Donâ€™t be fooled by the title; the number of Dynasty Warrior titles there have been cannot be counted on two hands, and thatâ€™s not even including spin-offs like Samurai Warriors and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam. And despite the small changes to the formula, it is this sheer saturation that is the downfall of Dynasty Warriors 6.
Koei has promised that Dynasty Warriors 6 is a new beast for a new generation. â€śBuilt from the ground up for the next generation consoles,â€ť it says. Unfortunately, these changes are minor and largely insignificant and come at the expense of other features, meaning that the whole product not only feels stale but also lacking.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that Dynasty Warriors is still visiting the Three Kingdoms saga of the Third Century. Although a rich tale full of epic drama, the fact of the matter is that gamers have been asked to fight this war over and over again. And like how the Invasion of Normandy has worn out what welcome it might have had, itâ€™s a shame to see Koei once again use the same tired story as the driving force of the series.
Worse still is that the number of playable characters in the story-based mode has been drastically reduced to only 17 playable characters. Other major omissions from previous titles include the use of items, bodyguards, and the create-an-officer mode.
Such a step backward would not be such an issue if the new changes and additions made up for what was missing. However, they do not. Dynasty Warriors 6 boasts a new graphics engine, but it merely demonstrates how Koei has decided to let the resolution do the work for them â€“ on a standard TV the game looks like a PlayStation 2 title.
Even in HD, however, the game has some massive graphical flaws that cannot be forgiven. Pop-up is frequent and occurs ridiculously close to the player, the animation is stiff, and there is still way too much fog trying to disguise the poor draw distance. Environments are also bland and repetitive, and realistically this kind of work is pretty poor form considering that Koei is loudly touting their shiny new graphics engine.
Another new feature that doesnâ€™t live up to its potential is the Renbu combo meter. Essentially rewarding players for large unbroken strings of attacks while refraining from taking damage, the feature affects gameplay to such a small extent that itâ€™s largely negligible.
As with previous Dynasty Warriors titles, the gameplay revolves around swarming into one group of enemies, destroying the commanding officers, and then racing off to attack the next group. While the game tries to offer incentives to branch out and kill everything in sight, the true key to success is to focus on the commanding officers and eliminate them in the shortest time possible.
Ultimately, this resorts in an experience that feels repetitive and boring, and given that lots of the elements that provided strategy in previous entries are missing, Dynasty Warriors 6 is nothing short of a complete letdown. Koei has promised much but has failed to deliver on the potential of these revisions and additions.
The main problem is that Dynasty Warriors 6 is stuck in the past. It goes far beyond such archaic features as a save system that limits the number of times you can save: Dynasty Warriors 6 is offering what was essentially a PlayStation 2 launch title with very few of the things gamers now demand from this generation of video games.
Fervent fans of the series who donâ€™t mind more of the same will no doubt find plenty to enjoy here, but for everyone else there are better options. Indeed, given the lacklustre graphics and missing features, new players would be better off trying a previous entry in the series â€“ this will ultimately prove to be a cheaper option that will provide a meatier experience.