Why I Love Dynasty Warriors, and Why That's Not Weird

That's "Tsao Tsao", damn it!

Dynasty Warriors. Any time a new game in this series is released, you can count on a few things:

  • A staff member making a Yellow Turban Rebellion or "Cow Cow" quip.
  • Bafflement on the part of the staff as to how and why anyone could possibly enjoy these games.
  • People doing a poor job at explaining how and why they enjoy Dynasty Warriors.
  • Me shaking my head at it all before diving into the latest release head-first.

With this in mind, and with Dynasty Warriors 8 fresh on my brain, I thought I'd take the time to outline why it is that I enjoy the series in what I hope is the clearest manner possible. I can't speak for all fans of the series, but this is why I enjoy returning to ancient China again and again for the mass slaughtering of lots and lots of dudes. So please, @jeff, if you take the time to read this, I hope this will increase your understanding at least somewhat.

Reason #1: The Gameplay

Dynasty Warriors is not a complex game. It never has been. But it doesn't really need to be, either. People make fun of the basic move lists and combos, typically a string of normal attacks followed by one or two strong strikes, but that simplicity also makes it easily accessible, and it's no more simple than constantly pressing Left Trigger/Right Trigger in Call of Duty every year. But that simplicity is also key for another reason; the large casts of characters that make up the roster of each installment.

The Dynasty Warriors combo system, or charge system, is easy to adapt across a roster of seventy-odd characters. And rather than craft massive, independent move lists akin to Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry for each character, the variety comes in how each character plays against the standardized controls. There are slow characters, fast characters, characters that excel with short range or long range weapons. Some characters have musou attacks (essentially, supers) that deal greater damage to a small group of enemies while others are geared more toward a wider, less centralized area.

There's a rhythmic elegance in the apparent simplicity.

Despite common beliefs about the series in that every game is the same, the combat system has undergone a variety of changes over the years. In the PS2 era, particularly in the earlier entries, enemy soldiers were harder to take down, even on the normal difficulty setting. The act of wracking up a thousand kills in a stage was a greater challenge, but that was in part due to the limitations of the hardware the games ran on. Dozens of enemies couldn't appear on the screen of a PS2 game without the framerate slowing to a crawl. This changed with the PS3 and 360, and as the hardware has become more capable, the gameplay has adjusted as a result. Mook soldiers are much easier at the default, and it's far easier to wrack of in excess of a thousand kills in a given stage. But when a stage becomes too easy, there's always the option to crank up the difficulty and return to a stage with enemies that can give and take a much greater amount of damage.

Seriously, where did you get so many guys to chase after me?

So where does the satisfaction come in, when it's so easy to mow enemies down? Dynasty Warriors is a very cathartic game, and it's satisfying to clear out swarms of enemies, seeing that K.O. count roll to over a thousand, or two thousand, or more. And it definitely has its share of tense moments. A miscalculation can suddenly leave you with a sliver of health, running for your life as three officers are all giving chase among a crowd of enemy mooks. One wrong move and suddenly it's game over. One of my favorite memories of Dynasty Warriors, or really any game in general, was in Dynasty Warriors 4. The way that the Nanman Campaign stage was set up in that game, it was very easy to be put at a disadvantage very quickly, as allied morale would drop like a rock. Enemies swarmed the stage to the point that the minimap was completely red, and it was a tense battle just trying to get myself to the enemy leader Meng Huo, much less beat him. It's rare that the time limit in a normal Dynasty Warriors stage will come into actual play, but there I was, with only a few minute left on the clock and constantly in need of health and musou energy, until I finally managed to best Meng Huo and clear the stage. It was exhilarating.

The latter games, with their easier mooks, are not lacking for tense moments of their own. Just a few days ago in Dynasty Warriors 8 came a crazy moment where, mere seconds into the start of battle, I found myself surrounded by roughly five officers and countless mooks. Before I knew it, I had only a sliver of health left and I was left running for my life, hoping and praying that I could get enough musou energy to stage a comeback. Complicating matters, Dynasty Warriors 8 introduced a rock-paper-scissors element system in its weapons, and so all the while, I was swapping back and forth, trying to maintain the advantage over the officers right there in front of me while avoiding those that had the advantage over me. And this was on the normal difficulty setting.

Reason #2: The Source Material

Baller Time Reading

When I first started playing Dynasty Warriors, beginning with Dynasty Warriors 3, I was not familiar with Romance of the Three Kingdoms. I hadn't read it, and I wasn't a student of Chinese history or literature. But one of the common elements included in the series is an encyclopedia of characters and a high-level synopsis of the era's events as chronicled in the novel. Rather than brush it aside, I ate it up. Over time, I read through every single character bio, from the major playable characters to the myriad "generic" officers, each with their own history, however brief they were summarized. That in turn spawned an interest in the period and its figures to the point that I began to do my own external reading on the figures and events that I found most interesting. And then, a few years ago, I finally sat down and read the novel.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a truly fascinating read. The numerous figures that come and go, the fighting and scheming, the mysticism, and just the sheer volume of it all is amazing. In finally reading the novel, I was able to gain an appreciation and understanding of the characters and events as they're portrayed in Dynasty Warriors for which I hadn't previously had the background. Even more so when Dynasty Warriors 7 was released with a revised story structure that, in its own arcade-like way, held truer to the narrative of the novel than the games that came before it.

Reason #3: The Characters

Zhang Chunhua, a new roster edition in Dynasty Warriors 8, quickly became a favorite of mine with the way her personality and relationships are portrayed. (And she's a looker, not gonna lie.)

The cast of Dynasty Warriors has grown larger and larger with nearly every installment, and each time it's grown, the developer has, at least in my opinion, made the roster only better. Romance of the Three Kingdoms is rife with characters, both figures from history and those that are purely fictional. Beyond the most famous figures of the age like Cao Cao, Liu Bei, and Guan Yu, it has to be a difficult task in not only choosing who to include, but how to portray them. Dynasty Warriors takes some pretty hefty liberties with the cast, and with the narrative as a result. Particularly in cases like Zhang He (depicted as a less a far less sociopathic and far more fabulous Vega from Street Fighter), or most of the female characters (the vast majority of whom were not actually all that warrior-like). Yet it's in this large, crazy mix that there are characters that could appeal to most anyone. Manly men, pretty boys, feminine ladies, and amazons, there's a full spectrum of character types on display. And though many of them fall into archetypes or stereotypes in their flanderized personalities, these simple traits make them stand out more, creating an entertaining mix of actors on display.

Reason #4: Understanding of What's Been Done Right and Wrong

It should be noted that as fans of Dynasty Warriors, we don't just lap up anything thrown to us. Case in point: Dynasty Warriors 6. The first entry in the franchise of the current console generation, it tried to reinvent Dynasty Warriors from the ground up. Some of what it brought to the table was OK, such as the greater options in maneuvering around maps (swimming, climbing ladders and such were finally implemented for the first time in this game). But the roster was dramatically cut back, ditching a large number of figures that had built up fanbases over the course of the PS2 era. I was particularly disappointed in the loss of Daqiao, one of my go-tos. They also completely changed the nature of how some characters played, with cloned combat styles and the loss of various signature weapons. Zhenji unable to fight with a flute, no matter how ridiculous as that may sound, was another major disappointment for me.

The Sign of the Beast.

But the biggest strike against the game was the core of the combat system, which had been completely torn out and replaced with something called the Renbu system. A system that made it far, far too easy to launch into infinite combos, basically allowing the player to slash across the stage with ease and removing the strategies (yes, there are strategies) present in the charge system. It was so reviled that Omega Force ditched Renbu and returned to the previous combat system, finding new ways to build upon it in DW7 and 8. The full roster and many of the signature weapons also made their returns, and the end result is two entries that I feel rank among the very best that the franchise has to offer.

Are You Not Entertained?

Well, you don't have to be. Like any game, Dynasty Warriors is bound to have its fans and its detractors. But it's at least been my experience that the detractors don't bother making the effort to understand why the fans enjoy these games so much. Even in the comments section of the Dynasty Warriors 8 quick look, people made the same old, thoughtless quips that it looked and played like an Xbox or PS2 game, or that it hadn't changed and was just pressing X or square over and over. I'm not asking you to like Dynasty Warriors, but I am hopeful that, if you've taken the time to read this, that you have a better understanding of why at least I enjoy the games as I do.

I hope you've enjoyed the song of my people.

And I'm totally up for answering any questions you might have.

126 Comments
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Edited by TheHT

@hailinel said:
Dynasty Warriors is a very cathartic game, and it's satisfying to clear out swarms of enemies, seeing that K.O. count roll to over a thousand, or two thousand, or more.

That's all there is to it for me. Just sit back, maybe put on a podcast and some low music, and just unwind as you send waves of enemies flying.

Posted by Clonedzero

I remember loving the shit out of Dynasty Warriors 4 on the PS2. Haven't played one since. It was just a oddly enough, really relaxing and fun game to play.

I seriously considered getting the new one when i saw the quicklook, yeah they were mocking it the whole time but i was getting super nostalgic thinking back to DW4 and DW2.

Hell my favorite character was Xiahou Dun,to the point where I named my cat after him, but everyone called him Dun for short.

Posted by McGhee

Why does me understanding why you like this game mean anything? I can see it for what it is myself. I can even play the damn thing myself (which I have a foggy, boring memory of). Those games are terrible.

I'm glad you like them. Great.

But did you ever see that weirdo that use to come into the forums and post videos and talk about how he loves having girls kick him in the nuts? I don't have to get into his head and understand his nut kicking fetish to know I don't want to do it.

You Dynasty Warrior lovin', nut kickin weirdo, you.

Posted by Hailinel

@mcghee: I'm trying to determine if I should consider your response rude or not.

Posted by McGhee

@hailinel said:

@mcghee: I'm trying to determine if I should consider your response rude or not.

I would hope you would consider it a "playful jab."

Posted by JasonR86

@hailinel:

You can like whatever you want to like and don't feel like you need to justify shit. Fuck everyone else.

Posted by TruthTellah

It's a little weird. ;)

Though, as you mentioned and TheHT highlighted, I can absolutely understand the appeal of a cathartic game where you're primarily doing the same thing over and over again with familiar characters that just make you feel good and reassured.

It's basically a violent Animal Crossing.

Edited by MEATBALL

It totes is weird though. :P

Also, I totally think Jeff was trying his hardest not to offend you throughout that Dynasty Warriors 8 Quick Look. :P

Posted by Hailinel

@mcghee said:

@hailinel said:

@mcghee: I'm trying to determine if I should consider your response rude or not.

I would hope you would consider it a "playful jab."

Very well, then!

@jasonr86 said:

@hailinel:

You can like whatever you want to like and don't feel like you need to justify shit. Fuck everyone else.

True enough, but it's something I just wanted to get off of my chest.

Posted by lead_farmer

@hailinel: This is both the best and only blog post I have read supporting Dynasty Warriors.

Also Ma Chao forever. "I fight in the name of justice!"

Posted by McGhee

@jasonr86 said:

@hailinel:

You can like whatever you want to like and don't feel like you need to justify shit. Fuck everyone else.

As the resident Kpop prophet, I approve of this message.

Posted by JasonR86

@mcghee said:

@jasonr86 said:

@hailinel:

You can like whatever you want to like and don't feel like you need to justify shit. Fuck everyone else.

As the resident Kpop prophet, I approve of this message.

You're a brave man McGhee and a trend setter.

Edited by Milkman

What a weirdo.

Edited by Tajasaurus

I had friends who, on terribly hungover Sundays, would co-op some PS2 Dynasty Warriors game for hours while I sat watching because I had no motivation or energy to do anything else. They used to make these plans and strategies that they didn't really need to to attack in the most effective (or, in most cases, most ridiculous and fun) ways that they could. I totally understand the game from that perspective, but as a single player experience, the few times I tried to play this game was incredibly boring.

I see the appeal to it, but for there are so many more enjoyable things I could do that serve the same purpose.

Edit: Also you should like whatever video games you want and you shouldn't let anyone make you feel bad about those decisions

Edited by TheHT

It's basically a violent Animal Crossing.

Oh man that would be so stressful. Just imagining Tom Nook actually coming to break your legs one day for not paying him is making me anxious.

Posted by TruthTellah

@theht said:

@truthtellah said:
It's basically a violent Animal Crossing.

Oh man that would be so stressful. Just imagining Tom Nook actually coming to break your legs one day for not paying him is making me anxious.

Imagine if all of the fruit, fish, and bugs were actually enemies that you had to slice and dice before handing them in to Tsao-Tsao the Cow for sweet, sweet bells.

Posted by Hailinel

@theht said:

@truthtellah said:
It's basically a violent Animal Crossing.

Oh man that would be so stressful. Just imagining Tom Nook actually coming to break your legs one day for not paying him is making me anxious.

And speaking that animal gibberish in a threatening tone all the while. Oh god.

@hailinel: This is both the best and only blog post I have read supporting Dynasty Warriors.

Also Ma Chao forever. "I fight in the name of justice!"

I counter your Ma Chao with Wang Yi. Fuck benevolence!

Posted by Mento

I wasn't grabbed the few times I tried Dynasty Warriors. I did play Ninety-Nine Nights through to the end, but I definitely wasn't enjoying it at that point and was just chasing the last few achievements IIRC. I understand the basic appeal of these brawlers, but I think I need a little something extra to keep me hooked.

Which I think is why I enjoyed Koei's Bladestorm a great deal. Something about the heavier RPG elements and being able to switch unit types mid-battle made it an interesting and dynamic game, as did being able to choose sides for each conflict. I guess it's also fair to say I was a little more invested in a medieval war that involved my own country than in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, as Eurocentric as that sounds.

Did they ever made another game like that? Seemed like a bold experiment that might not have panned out well for them sales-wise.

Moderator
Posted by TruthTellah

The closest I've come to enjoying a Dynasty Warriors game was playing and loving Kessen I and II. I think I liked them more for the Shogun-esque strategy gameplay, but occasionally killing waves of people was fun, too. I think the fact that the fighting was only -part- of the total game made it easier to appreciate. The fighting was probably the less compelling part of the game for me, but I can see the appeal. :)

Edited by Hailinel

@mento: No, Bladestorm was the last game they made like that. I would definitely go for a Bladestorm II or Kessen IV, though.

The closest I've come to enjoying a Dynasty Warriors game was playing and loving Kessen I and II. I think I liked them more for the Shogun-esque strategy gameplay, but occasionally killing waves of people was fun, too. I think the fact that the fighting was only -part- of the total game made it easier to appreciate. The fighting was probably the less compelling part of the game for me, but I can see the appeal. :)

My personal favorite was Kessen III. Mechanically the best, and had a very interesting story, to boot.

Posted by Milkman

Also, not to be a dick, but this whole post seems kind of ironic after a couple weeks ago you called Divekick a "dumb flash game", completely dismissed it and said that no one would care about it this time next year. Just saying.

Posted by TruthTellah

@hailinel: Kessen II was probably my favorite. To me, it just felt like such a full package with polish. I was a bigger fan of other strategy titles after that, but for its time, Kessen II was really enjoyable. Not sure how it holds up; I imagine it runs like garbage. ha. But I remember it fondly.

Posted by Hailinel
Posted by TruthTellah

@milkman said:

Also, not to be a dick, but this whole post seems kind of ironic after a couple weeks ago you called Divekick a "dumb flash game", completely dismissed it and said that no one would care about it this time next year. Just saying.

Thanks for pointing this out. I thought it was Haily, but then I was like, "That can't be right."

Edited by Hailinel

@truthtellah said:

@milkman said:

Also, not to be a dick, but this whole post seems kind of ironic after a couple weeks ago you called Divekick a "dumb flash game", completely dismissed it and said that no one would care about it this time next year. Just saying.

Thanks for pointing this out. I thought it was Haily, but then I was like, "That can't be right."

Well, there's plenty of time for me to be proven wrong on that.

EDIT: And yes, it is hypocritical of me to dismiss Divekick as I have, and I really shouldn't. I am just thoroughly baffled by the appeal of the game as I feel the humor is too inside-baseball and the gameplay does not look fun. And while I was overly harsh in those words, people should be allowed to express dislike for something, even at the height of a zeitgeist, if they honestly don't like what everyone else is raving about. In reality, I do need to give the game a shot, and there's a very good chance that I could eat my previous words.

Edited by takayamasama

@hailinel: I'm there with ya man. Loved Dynasty Warriors since I played 2 or 3 for the PS2, and have sense then. It help that I enjoy the Three Kingdoms stories (though I have never read it, I should track down a version in Mandarin and give it a crack), and knowing even the smallest about it impresses Chinese people tons.

I really need to just go get Dynasty Warriors 8. I've contemplated it since the quick look...and have been resisting the urge since. But it's a strong urge.

Zhuge Liang or bust. Who else is badass enough to wield a fucking fan as his weapon!?

Posted by TruthTellah

@hailinel said:

And while I was overly harsh in those words, people should be allowed to express dislike for something, even at the height of a zeitgeist, if they honestly don't like what everyone else is raving about.

Isn't that similar to people disliking an unpopular game? Or is it only allowed for popular titles? Because it sounds like you just gave the exact defense of people harping on a game series you enjoy.

And then you also noted that you should really give it a shot and be willing to accept that others might just like different things than you do. Overall, that's a good lesson for us all.

Edited by Hailinel

@hailinel: I'm there with ya man. Loved Dynasty Warriors since I played 2 or 3 for the PS2, and have sense then. It help that I enjoy the Three Kingdoms stories (though I have never read it, I should track down a version in Mandarin and give it a crack), and knowing even the smallest about it impresses Chinese people tons.

I really need to just go get Dynasty Warriors 8. I've contemplated it since the quick look...and have been resisting the urge since. But it's a strong urge.

Zhuge Liang or bust. Who else is badass enough to wield a fucking fan as his weapon!?

Well, Sima Yi before Dynasty Warriors 6, at least. :P

Posted by Hailinel

@hailinel said:

And while I was overly harsh in those words, people should be allowed to express dislike for something, even at the height of a zeitgeist, if they honestly don't like what everyone else is raving about.

Isn't that similar to people disliking an unpopular game? Or is it only allowed for popular titles? Because it sounds like you just gave the exact defense of people harping on a game series you enjoy.

And then you also noted that you should really give it a shot and be willing to accept that others might just like different things than you do. Overall, that's a good lesson for us all.

Pretty much!

Hey, I never claimed to be a perfect person. Let's leave it at that.

Posted by Castiel

It's still weird.

Edited by davidwitten22

I know exactly what Dynasty Warriors 4 mission you're talking about. One time I was playing that mission and I was doing a terrible job. I ended up leading my entire army, so the only defeat constraint that existed was me dying. It reached a point where I was the only one left. They had every gate or whatever (its been a while) and were constantly spawning, I killed so many dudes in order to finally get to the end. What was nice was that once you got to the point where you were constantly hitting 30-40 dudes per attack you got a lot of powerups which I had to use to beat the boss.

Anyways, Dynasty Warriors 8 looked DREADFUL in the Quicklook, almost purely due to the ridiculous frame rate issues.

But I like Dynasty Warriors, mostly because of this...

Sun Shang Xiang awwww yeahhhhh

And stop mindlessly hating on Divekick all the time, you clearly don't get it or know anything about it, it's hypocritical to expect people to respect your game they don't understand when you shit on their game you don't understand.

Edited by Hailinel

I know exactly what Dynasty Warriors 4 mission you're talking about. One time I was playing that mission and I was doing a terrible job. I ended up leading my entire army, so the only defeat constraint that existed was me dying. It reached a point where I was the only one left. They had every gate or whatever (its been a while) and were constantly spawning, I killed so many dudes in order to finally get to the end. What was nice was that once you got to the point where you were constantly hitting 30-40 dudes per attack you got a lot of powerups which I had to use to beat the boss.

Anyways, Dynasty Warriors 8 looked DREADFUL in the Quicklook, almost purely due to the ridiculous frame rate issues.

But I like Dynasty Warriors, mostly because of this...

Sun Shang Xiang awwww yeahhhhh

I'm pretty sure that the designer of that stage had to be cackling like Sima Yi while developing it. It just goes from zero to madhouse in no time flat.

And yeah, the framerate issues in the 360 version of DW8 are really unfortunate. The game runs just fine on the PS3, but at least they're working on a patch for the 360 version to help it out.

Also, I have to agree. SSX is awesome.

Posted by MariachiMacabre

I don't like these games. But fuck the people that constantly need to remind others how much they don't like these games and then ridicule the people who do. That goes for every game ever, actually. Like what games you like, fuck tha hataz.

THAT SAID...You gotta stop hating on Divekick. As of the writing of this blog, it's hypocritical. Even as a guy who doesn't play a lot of fighting games, the rush of the last 10 seconds of a fight where both players are on the precipice of losing is not lost on me and Divekick is that feeling made into a game. It's great.

Posted by Hailinel

I don't like these games. But fuck the people that constantly need to remind others how much they don't like these games and then ridicule the people who do. That goes for every game ever, actually. Like what games you like, fuck tha hataz.

THAT SAID...You gotta stop hating on Divekick. As of the writing of this blog, it's hypocritical. Even as a guy who doesn't play a lot of fighting games, the rush of the last 10 seconds of a fight where both players are on the precipice of losing is not lost on me and Divekick is that feeling made into a game. It's great.

Point taken!

Posted by MariachiMacabre

@hailinel said:

@mariachimacabre said:

I don't like these games. But fuck the people that constantly need to remind others how much they don't like these games and then ridicule the people who do. That goes for every game ever, actually. Like what games you like, fuck tha hataz.

THAT SAID...You gotta stop hating on Divekick. As of the writing of this blog, it's hypocritical. Even as a guy who doesn't play a lot of fighting games, the rush of the last 10 seconds of a fight where both players are on the precipice of losing is not lost on me and Divekick is that feeling made into a game. It's great.

Point taken!

I will not believe you until I can see that you want to believe in the Divekick.

Edited by TruthTellah

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

And while I was overly harsh in those words, people should be allowed to express dislike for something, even at the height of a zeitgeist, if they honestly don't like what everyone else is raving about.

Isn't that similar to people disliking an unpopular game? Or is it only allowed for popular titles? Because it sounds like you just gave the exact defense of people harping on a game series you enjoy.

And then you also noted that you should really give it a shot and be willing to accept that others might just like different things than you do. Overall, that's a good lesson for us all.

Pretty much!

Hey, I never claimed to be a perfect person. Let's leave it at that.

We -could- leave it at that.

Though, we could also rub it in further. :D

http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/71f1f7b6e320701ed811ec30622d99641229547134_full.gif

Edited by Hailinel
Edited by MariachiMacabre

@hailinel said:

@truthtellah said:

@hailinel said:

And while I was overly harsh in those words, people should be allowed to express dislike for something, even at the height of a zeitgeist, if they honestly don't like what everyone else is raving about.

Isn't that similar to people disliking an unpopular game? Or is it only allowed for popular titles? Because it sounds like you just gave the exact defense of people harping on a game series you enjoy.

And then you also noted that you should really give it a shot and be willing to accept that others might just like different things than you do. Overall, that's a good lesson for us all.

Pretty much!

Hey, I never claimed to be a perfect person. Let's leave it at that.

We -could- leave it at that.

Though, we could also rub it in further. :D

http://img1.ak.crunchyroll.com/i/spire3/71f1f7b6e320701ed811ec30622d99641229547134_full.gif

Schadenfreude is my lifeblood so you have my full support.

Edited by joshth

It's late and I'm way too tired to read all this right now, but come tomorrow you bet I will. This is the first Dynasty Warriors I ever bought and I've been really enjoying it so far. I wanted to write something up about why it is I enjoy it when I'm finished but it seems you've beat me to the punch.

Edited by TruthTellah
Posted by YukoAsho

I'll admit I was one of the people who looked down on the Musou games. Most of my exposure to these games has been from reviewers and commenters' mockery. I was somewhat scared away from the series - games are an expense, at least at first.

However, I was moved to give one a try, namely Orochi Warriors 3 Hyper, because I needed something new for my Wii U and it was only $30. While it's obviously not that deep, it's fun and varied enough, given the way the characters behave (Just because the moves have the same inputs doesn't mean you're going to get the same results from Kunoichi as you would from Ginchiyo Tachibana or Xu Huang). Some of the officers will also throw you for a loop, and while some special objectives can be a pain, the added variety is greatly appreciated.

It's basically the natural evolution of the beat-em-up that was such a mainstay of the 16-bit era, only with more to keep one's attention than those games, and less of a quarter-munching focus.

I might give DW8 a go at some point, though I'm thinking about the PS3 version, as it seems the X360 version has performance issues, at least based on the Quick Look.

Posted by CaLe

I really enjoyed Earth Defense Force 2017 so I'm in no position to judge Dynasty Warriors. That said, I don't feel like I could play a new one of those every other year and keep enjoying them. That's largely in part to them not having interesting characters or a compelling story to add variety each time. I do remember never understanding the story in Dynasty Warriors, but that's probably because I had no interest in even trying to. Maybe that ties into a larger issue here, in that it can sometimes require conscious effort to try and enjoy something when it would be so much easier to put in no effort and dismiss it. I've been guilty of that.

Edited by Ninja

Dynasty Warriors 3 was ground breaking when it came out, playing on an open-world battlefield on PlayStation 2 at the time while Lord of the Rings was becoming big was fantastic.

Posted by Lysergica33

Great post, but if you have to justify why you enjoy Dynasty Warriors, get better friends. Preferably ones that don't hate fun.

Posted by Morningstar

Im with the staff on this, that anyone could enjoy these games baffles me. But then again, there are probably many games that I like that would baffle others. Diversity is always good.

Edited by Petiew

Have you played the One Piece game? That's the only Musou game I've really played apart from DQ co-op with my friends when I was younger.

I do think DW really shines when you're just doing stupid stuff with a friend but taking the whole thing far too seriously.

Edited by Hunter5024

Fans hate DW6? Weird. I actually liked Dynasty Warriors 6 because I felt like it took the gameplay of the series to its logical conclusion. The combos don't really matter: just hit dudes, and look cool doing it. Though Zhen Ji's lack of a flute was oddly disappointing. Diao Chan's whip was way cooler than her little mace things though.

My favorite DW experience was playing Dynasty Warriors 5 Xtreme Legends, where they let me make my own character. I played under Zhou Yu and he wanted me to become a double agent inside of Wei. So I defected to Wei and did a few missions under Xiahou Yuan. He ended up being a way more fun, jovial commanding officer than Zhou Yu, which made it very difficult when they gave me the opportunity to spring my trap on him. I remember they gave you the option to actually defect at that point, I don't recall what I actually ended up doing, but I remember being super impressed that Dynasty Warriors managed to make me sweat over such a decision. Have they done another mode like that since 5?

Posted by fetchfox

This is exactly why I used to play Dynasty Warriors. I don't know how many hours I spent playing the third on Playstation 2. It was simple and enjoyable fun killing huge hoards and doing absurd moves, and it got me into chinese literature.

Posted by Hailinel

@petiew said:

Have you played the One Piece game? That's the only Musou game I've really played apart from DQ co-op with my friends when I was younger.

I do think DW really shines when you're just doing stupid stuff with a friend but taking the whole thing far too seriously.

No, actually. The One Piece game is just about the only spin-off that I haven't played yet. I should probably give it a shot at some point.

In asking why there need to be eight games, why not? The series evolves with time and the stories that have been told within the context of the games have changed as well.

@yukoasho said:

I'll admit I was one of the people who looked down on the Musou games. Most of my exposure to these games has been from reviewers and commenters' mockery. I was somewhat scared away from the series - games are an expense, at least at first.

However, I was moved to give one a try, namely Orochi Warriors 3 Hyper, because I needed something new for my Wii U and it was only $30. While it's obviously not that deep, it's fun and varied enough, given the way the characters behave (Just because the moves have the same inputs doesn't mean you're going to get the same results from Kunoichi as you would from Ginchiyo Tachibana or Xu Huang). Some of the officers will also throw you for a loop, and while some special objectives can be a pain, the added variety is greatly appreciated.

It's basically the natural evolution of the beat-em-up that was such a mainstay of the 16-bit era, only with more to keep one's attention than those games, and less of a quarter-munching focus.

I might give DW8 a go at some point, though I'm thinking about the PS3 version, as it seems the X360 version has performance issues, at least based on the Quick Look.

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is another excellent entry. I've poured over a hundred hours into it so far between the primary content and the DLC. And yeah, you've really hit the nail on the head. These games are more of an evolution of the beat'em-up far more than "character action" games like DMC, as the staff has claimed on occasion.

Fans hate DW6? Weird. I actually liked Dynasty Warriors 6 because I felt like it took the gameplay of the series to its logical conclusion. The combos don't really matter: just hit dudes, and look cool doing it. Though Zhen Ji's lack of a flute was oddly disappointing. Diao Chan's whip was way cooler than her little mace things though.

My favorite DW experience was playing Dynasty Warriors 5 Xtreme Legends, where they let me make my own character. I played under Zhou Yu and he wanted me to become a double agent inside of Wei. So I defected to Wei and did a few missions under Xiahou Yuan. He ended up being a way more fun, jovial commanding officer than Zhou Yu, which made it very difficult when they gave me the opportunity to spring my trap on him. I remember they gave you the option to actually defect at that point, I don't recall what I actually ended up doing, but I remember being super impressed that Dynasty Warriors managed to make me sweat over such a decision. Have they done another mode like that since 5?

Yep. DW6 is arguably the worst game in the series. The Renbu system was terrible in practice, and the number of character changes and just missing characters in general really damaged it.

The character creation system isn't in the primary Dynasty Warriors titles, though it has popped up in expansions. DW7 Xtreme Legends/Empires didn't have such a story mode for created characters, however. The stories in DW7 and 8 are entirely based around each faction (Wei, Wu, Shu, Jin) rather than on individual characters.

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