­ment to the main se­ries, and it has taken some­thing of a bold step in an at­tempt to freshen up the for­mula. the fa­mil­iar but­ton-mash­ing bat­tles now take place across a large open world and, oh wow, what a mis­take that has been. the con­cept – open World Dy­nasty War­riors – isn’t a bad one by any means. No longer a se­ries of arena bat­tles, it’s a huge map full of run­ning bat­tles in real time that you can jump into as any of your cho­sen his­tor­i­cal he­roes, as well as more hand-crafted story mis­sions that progress through the ro­mance of the three King­doms. You un­lock more playable char­ac­ters, build re­la­tion­ships with gen­er­als on your own and enemy sides and, of course, still take on hun­dreds upon hun­dreds of enemy troops.

the prob­lem here is that it’s all so rough. an­i­ma­tions are awk­ward and lim­ited, tex­ture and item pop-in is a con­stant dis­trac­tion and, if that weren’t all frus­trat­ing enough, the frame rate is also all over the place – con­stantly up and down when you have the sheer temer­ity to point the cam­era to­wards a crowd of en­e­mies. Per­haps most crim­i­nal, how­ever, is that it’s a bit bor­ing.

there’s still some­thing thrilling about tak­ing on an en­tire army all by your­self – the big bat­tles for ter­ri­tory are still just the best – it’s just the open world at­tached to it is so by the num­bers. Watch­tow­ers to climb that show nearby ob­jec­tives? Check. re­source-col­lect­ing busy­work as part of an item craft­ing sys­tem? Check. iden­ti­cal quests dot­ted around the map? those too. hell, it wouldn’t sur­prise us were we to later dis­cover that you could swan dive into a bail of hay to avoid com­bat en­tirely. the open world is too sparse, with lit­tle means of ac­tu­ally leav­ing any mean­ing­ful im­pact on it. the tight are­nas of the pre­vi­ous games are a much bet­ter fit for the con­stant hack­ing and slash­ing that the se­ries has be­come in­fa­mous for. oc­ca­sion­ally, the parts do all come to­gether, such as when you storm across a vast plain into bat­tle on horse­back, flanked by your al­lies, leap­ing off into an at­tack that sends an en­tire pla­toon of enemy sol­diers sky­ward. it’s in these fleet­ing mo­ments that you un­der­stand what omega force was try­ing to achieve here. un­for­tu­nately, the ex­e­cu­tion falls well short of what we’ve come to ex­pect from games of this lin­eage in 2018.

Be­low: Each char­ac­ter has a big cine­matic spe­cial at­tack, and they’re one of the few times where the vi­su­als ac­tu­ally look re­ally nice, tak­ing out hun­dreds of en­e­mies be­fore caus­ing a mas­sive frame rate dip.

Above: The scale might be im­pres­sive, but once you get up high it is clear to see that this feu­dal China is largely big fields full of trees be­tween sim­i­lar look­ing set­tle­ments.

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