This Game is Great and I Thought I'd Let You Know

#1 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

I like this game and I don't care who knows it.

The Warriors franchise has gained a bit of a bad rap over the years for being mindless garbage, and I have decided after much consternation that that label is wholly unfair when applied to this game. This is my plea to convince you all of the same. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's that I think this game is truly a product of such extraordinary circumstance that certainly some sort of moon configuration or devil pact must have been involved in order to bring about it's inception, and I need to bring it to your attention. Maybe it's that I'm a big dummy who doesn't know good games and stuff. Most probably, it's because I hope a few more people will find the same sort of enjoyment I did with the best hidden gem I've played this year.

So this game is hack'n'slash Pokemon.

The game looks damned good in some aspects.

Let me tell you how. There are 132 unique characters to collect. And I mean truly collect. This is done by playing through the extremely extensive story mode as your initially small group of characters convince others to join their cause against the greater evil that is Orochi. There is such a thing as a "rare" character, as some are collected through general play and some take fairly extensive individual effort to unlock. Each warrior levels up to a cap of 70 - and gains new abilities along the way in some instances. You equip them with weapons and items, and you equip the character's themselves three at a time.

The similarity between the Pokemon games and this Warriors game in particular is striking, with only smart and logical changes enacted in order to bridge the genre difference. It really nails that collecting, leveling, customizing addictive brew that Pokemon is so famous for. Only, like, way better. Let me tell you why.

Xiahou Ba is a cooler dude than Pikachu.

Xiahou Ba Character Art DW7

Xiahou Ba is a guy with a big sword and a name I can't pronounce. This was my first impression of the fellow as I took him out for a spin after I unlocked him. I liked his AoE heavy combos and massive shockwave attack on his C1 and C4 a lot. His special R1 ability buffs his regularly slow moving swings and makes them uber fast. His musou deals crazy and consistent damage in an AoE around him. He wears a hat in his first costume, and then in his second you get to take his hat off, and he's like a young dude, which is pretty cool.

I liked how he fit into my team, so I kept him around for a decent stretch of the game. As he got to know his fellow officers through the game’s relationship system, I got to know a bit more about him through short conversations at the campsite between them. Walking Dead this is not, but hey, dude is a dude. A real one with a fairly interesting personality and clear and differentiated relationships with many of the other characters in the game.

That is all true with every single one of those 132 characters in the game. They are entirely unique individuals, with different playstyles, strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and personalities - and ties link each of them together in a positively tekken-esque fashion. There are thousands of lines of voiced dialogue locked behind a relationship system that reflects the increasing familiarity between officers. While never exactly weaving an epic tale with each of those relationships, it goes a long way to make the characters flesh and blood. Much like Pokemon, at a certain point I was able to identify these people whose names I was still not sure I'm pronouncing correctly with increasing accuracy.

Ding Feng is more customizable than... Charizard.

Fusin'

Talk to me about “breeding” all you like - The changes you can make on these characters are moreso than giving Blastoise the ability to cast harden. Each character has a set of 4 weapons starred 1-4 and accordingly adjusted in attack damage. On each of those weapons are individual buffs that modify the character - the Reach ability will give your attacks more radius, the Slay ability will give chance to kill instantly as well as do % of max health damage, the Ice ability will give a chance to freeze enemies solid for a short while on charge attacks... The list goes on. Each ability has a level and can go all the way up to 10 in strength.

On top of those 1-4 starred weapons, there are “Big Star” weapons - these start out extremely weak, but grow with your character into being better than most 4 star weapons. The designs here are sometimes silly in an awesome way - warriors that previously throw knives will throw cards, a sword and shield will become a protractor and drafting compass.

132 Characters x at least 5 weapons each = 660 unique weapons.

That is all complimented by a fusion system that allows transfer of buffs from one weapon to another. A weapon can have up to 8 different buffs on it, which obviously leads to many, many opportunities to customize your warrior - whether it be compensatory for weakness or glass-cannoning by stacking attack buff after attack buff, you can do it.

THEN, even outside of weapons, there are items that further augment your character. One item allows you to block attacks from all directions instead of just in front of you, one item gives you extra protection versus projectiles, one item lets you start a battle riding a goddamned elephant.

That’s all reasons why it excels in it’s Pokemon RPG trappings, but it’s all for 'nought if the gameplay is no fun to game-play. And this is the point where most people will point out, “These games are totally mindless”. I am here to tell you, it’s only a bit mindless.

The combo system is as complex as it gets.

This part right here is what most people hold against these games. It’s widely considered that the Warriors games use one button - square (Or X on Xbox). Well I’m here to tell you that it uses TWO buttons. Aha! Gotcha now!

Dumb guest characters a-hoy with Joan D'Arc, Achilles, DOA, and Benkei making appearances among many others.

Yes it’s true - triangle is a button that can be pressed in order to hit things as well. And while a two button combo system doesn’t sound terribly complex, consider the fact that alternating presses of square and triangle yield different results. Square triangle (C2), square square triangle (C3), etc. Crazy, right? This gives each character probably 7 or 8 combo lines plus a special R1 skill plus a musou “ultimate” move that can all be combo’d within themselves.

Now, anyone who has payed cursory attention to the series knows all that, and those are the mechanics that have carried the Warriors games for years. But the thing that this game does so right where it’s predecessors did so wrong is to give you a proper three character party to take out into each battle. This makes the fighting infinitely more complex in that you can swap to another character and continue comboing at any time by hitting R2/L2. It's such a simple change, yet so effective. Certain characters fall naturally into a more supportive role, complementing bruisers with ranged attacks or good escape moves.

Bearing in mind there are 132 characters each with their own unique set of skills that compliment each other’s in interesting ways, this makes assembling your dream team of characters a main pursuit throughout the entire game. All this crazy customizability boils down to is a game that you’re constantly striving to break by powering up your characters to absurd levels. Anyone who enjoys trying to truly overcome a game with a smart application and exploitation of it’s mechanics - this is the game for you.

But... Now, I love this game. I really do. But I cannot in good conscience recommend it without mentioning the singular issue that prevents this game from being the amazing marriage between quantity and quality that this franchise has been brewing for years - and that’s a lack of consistent difficulty. There are 4 difficulty levels that range from dumb easy to insanely difficult, but having static difficulty is simply not enough considering the fact that at a certain point, your favourite warriors that you've leveled up a bunch have to be challenged further. The player has to actively judge and find the challenge level that’s appropriate to the warriors’ levels in order to be significantly and progressively taxed, and it’s a big problem that prevents the game from being as great as it should be. This is really the issue that drives most people off this franchise - whether they know it or not. The game does an occasionally bad job in giving you a good reason to really try hard in making your team all kinds of awesome. That said, when you hit that difficulty curve just right, it’s a fantastic time. The game is nice and challenging and you need to use everything you've got to survive.

Even with over a thousand words here, there's still things I haven't scratched the surface of, like the pretty crazy story, or character proficiencies, or how incredibly addicting it all is. For the sake of relative brevity, I'll just stop now. In the end, this will all appeal greatly to only a fraction of a fraction of you - the game is not for everyone. But hopefully I've given some good empirical evidence as to why some people love these games, and why those people are not bad people. Probably.

If you do plan to pick this up, be aware that it's only available on PSN for the PS3 in the US and only available on disc for the PS3 in EU. It's on disc on 360 all over. Oh, and only in Japanese everywhere - there are no English voice dubs for this game.

I'm impressed you read to the end of this, and I appreciate it!

#2 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

Or you could get the Wii U version, which is both on disc and digital, and includes an additional mode and characters while still being incredibly awesome. :P

#3 Posted by JackSukeru (5921 posts) -

This was the first Dynasty Warriors-esque game I've played (apart from messing around with DW 2 or 3 once on the PS2 many years ago) and I really like it. Some things about it are kind of a bummer, like the crazy pop-in for the armies where units will disappear in front of your eyes or won't be visible until you're nearly packed in the middle of them, and the game doesn't really change what you're doing or what you're fighting from mission to mission, but the mid mission conversations kept me engaged enough not to just zone out, and the upgrade mechanic is a really neat way to further differentiate the direction of each character.

I haven't finished it yet, and I am probably far away from unlocking every character, but the sheer number of them and the rate with which you unlock them really helps keeping the mashy combat interesting, some of them also have surprisingly unique movesets. Playing on Normal for most of the time I feel like I can play with whomever I want, but the times I dug into Hard I found being forced to switch between characters to stay alive kept me on my toes in a exciting way, so I'm looking forward to further exploring that once I've unlocked more of the roster.

Xiahou Ba is one of my favorite characters currently, with his huge Tiger Cleaver and powerful moveset, along with Zhou Tai because his Iaijutsu, or whatever it's called, is so incredibly badass. I also really like the woman with the harp, but I've forgotten her name.

#4 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

@Hailinel: I could probably say something real snide about the Wii U here, but you know what, that thing is pretty cool. So sure, Warriors Orochi 3 - Wii U GotY.

Oops, I sort of did it anyway.

#5 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

@JackSukeru: The pop-in does suck pretty hard sometimes. But only sometimes, which is kinda weird. Most of the time I find it's totally reasonable, but then occasionally an officer will just appear beside me.

Harp lady is Cai Wenji I believe?

#6 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@Akrid said:

@Hailinel: I could probably say something real snide about the Wii U here, but you know what, that thing is pretty cool. So sure, Warriors Orochi 3 - Wii U GotY.

Oops, I sort of did it anyway.

I just find it hilarious because you're using a screenshot specifically from the Wii U version. Momiji isn't in any of the other versions. :P

#7 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

One day I hope to give one of these games a go, provided I can find a copy relatively cheap.

#8 Posted by Akyho (1677 posts) -

I just want another Samurai Warriors game..... last Orochi's were not that good. Gameplay is fine just the pop in of enemies became so stupid that it rendered th egame unplayable when I backed into a Rage mode Lui Bui that popped in on the hardest difficulty.

So with my wish to simply play as Maguichi for ever I shall have to try and get Orochi 3....I also want another Dynasty Warrior Gundam.

#9 Posted by JackSukeru (5921 posts) -

@Akrid: I just hope that one day, whatever is keeping them from displaying all of the soldiers, all of the time for as far as you can see gets resolved. I mean I don't know a lot about this stuff but it has to be tied to the processing power of the consoles right? Having had my interest sparked for this type of game I'm looking forward to seeing if this is improved on in the next console cycle.

Also yes I was refering to Cai Wenji, I like the part where she shoots blue light and has a move that makes it rain fireballs from the sky for a while.

#10 Posted by Yummylee (22056 posts) -

I'm in the middle of writing up a blog about my time spent across a large majority of the Warriors games (spanning Dynasty, Samurai, Orochi, and Gundam anywhoo) and while I think a large majority of them are bloody dreck (especially Samurai Warriors 2, which is the one and only Warriors game that I outright loathe), Warriors Orochi 3 is indeed pretty good. Plus I was glad that all of the spoken dialogue is in Japanese, since it's a sight better than practically of the English language attempts in the prior games. Which I find odd, because I've noticed that there's a surprising amount of talented voice actors amongst the cast list. I guess the writing is just that bad that the voice acting is then pulled right down alongside it. Probably also down to some really poor voice direction, too.

#11 Posted by Levius (1169 posts) -

As someone who checked out of these games after the PS2 era this has really tempted me to check this out. It's mainly because I'm a sucker for anything with collectible anything especially, and so the progression stuff around the gameplay sounds really cool.

Also the collecting generals thing makes me really wish there was another dynasty tactics game, those games were really cool.

#12 Posted by Akrid (1356 posts) -

@Hailinel: Ha! Did I? Just went ahead and grabbed a few images off the site.

@JackSukeru: Yep. This is one of the few series that could potentially clearly benefit from more powerful consoles in a meaningful way - no pop-in would be nice. I can only hope they'll make good use of it when it's available.

@Yummylee: Samurai Warriors 2 was a pretty big letdown, but the one I can't stand - along with kind of the rest of the world - is DW6.

I get the feeling that the things they say in these games only really play - to the slight amount that they do - in Japanese no matter what. Though, y'know, totally likely that if I was a native Japanese speaker, it would appear just as dumb and cheesy.

@AmatureIdiot: The best part of collecting in this case is the utility of the things you're collecting, which makes it far more rewarding.

This specific game's probably not going to get cheap any time soon if you're on PS3 and in NA, since it's on PSN only. At least, that was my reasoning when I threw down $50 for it a couple weeks ago. You might be able to find a cheap disc copy if you're elsewhere/on another platform though.

#13 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

If this is just another dynasty warriors skin, it can burn in hell.

#14 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@Bourbon_Warrior: Learn to read.

#15 Posted by Worcanna (90 posts) -

Ive kind of always been a fan of the DW games and i really love this game. Tons of maps, insane amounts of heroes and i kinda have a lot of fun making maps for friends to play. :) Though, after playing the PS3 and Wii U version...the Wii U is kinda more fun, which i wasn't expecting.

#16 Posted by TobbRobb (4739 posts) -

Ohey, necro time.

I picked this up on whim, just because I kinda always liked some parts of DW or SW, but they fell way too short on other parts, so I couldn't enjoy them properly (kind of like monster hunter). But oh god I'm so happy I tried this out. WO3 is the most stupid fun I've had in a long while. Just the act of customizing my party and getting new stuff is just insanely satisfying and the combat can be a lot of fun as well, even if it still is weaker than I would prefer. Though I die a little inside every time I use a new characters musou and he just gets powered up for a second... I know they already did a lot of work distinguishing the characters, but damn, it feels so uneven when one dude gets massive explosions of doom and a bunch of others get anticlimatic bullshit buffs.

Also, would you guys agree that Sima Zhao kind of breaks the curve a little? He is the first one you get, and he can do everything excellently more or less. He has been my core dude start to finish. Felt a little like I got limited to two empty slots from the start...

Also I'm derailing this into a "post your party" thread now. My current favorit is Sima Zhao, Ding Feng and Zhou Tai/Wang Yuanji. I wanted to use Ranmaru because I liked him from way back, but he doesn't play as well. Hopefully Xiahou Dun or Oda Nobunaga hold up better.

#17 Edited by Fredchuckdave (5720 posts) -

The comparison between Pokemon is warranted; Pokemon is also a ridiculously iterative game; no clue why it gets slack and Warriors games don't. That said I very much doubt "every character is unique" in much the same way every Pokemon isn't close to unique. But at least they're based on extremely interesting periods in history; that's something.

Xiahou = Shia-hoe or "She a ho" really fast Dun = Dune Yuan = You-en, which sounds way less cool than Yuan so fuck that pronounciation

#18 Posted by Hailinel (25179 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

Ohey, necro time.

I picked this up on whim, just because I kinda always liked some parts of DW or SW, but they fell way too short on other parts, so I couldn't enjoy them properly (kind of like monster hunter). But oh god I'm so happy I tried this out. WO3 is the most stupid fun I've had in a long while. Just the act of customizing my party and getting new stuff is just insanely satisfying and the combat can be a lot of fun as well, even if it still is weaker than I would prefer. Though I die a little inside every time I use a new characters musou and he just gets powered up for a second... I know they already did a lot of work distinguishing the characters, but damn, it feels so uneven when one dude gets massive explosions of doom and a bunch of others get anticlimatic bullshit buffs.

Also, would you guys agree that Sima Zhao kind of breaks the curve a little? He is the first one you get, and he can do everything excellently more or less. He has been my core dude start to finish. Felt a little like I got limited to two empty slots from the start...

Also I'm derailing this into a "post your party" thread now. My current favorit is Sima Zhao, Ding Feng and Zhou Tai/Wang Yuanji. I wanted to use Ranmaru because I liked him from way back, but he doesn't play as well. Hopefully Xiahou Dun or Oda Nobunaga hold up better.

Double Necro!

Yeah, Sima Zhao does break the curve a bit. I got around it by using the recommended teams on stages as much as I could, but in those last few stages where Zhao is commonly part of those recommended teams, he was just tearing things apart. I need to get back in there and try to beat Orochi X on Chaos difficulty.

#19 Edited by Yummylee (22056 posts) -
@yummylee said:

I'm in the middle of writing up a blog about my time spent across a large majority of the Warriors games (spanning Dynasty, Samurai, Orochi, and Gundam anywhoo) and while I think a large majority of them are bloody dreck (especially Samurai Warriors 2, which is the one and only Warriors game that I outright loathe), Warriors Orochi 3 is indeed pretty good. Plus I was glad that all of the spoken dialogue is in Japanese, since it's a sight better than practically of the English language attempts in the prior games. Which I find odd, because I've noticed that there's a surprising amount of talented voice actors amongst the cast list. I guess the writing is just that bad that the voice acting is then pulled right down alongside it. Probably also down to some really poor voice direction, too.

Hey there Past Yummylee, this is Present Yummylee here to tell that you're a lazy sod and you won't actually finish writing up a blog about your time playing the Koei Warriors series!

#20 Edited by TopSteer (671 posts) -

@tobbrobb: I'm not sure this information is useful to you anymore but for the Samurai Warriors characters you have to hold the musou button for the unique attack, if you just tap it you'll enter a buffed state. As for party combinations, Zhou Tai and Ginchiyo Tachibana are pretty much always in my party with the third spot rotating quite a bit with Nobunaga being used a lot lately.

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