Back to war! Warriors Orochi 3 is the most recent release in the Warriors Orochi series, and for many who have seen the Warriors tag adorn games, it’s probably something like the 50th in their eyes. This series though differs from the other Samurai and Dynasty series in a number of ways, but it’s still the same core gameplay at its center – hit one button and beat the everloving crap out of anyone you see. It’s simple, fun, and easy to play cooperatively with a friend. What’s not like the like?…oh yea, the repetitiveness.
Unlike most of the other Warriors titles, this one is an actual sequel to the previous games in the series. Picking up with Warriors Orochi 2 left off after the defeat of Orochi the Serpent King, the newly combined world of Sengoku Period Japan and Romance of the Three Kindgoms Era of China are beset by a new threat – a hydra that is single handled killing, destroying, and devouring the known world.
There really isn’t much left by the time the game starts and players are in control of the last three generals: Ma Chow, Sima Zhou, and Hanbei Takenaka. It’s a bleak end for everyone as the Hydra picks off other generals in the resistance one by one in the beginning “final” battle until your small band is simply whisked away by a mystic and propelled back into the past to save others and bolster the resistance in the final fight. You’ll take the time to travel back to various recent points in history to effectively change the past and rescue your comrades. There is a neat thing here to remember – rescuing new brothers and sisters in arms opens up the ability to change history somewhere else as well, letting you further change a previously played level in a Redux version. It gets convoluted, but regardless it’s still fun.
The game uses a hub system similar to the previous Dynasty Warriors 7 game, and I must say it’s a great addition. At the hub location you’re given the option of pushing into the final battle against the hydra…again, inviting friends into the game or jumping into theirs, buying/fusing weapons, and time traveling. It falls in line with the intro cinematic – the hydra’s shadow consumes the land bit by bit, wiping out various forces spread out across the strange China/Japan hybrid world. Time traveling gives you some awesome choices – there tons of levels to play through, and at points you’ll get the chance to play through them again with the circumstances changed. It’s a lot of levels. It’s a hell of a lot, especially for a Warriors title. Personally, I thought this was fantastic.
Much like other titles within each series, playing through levels unlocks new characters and weapons, and levels up your current characters. Like others in the Orochi series, this game allows you to use three characters at once, letting you perform seamless transitions between them mid-fight if you so choose. The best part? If you want to build a dream team of Lu Bu, Tadakatsu Honda, and…well, you really only need those two hulks, but you’re welcome to create any team as you please. Keep in mind though that are certain combinations that work better together than others, but luckily the game will let you know these combos.
The neat thing about this series, continued from the last ones, is the ability to level up other characters outside of battle using growth points. This saves a hell of a lot of time for those seeking to level up the full roster, plus it lets you quickly pull a new character up from level 1 to whatever level you’d like. Combine that with the ability to upgrade and manage your weapon inventory as you please and you’ll be kicking demon ass in no time.
Speaking of characters – there are over 130 total. That’s a pretty ridiculous amount, and the best part is they’re pulled from all of theDynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and even other Tecmo and Koei series like Warriors: Legends of Troy and Ninja Gaiden. Yes, even Ryu is a playable character. So this may be the better game to play as Ryu this year.
Warriors Orochi 3 takes a step up in comparison from the last game in terms of graphics. Unlike the last two titles (especially the first), this new entry into the series supports numerous onscreen enemy rendering. I’ve played almost every Warrior title released and this one by far blows me away by the sheer number of people I have to kill in front of me. It was a nice change, especially after some of the ones I’ve played will show five enemies, and only once they are dead will the next five appear. The environments look nice, though I’ll say that most of the background and environmental design look pretty standard; it’s a staple of the Warriors games to rehash the environments, but honestly they did some interesting stuff in this one with the demon areas.
This game won’t be everyone’s forte, but I’ve always enjoyed them even if they can mindless. I highly recommend giving it a shot either as a downloadable title via the PSN or getting the disc version for the Xbox 360. The fun coop alone makes it good for friends both offline and online. There are some minor graphical glitches to contend with and the AI isn’t necessarily the best, but its a solid title nonetheless.Note: Warriors Orochi 3 was reviewed on PlayStation 3. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.