Chaotic Soul Gaming

Dynasty Warriors 7 Review

April 26th, 2011

Well as my first review, I thought I would review a game I’ve been vehemently playing for the past couple of weeks, and that is Dynasty Warriors 7.

I can almost already hear most of you cry in unison “why are they still making this series?”.  I can ask you the same question about other series, why are they still making Madden, Call of Duty, Super Mario?  Well, believe it or not, because they still sell pretty well, and fans know what they’ll be getting.

Dynasty Warriors 7 is the 6th installment in the series, (Dynasty Warriors 1 does not count, as it was a one vs one 3d fighting game).  And yes, the basis of the game is still you versus thousands of soldiers, this hasn’t changed much since the 1st one on PS2.  Now I’ll take this opportunity to be a bit critical of the game review journalists out there who pans such games for not “evolving”.

Get over yourself, if you pan this game for not evolving, then please, do it for all the other series out there that does the same, those yearly Guitar Hero, Call of duty, Halo, etc.  They don’t stray much from their previous installments, yet unlike Dynasty Warriors, you people keep praising them to no end.  Why? is it because your sites are plastered by ads for them? Did you get some nice loot in exchange for a favorable review? Or did you get pressured into it because those games come from big publishers threatening you in not giving you review copies on time?  I thought professional reviewers needed to be objective and impartial in their reviews.  Yet most reviews I’ve seen of this series shows quite a bit of animosity toward Omega Force.  Even Trinity Souls of Zill O’ll suffered from this.  Now that I’ve taking this off my heart, let’s get to the review shall we?

True, the game isn’t much different from the previous installments, it still retells the story of the novel “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms” by Luo Guanzhong relating the fall of the Han Dynasty, the tales of the Three Kingdoms, and the unification of china, going from year 169 to 280.  Though, unlike the previous installments, Dynasty Warriors 7 finally brings the story to a close by including the Jin faction, created by Sima Yi and his sons, who are the ones who unified China in the end.

Story Mode

The first striking change in this installment though is how fleshed out the story mode is this time around.  Story mode tells the story of each individual factions, being Wu, Shu, Wei and the new one,  Jin.  Each have around 18 stages, and the game suggest that you play the Jin’s story for last since it is pretty much the conclusion.  For each stages, you play a predetermined character and they all play out in chronological order, which they seemed to have borrowed a lot from Troy Legend of Warriors own story mode.  A nice thing this time around is that characters who dies in the novel, will die at the appropriate moment in the game’s storyline as well, instead of keeping them alive for unknown reason.  Another nice touch is that this time around the characters names for the most part are pronounced by their chinese sound.  In the past, only Cao Cao and Cao Pi seemed to be like this (pronounced Tsao, not Cow), but now everyone is pronounced “correctly” like Sun Quan will be spoked “Seun Chuan”.  Story mode can be pretty lengthy, it took me roughly 20 hours to do all four arcs.

Conquest Mode

The other mode which is most likely the one where you will be pooling the most time is the Conquest Mode.  In this mode, you have a map of china divided in hundred of hex sectors, each being a different mission (think of them kind of what Dynasty Warriors 6 Empire had as quests).  Some of them even have multiple, which are the “Legend” stages of specific officers.  On each of these hexes have an icon, which defines the rewards of these stage, they can be stats increases, unlockable characters, guardian animals, or weapons.  This mode also borrowed Dynasty Warriors Gundam II Character Affection system, which is called “Bond” in this one.  And unlike DWG2 it is a lot less bothersome as bonds can’t decrease over time like it did in that one, furthermore the bonds are kept across all characters and hence requires a lot less grinding than it did DWG2.

Gameplay

As for the core of the game, you still get to kill hundreds of “brainless” soldiers peppered with the occasional officers.  Killing officers gives the character you’re playing as skill points that you can use to unlock skills from a skill tree.  Each characters have a different one, though skills do duplicates of course.   In story mode, the skill points you gather cross over to the next characters from within the story arc you’re playing too.  This time around, all characters can use any weapons, but each of them have a specific weapon type that they excel at, giving them a few additional attack patterns.  As you progress you will unlock more weapons, and on these weapons there are unlockable skill seals, which you can requip on other weapons when they are unlocked.  This is very much alike to Orochi Warriors and the character skills unlocking system it had.

Also to note, the AI seemed to be a lot more aggressive on Normal difficulty compared to previous entries.  And to add to this, people whining about weak AI in this series, please do yourselves a favor, stop playing on easy ok?

Another new feature is that you can now control siege weapons like catapults or arbalests, but these are only available in some of the story stages, it is a nice feature, but nothing ground breaking.  Swimming is still here, but seemed to take a backseat compared to 6.

Graphics & Sounds

On the side of graphic, the game is a notch above what it was in Dynasty Warriors 6, but still suffers from soldiers popping in and out, though the draw distance seems better then what it was with 6.  The game also suffers from slowdowns but nothing as severe as it was in the 6th game.  All in all, the graphics are standard current generation fare.

The voice acting, even though sometimes a bit over played is also a step above what is usually known for the series, and a Japanese Voice DLC is planned to be released in the near future.  And a surprising not, the voices are perfectly lipsynced with the character models this time around.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, any fans of the series will know what to expect, and I do think newcomers may very well like this game as well, the game is lengthy, and a decent amount of unlockable items, and is generally a blast,  my only suggestion is to stop following every reviewers out there blindly and do some research on your own

The Good:

  • Massive content (hundreds of weapons, roughly 250 different missions in conquest, unlockabled, etc)
  • The best story telling in the series so far.
  • Responsive controls
  • Decent voice acting for the most part
  • Best looking in the series yet
  • AI seems the be quite a bit more aggressive this time around

The Bad:

  • Can become quite repetitive, especially if you’re aiming for all the trophies/achievements
  • Popping in / out enemies
  • Inconsistent framerate issues
  • Most characters don’t differ themselves enough from one another

Now that the review’s done 😉   Let’s talk about about the core side of the game a bit.

First, I want to talk about the AI, and to why the soldiers are usually pretty dumb in this series.
The first reason would be a no brainer to anyone who have read the book, soldiers were fodder, they barely participated in any of the big skirmishes, all you heard about was the Generals, or Officers mowing them down, or duelling each others.

The second reason, and this is pretty much the real one here.  I want anyone to simply imagine, having roughly 60+ entity surrounding you, being as intelligent as one of the officers.  That would literally mean an instant death by juggling right there!  Further more,  it’s could also become quite resource intensive having this many intelligent entity to be updated constantly.

Following on the AI, I was thinking a bit on how the game keeps up to date the general squad movements on the map, and kind of figured some things that I could be using on my own game projects.  I’m sure there’s an actual scientific term for this AI/Pattern behavior out there, but for now I’ll call it Clustered Entities.  I’m going to write an article on this hopefully this week after I’m tinkered a bit in Game maker on that matter, I may very well include a sample to be downloaded.

PS: This is my first review ever, please be gentle in your critics 😉  (well, ok, not too much)

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