Dynasty Warriors (Import)

February 2, 2005

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/dynastywarriorspspimport/cover.jpg[/floatleft]Pose a serious question to yourself. You are in the middle of a critical battle. You survey the soldiers from afar and see hundreds of soldiers clashing blades, gnashing teeth, and killing each other. What would you expect the music to be that would sound out over said battle? A rousing orchestral theme? A thunderous drum beat? Or, alternatively, a rocking rock jam? KOEI, in their infinite wisdom, opted for the latter option, took out any sense of realism from feudal Japan, miniaturized it, and has mailed it to retailers across the Far East. Forget the epic and serious combat of [i]Shogun[/i] or the honorable, realistic fighting of [i]Bushido Blade[/i]-if [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] was attempting to be a blade-for-blade, word-for-word account of anything other than how silly and fun a game can be, then it failed.

[floatright]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/dynastywarriorspspimport/ss01_thumb.jpg[/floatright]You choose your combatant from one of the many clans, and then choose (a la the [i]Total War[/i] series) a place to attack. You are then transported to the battlefield, where you must deplete the ranks of the opposing army to steal their terrain. At first, this is a seemingly boring and pointless experience-apparently, the murder of 15 soldiers is enough to scare the first few armies into running away. The true hilarity of [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] comes from the huge battles, taking their inspiration from Kurosawa battles, with the smallest dab of insanity.

At times, you will find 25 or 30 soldiers bearing down upon you and four of your closest allies. You will find that this is the equivalent to you being surrounded by blind mice with toothpicks, as you maniacally turn the analog stick, mashing the square button as you begin a celebration of calamity, cackling sadistically as you hear the generic “UUURGH!” of the opposing army’s men for the fiftieth time. Rather than attempting to create an authentic experience, KOEI has opted to take a page out of B.A. Baracus’ [i]Art of War[/i]. With your single soldier, you are able to rend armies asunder using simple slashing attacks on horseback or foot to ridiculous spinning feats that stab the silly out of anybody in the immediate vicinity.

Through your tour of war, you’ll gain experience, which affects your damage and HP. Sadly, that appears to be all it does-instead of allowing for a diversifying fighting ad skill system, KOEI has taken the series no further on the PSP and made what essentially is an unvaried, three-dimensional [i]Streets of Rage[/i].

[floatleft]http://www.snackbar-games.com/images/reviews/dynastywarriorspspimport/ss02_thumb.jpg[/floatleft]This is where the criticisms begin. While at times beautiful, and great for the PSP, some of the clipping harks back to the most awful of PS1 failures. How a company such as KOEI could completely fail to notice and deal with these problems is quite beyond me, and at times objects will appear out of nowhere the moment you walk into them. Not only this, but while your opponents easily block your attacks, you apparently lack the ability to do so yourself. To top it off, enemies can catapult you meters with a single strike at times-a strike you could have easily blocked. Mixed with the lack of a lock-on system, this destroys any hope of [i]Dynasty Warriors[/i] being a must-have game.

While good-looking and fun, this game is samey and shoddy at all the wrong times. It’s a crying shame that more effort wasn’t put in and that niggling errors summon dashed hopes upon us. Blast it all.