While Dynasty Warriors 6 may not actually be number six in the series (with spin-offs Dynasty Warriors Gundam and Samurai Warriors included), to see any franchise last as long as this is impressive. Yet some argue that the series really hasn’t been going anywhere, unlike
Resident Evil or Gran Turismo. So Dynasty Warriors 6 poses a dilemma common in the video game world; if it ain’t broke, should you fix it?
Dynasty Warriors 6 is quite different compared to our last glimpse of the world with Dynasty Warriors Gundam. The game returns to its roots in North-east Asia and the Romance of the Three Kingdoms that shaped so much of the region. It’s a staple of the series and one which has fans in a familiar role from the outset.
The game has two main game modes to explore, which are essentially copies of each other. The main mode is, of course, story mode (or Musuo mode), where you will take control of various individual fighters and then sweep through your assigned battles, attempting to meet every-increasingly difficult target. These targets can vary between protecting the army leader to conquering an enemy fortress, throw in some bonus goals and the story mode will take up the majority of your time.
The second mode follows very closely to the story mode, the only difference being that this free mode allows the completion of the various levels with any character you so wish, allowing the leveling up of your heroes and making them stronger to compete in the Musuo mode proper.
The Dynasty Warriors series has always been known as a bit of a button masher, with only scant regard for tactics and strategy; Dynasty Warriors 6 is not really an exception either. Yes you will need the right set of tactics and tactical nous to be able to overcome the massive enemy hordes that will sometimes outnumber you 100 to one, but the actual fighting itself is very straightforward and often forces the exact same tactics every time.
For example, you will find yourself frantically attempting to protect your general from a huge group of enemy fighters as they pick off your strongest allies. Mash the attack button a lot, build up a super (or renbu attack) and then unleash and repeat. Occasionally you will be able to mount a much quicker, but much more awkward horse and wage battle, but most of the time players will rely on the tried but true mashing formula to overcome every enemy, no matter how strong.
Between each level characters gain experience points, new weapons and new horses, all of which add a nice level of sophistication to the game. There is also a small branching skill tree that allows you to customise the progress of your chosen character but which is really too small and linear to drastically alter any character considerably.
Graphically, the game performs reasonably well. The game will throw hundreds of enemies at players while maintaining a tight frame rate for all but the most overwhelming battles. The power of the next-gen systems allow for updated lighting effects to really showcase some impressive special moves. Yet it has an enormous number of pop-up enemies that seem to appear from nowhere and then disappear just as quickly.
The multiplayer mode adds more depth to the game but online play is somehow left out of the game entirely; something that is somewhat understandable given the amount of enemies that appear within the game, but something that also must be worked on for future installments.
Dynasty Warriors 6 is a must-buy for any hardcore fan of the series and is probably the best Dynasty Warriors game yet. But that being said, there really isn’t that much to the game that will turn the average gamer into a true believer and until Koei is able to bring the series into this century of gameplay, it looks like it will continue to remain that way.