Throughout Dynasty Warriors history, one constant has been in place: do not, under any circumstances, pursue Lu Bu. He’ll kill you, probably. But, after so many years of not pursuing him, one must wonder what Lu Bu’s side is. As he lays waste to the battlefield, is his ferocity a reflection of his inner demons? Maybe he’s just misunderstood; he wants to be pursued by that special someone, but doesn’t know how to express his feelings. Luckily for us, Tecmo Koei and Omega Force finally address these burning questions and more in the spiffy PS4 (and other platforms) update, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition.
Dynasty Warriors 8 was a really great game. That hasn’t changed here. Actually, it’s even better. Thanks to the PS4, a significant performance upgrade has this game running incredibly smoothly, while adding even more enemies onscreen. Had the devs kept the limits of the original PS3 version intact, I can only imagine how great it would have been. Alas, pushing the hardware in goofy ways has always been Omega Force’s thing, but it generally works out.
Fire still hurts the frame rate, and when an unbelievable amount of grunts are on the screen it also takes a hit, but the vast majority of the time you’re looking at well over 30 frames per second. For a Dynasty Warriors game, that’s amazing. Still, it is a tad disappointing it doesn’t stick around 60 as we’ve come to expect from PS4 games. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that is a result of porting versus tech when the inevitable sequel hits. If balance between performance and ambition can be achieved, we could have something special on our hands.
Tech upgrades aside, Xtreme Legends also has an unearthly amount of new content. There are so many tweaks and little additions to each game mode, mentioning them would take all day. Even then, most players have hardly had time to get everything in the first version of the game, so it might not even be noticeable. One of the best aspects of Dynasty Warriors 8 the first time around was tons of content used in a way that made playing for a million hours fun, so having even more to do isn’t a bad thing.
We also have some new story content featuring our buddy Lu Bu, giving players insight into his side of the Three Kingdoms story as only a Dynasty Warriors title can. We saw a bit of expansion in the story last time with the hypothetical scenarios, and of course there are even more of those now, but it’s nice to see more expansion added to the, um, historical side of things.
PS3 version note
While PS4 and Vita players get the compiled Complete Edition since the original game wasn’t released on those platforms, the cheaper PS3 version of Xtreme Legends interacts with the base title as usual. You’ll need both games to access the full breadth of content. – Graham Russell
Now, the bad news. Xtreme Legends has cool Cross-Play and Cross-Save capabilities. You can swap saves between any version of the game, even bringing data from the original game before you start. You can also use the Vita version to play co-op with the other versions. Sounds great, but to be frank, the Vita version is not good. In a surprisingly lazy port job, the game seems to have just been crammed into the smaller platform with no regard for stability or usability. The frame rate is dreadful from the get-go, and the resolution is weird. It looks stretched-out and the menu text is cramped and tiny.
This isn’t the first time Tecmo Koei has botched a port. Look no further than Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for problems that are uncomfortably similar. It hurts even more here as the Vita-native Dynasty Warriors Next was one of the better examples of bringing a console-tier experience to a handheld. It’s a very disappointing, sloppy port and puts a substantial damper on the experience due to the emphasis on the different versions working together.
That said, you can totally ignore the Vita version and have the time of your life on the PS4. Hacking, slashing and pursuing Lu Bu has never looked or felt so good in the history of the franchise, and I eagerly look forward to the future. I just wish the Vita port were taken more seriously.
Pros: Everything that made the first time great, but more of it
Cons: Lame Vita port