I’ve been following the Warriors series of games for about a decade now. At some point I conceded that the hack-and-slash genre, specifically Dynasty Warriors, was moving the way of yearly sports releases with its incremental updates and almost-annual releases. Like the gamer that eagerly awaits an updated Madden roster, I too have continued to sink massive amounts of time unlocking and upgrading my various Warriors characters with each new release. Enter Warriors Orochi 3.
As a veteran Warrior, I’m quite used to racking up four-digit KO counts and decimating the opposing armies. Warriors Orochi 3 starts things off with a slightly different tone, as the first battle features your army fighting a demon army and a massive hydra that wipes out your entire army, leaving only a squad of three generals. Your team of warriors is then rescued by a mystic named Kaguya, who transports your team to a mystical hub. The hub is a familiar concept used in many games. It features a blacksmith where you can buy and fuse weapons that you’ve collected, as well as a portal that allows you to select your next battle. You’ll also socialize with other playable characters to increase the friendship level between the characters. Kaguya then explains how you’ll have to travel back in time and alter the outcome of certain battles in order to preserve friendly armies and generals to ultimately take down the Hydra.
As in other Orochi games, you’ll have a squad of generals to play as during each battle, allowing you to select characters whose strengths complement each other. Each battle plays a part in the larger strategy to alter history, so the game will provide you with a suggested lineup of generals before the battle starts. If you play the way I do, you get real comfy with a small group of characters and ignore the rest, and that’s still an option here. After the battle, assuming you are victorious, the generals that survived the battle offer to join forces with you and are unlocked as playable characters. Occasionally, enemy generals will switch sides and offer to join you as well. WO3 features over 120 characters to choose from, including cameos by Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, Ayane from Dead or Alive, Joan of Arc from Bladestorm, Nemea from Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll and Achilles from Warriors of Troy, so you’ll have quite a variety when selecting your squad.
Free play is still present, and the folks at Omega Force have taken a step towards user-generated content with the Musou Battlefield mode that allows gamers to create and share their own game levels. I’ll be steering clear of this and the online co-op feature, which was essentially lifted from Dynasty Warriors 7, as single-player and local multiplayer are about the only ways I enjoy Warriors. Story Mode is largely unchanged from previous games, and allows you a little bit of choice in the order of the battles you choose. The battles themselves bring that same familiar feel as past games and still fuel the desire for working your way through hordes of enemies at sword point or with a pike.
Most notable about Warriors Orochi 3 is the lack of English voice overs. Purists may prefer the foreign voice with English subtitles, but I’ll be honest in that I skip just about all of these, as I’m not playing Warriors for the storyline.
At the end of the day, Warriors Orochi 3 is the logical next step in the series, and it boasts an insane amount of content and characters that should keep anyone busy for quite a while. If you’ve never checked out a Warriors title before, this is a great one to get started with, as it’ll introduce you to characters from both Samurai and Dynasty flavors of the game, plus some of Tecmo Koei’s other notable characters. I’d be hard-pressed to disagree with the fact that it’s the best title to date and one I’ll be playing for a while, but it still lacks the mass appeal it needs to break out of its decade-long pattern.
Pros: Massive hack and slash battlefield, tons of playable characters
Cons: Useless online co-op system