By OXM Staff for OXM
on Friday 19th Jul 2013 at 9:00 AM UTC
Are you the sort of biannual bore who foghorns out the same lackadaisical dogma about how Dynasty Warriors doesn't change enough? Apart from presumably enjoying the hypocrisy, Omega Force doesn't care about you.
The Dynasty Warriors developer cares about those invested in wading through dead-eyed armies, arranged like so much human kelp, their only legacy to contribute to the haphazard rhythm of our K.O. tickers. I know this because a horse performs a full, aerial barrel roll in this game's opening FMV.
That horse tells me that Omega Force is now fully embracing what it is that gets to those of us who love the series - the excess.
For the gleeful runs through legions of army fodder, there are hilariously overpowered new moves like the Storm Rush. For the more strategic combat, there's a new rock-paper-scissors elemental system that forces you to experiment with new weapons mid-battle. And, obviously, there's an extended character roster - 77 in total, this time.
And for the ability to meddle with the already stretched interpretation of Chinese history, Free Mode makes a triumphant return alongside the new Ambition Mode, which reimagines the game's usual string of battles as a means to building a small town so that the Chinese Emperor will come and stay.
Essentially, Dynasty Warriors 8 will prove everyone right - there are simply no great steps up from its predecessor, which will overjoy the kind of bore who writes the other review you'll get if you click the other button. But it hones everything you'd actually want honed in a series this far down the line. Plus there's that horse bit. Beautiful stuff.
Sometimes, I hear a conversation about football, and it all feels like a conspiracy of madness. I know there is a man called Rooney, but others know facts about him. What kind of kicks he can do with his legs. I can only deal with this situation by assuming that no-one really exists but me, and it's all a whimsical nonsense play I have written and hallucinated for my own benefit.
Dynasty Warriors feel like a similar conspiracy - one that I could only join by making forcing my younger self to play the very first game. It's always felt like you need those pathways emblazoned into your brain at a formative age, and try as I might to forge new joy connections in my brain, Dynasty Warriors is like a bunch of ants entering a new house, and thinking "how the hell are we going to find the sugar? This place is massive."
But I'm going to take issue with my opposite review, on one thing. If Dynasty Warriors 8 truly is Omega Force thumbing their noses at the people who routinely snub their efforts, this time, it's not working. The focus on excess is exactly what a game based on slaughtering platoons of non-essential humans required. Anything less than unbridled excess feels like an insult to the unknown soldier.
While it's an erratic game: the troops pop-in right around you, which would be a problem if they posed any threat. And there are some things about the basic ideas of the game - the idea of heroic noblemen slashing through swathes of negligible sword fodder outrages my love for the underdog. But there's a time and a place for my class rage, and China in the second and third centuries is neither.
It'd suit the adversarial nature of this review if I came out of DW8 feeling as stubbornly indifferent as I have the last few games. But annoyingly, this is the first time Dynasty Warriors has made me want to play on. A slightly unhappy thought - I could be writing the other side of this argument, in two years.