dan_rob_campbell's Warriors Orochi 4 (Nintendo Switch) review

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A misstep for the series

I've been a huge fan of the "Musou" genre of games since Dynasty Warriors 2, and that will continue to be the case. That being said, Warriors Orochi 4 is not making that decision an easy one. The multitude of systems implemented in Orochi 4 are smart and a joy to experience. There are loads of characters, musou attacks, magic attacks, weapons, moves, etc. There is SO MUCH to love about this game! But, In it's reach to try and be the best musou game ever created, the most important aspect of these games slipped out of its grasp; the actual gameplay.

The moment to moment combat is the one thing that HAS to be good in a musou game in order for any other aspect to thrive. It's like trying to build a house with no foundation. Sadly, Orochi 4's combat feels clunky, clumsy and cumbersome. To demonstrate my point, if possible, try this exercise; Play a lauded Musou game like Hyrule Warriors or Fire Emblem Warriors. Notice how when you move and attack, your forward motion remains constant. When your character slices through dozens of baddies each attack seems to flow flawlessly from one to the other. It feels good. The camera is the perfect distance always, at the perfect angle. The enemies react perfectly to your attacks and almost always remain in front of you so all your attacks land. Combat is smooth, cinematic, and most of all, fun.

Now play Orochi 4 and realize all these things are gone. There is a hard disconnect between when your character is running and when they are attacking. They seem to come to a dead stop while they attack, attacks don't flow smoothly from one to another, and the enemies are either standing around doing nothing or juggling you till you're dead. The magic system is great, but you're able to spam it almost endlessly to the point where your regular attacks feel like they aren't even needed. You're frustrated, and you don't know why. The answer; It's because your agency, what you want the character to do, doesn't have strong connection. The link between your mind and what the character does is muddled. It feels like you're not controlling a unique and skilled warrior but more like a robot that was hastily programmed to approximate ancient warfare.

You could do worse than Warriors Orochi 4, but you could also do a lot better as well. If you're looking for a game of this ilk and you've got a Nintendo Switch, pick up Hyrule Warriors. If you're playing on Xbox, PS4 or PC pick up Berserk. While I'm still a fan of this type of game, and a lot of the things Orochi 4 attempted to do, the game simply feels frustrating. After putting 200 hours into one of its better playing older brothers, I'd recommend one of those before you slip into the under developed mess that is Warriors Orochi 4.

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