Continuing their massively popular action-strategy line, Koei brings Dynasty Warriors to the PSP. The game is set around 2,000 years ago, and allows you to take command of a general of one of the 3 major Dynasties which ruled the war embroiled China of the period.
Can you conquer your enemies and bring peace and unity to the land? The PSP version of this game is fairly similar to its larger cousins, but the gameplay is broken up into stages, separated by a board game style grid where you pick which point of the map to attack next. Some squares contain healing supply forts, some give you extra time and others are just good strategic positions to occupy. The idea of each section of the game is to rout your enemy from their base camp before you’re taken out yourself.
To help you out, you are able to select up to 4 lieutenants to accompany you into battle alongside your own army. Each lieutenant has their own special abilities which add to your own, and they are mostly controlled by the PSP, but you can command them to use their special abilities when you need them. Fighting takes place in very large 3D arenas with combat essentially being button-mashing on foot, but later include horses, elephants and devastating chariots which attack with long-range and melee weaponry. As you defeat enemies, you accrue experience and gain levels, much like a standard RPG allowing you to upgrade your character. The major difference between this series and normal fighting games is the size and scope of the battles you are engaged in. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as coming across two large armies fighting amongst each other, and ploughing into them, taking half of the enemy out in one fell swoop.
The PSP can handle most of this pretty well, considering the amount of action taking place. Controls are intuitive and efficient. The developers have simplified the backgrounds a little, and reduced the visible depth to minimise the slowdown you get when there are too many things happening on the screen at once. It still looks great though, and the addition of the board game grid works well for the platform. It makes it easier to stop and start, without breaking the gameplay up too much. If you’re a fan of the series, it’s well worth a look, and if you’re not, maybe it’s time to give it a try.