Like many of the Wii U’s launch titles, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is an enhanced version of an existing game, relying heavily on the original’s charms and adding a few trinkets here and there to make the port worthwhile. Hyper actually doesn’t do anything particularly novel or gimmicky, focusing on adding characters and a two-player fighting mode.
For those who missed the PS3/360 version, Warriors Orochi 3 boasts its standard crazy amount of characters in its convoluted time-travel campaign. Most of the characters are from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games, and a handful are original to the Orochi plot, but Orochi 3 steps the game up entirely with appearances from other Tecmo Koei games. Most are Omega Force properties (like Bladestorm and Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll), but Ryu and Ayane from Ninja Gaiden also make appearances.
These characters get a bit more attention than usual in Orochi 3, as the campaign has you delving into characters’ recent pasts and saving allies. You’ll fight a big battle and win, but lose vital warriors along the way. Later, you’ll find a way to go back and warn them, or go back and save other troops to give you a more overwhelming force, and try the battle one more time. It lengthens the campaign with little effort, sure, but it also helps to let you try other fighters and have time to level them up.
Hyper adds a few more names to the roster, though with over 130 characters, a handful more is hardly significant. What is significant is this new Duel Mode, which attempts to turn the combat system into something like a 2D fighter and focuses on card-based bonuses. It’s an interesting addition, as it gives you one more set of collectibles to acquire in the campaign and one more way to try all the game’s characters.
It’s a bit peculiar, frankly, and I’m not sure it will appeal to fighter fans. The card-based loadouts aren’t very balanced, and many characters are simply unusable in a competitive context. Still, it can be fun from time to time, and it’s playable locally or online.
The GamePad choices are a bit strange, and probably worth a bit more thought. When playing alone, it simply mirrors the screen, with no touch controls or special features. This is one game when just putting the map on there would’ve been great, and I’d imagine that not sending everything to the GamePad could result in a better frame rate and more enemies on screen. (The series has always struggled with that, after all.) Also, the map is a vital part of the game, and when playing on the GamePad alone, it’s up in the corner but too blurry to be usable.
When playing locally with two, though, it works as you’d expect: you can split your TV screen, or you can each play on one of the displays. The performance doesn’t take a hit beyond what it usually does, and it legitimately does help to see more of the area.
The original’s ability to create custom scenarios is still here, for those wanting to put in the time, as are all the bond schemes and special weapons. It really is a deep well of game here, and those wanting to get lost in it can certainly do so for a long, long time. It’s really not enough to warrant a second purchase for people who played it on PS3 or 360, but if you haven’t (and can handle a bit more slowdown at times), this may be the version to get.
Pros: New Duel Mode is interesting, GamePad used for local full-screenco-op
Cons: Frame rate issues, still following the standard Warriors formula