It’s a great day to be a Koei Tecmo fan, with games coming out of their ears such as Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Edition, Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn and Samurai Warriors 4 hitting the shelves in October, and now we have Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate out for PlayStation 3 and Vita and now porting over to the PS4.
Its a big unrelenting slew of games which from a developers point of view means big bucks but the million dollar question on every-bodies lips is; is all these releases in quick succession meaning recycled elements which in turn makes the games feel like they are one in the same? Its tough not to wonder, especially with other developers taking years before another entry in their franchise comes out. If you’re a fan of course, it wont bother you much, its like your favorite band bringing out record after record and you loving every single one whereas non-fans eyes may be rolling.
Koei Tecmo’s Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is a direct crossover between two of its better known franchises; Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors. In Orochi 3, characters from the two labels, over 100 playable ones, join forces to fight off an otherworldly enemy in the form of Demon Lord Orochi and his band of demons. Starting with a defeat in the hands of Orochi’s giant multi-headed hydra, your starting team of three characters must travel back in time to seek help from more warriors to assist in fighting the hydra and beating Orochi once and for all. You do this in a sequence of missions separated by Japanese voice acted cutscenes and occasionally, full fledged live action ones which are brilliant to watch. The voice acting is a recurring niggle as western releases of these games consistently have no English voices. Luckily though, the dialogue is short and sweet during these cutscenes so you don’t have to wait long before your chucked straight into the action.
Going back to what i said in the introduction about these games being at risk of feeling recycled, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate unfortunately does so as the gameplay is identical to Dynasty Warriors games. Seen from a third person perspective, Your onscreen character has two types of attack (weak and strong) which can be chained together to pull off some sweet looking combos each characters being different to the next. Each character also has a special attack which corresponds to the franchise that character comes from. Dynasty characters have a Musou attack which is a stylish super move that can take out tonnes of enemies in one go which soon becomes a necessity considering the ridiculous number of enemies onscreen at any one time. Samurai characters have similar attacks however they are more drawn out. Both Dynasty characters and Samurai characters also have different attacks and moves which are respective to their franchises and their weapon of choice which cannot be changed although a visit to the blacksmith enables you to fuse weapons together which can add some neat properties to them. In Orochi 3 Ultimate, the best feature is mixing and matching a team of three characters of your choice which can be switched at the press of a button or all three of your characters can fight at once which enables you to activate a joint Musou attack which is the strongest and flashiest attack in the game. This adds an impressive amount of depth to the game and makes it forgivable for the restrictions of the inability to switch weapons or Musou’s.
You can call upon your horse like you could in Dynasty Warriors 8. Your four legged friend makes moving around the battlefield that little bit easier and running through hordes of enemies is great fun. Youll spend most of your time on foot however as the battlefields are jam packed full of things to fight, this time around, its demons. Amongst certain groups of enemies are generals and key characters which are identifiable by their names being displayed above their heads. They are tougher than your average fodder but thankfully the rock-paper-scissors mechanic introduced in Dynasty Warriors 8 is absent here making the battles more manageable and fun. Also imported over is the dynamic battle system which updates you of your allies progress, morale and whether they require your assistance. This is where that niggly language barrier pops up again as even though you’re informed by voice acting, its in Japanese so you are forced to read whats going on and in the heat of battle, its a huge pain.
Completing missions awards experience points and cash to spend on leveling up your characters and buying new weapons or fusions. All of this can be done between missions in the story mode. Aside from the story, you can try out Duel mode which pits you in a three on three fight against the computer or friends locally or online. A tutorial mode is present for newbies and a menacing Survival mode is present to test your mettle against the increasingly difficult horde. New to the Orochi series is Gauntlet mode which puts you and 5 allies in a dungeon filled with trials which gets tougher as you progress so staying alive is key. Completing the plethora of game modes is Musou Battlefields which allow you to replay unlocked missions completed in story or free modes however you can customize enemy layouts, officer placements and even background music, a fantastic addition.
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate on PS4 is a remaster of its PS3 and Vita counterpart so you wont find next gen graphics here although character models and the ability to handle a silly amount of enemies onscreen is impressive. This is Orochi 3 Ultimate’s biggest visual flare as battlefields look nice but it’s hard to not feel like they are empty. No buildings or environmental features can be destroyed so moving from one area to your goal, which more often than not is miles away, feels mundane especially because the hordes of enemies can be ran through.
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is no doubt a fun deep game however very recycled but thankfully key differences and improvements such as the ability to character switch and the diverse range of characters and tonnes to unlock makes this the best Warriors game ive ever played. Trailing around the huge battlefields can be painful however the ridiculous potential kill count will keep you occupied.
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Story – 4/5
Version reviewed – PS4