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The Gaming Universe  |  The Site  |  GU Reporter  |  Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends.

Author Topic: Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends.  (Read 1301 times)

Offline Marrshu

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Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends.
« on: April 16, 2014, 12:20:00 PM »
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Price: $59.99
       The Dynasty Warriors franchise has been around for a fairly long time, starting out as Sangoku Musou on the original PlayStation console as a one-on-one fighter. Eventually becoming the massive beat-em-up action game we known today as Shin Sangoku Musou (Dynasty Warriors 2) on the PlayStation 2. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of Koei's most successful franchises has quickly found itself a release on Sony's newest console: The PlayStation 4.

       Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, for the PS3, PS4, and PS Vita; is an updated version of the original Dynasty Warriors 8 released for the PlayStation 3. The game is a loose retelling of the Chinese novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", which details a partially historical and partially mythical take on the era following the end of the Han Dynasty. The basic gameplay premise is fairly simple; you pick from one of nearly 100 playable characters, head out into the battlefield, and beat the ever living daylights out of dozens of enemies that are trying to stop you. Along the way you'll take on officers and commanders, level up your characters, acquire new weapons, skills, and equipment, and see Ancient China united under one of three kingdoms.


       At a glance, the premise seems pretty simple, and hearkens back to classic arcade style beat-em-ups such as Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. Under it all however is a surprisingly complex system backed up thanks to a number of supporting mechanics. Each playable character may bring into the battlefield two weapons of their choosing, each with own affinity towards one of three properties. Countering enemy officers with the appropriate weapon affinity will allow you to break their defenses and deal devastating area wide attacks to all enemies on field. Likewise, taking the wrong weapon to the enemy will find you at a stalemate or even having your own defenses broken. Each of the different weapons also comes with additional skills called "Elements", which provide passive benefits, and offer further customization. New weapons can be earned by defeating enemy officers and clearing stages. A morale system keeps track of how your own soldiers are fighting, and increases or decreases as you and your enemy capture bases and defeat each others officers, and a friend may join in for some epic co-operative action.

       Xtreme Legends has an extensive amount of gameplay modes, some returning from the original Dynasty Warriors 8, others are brand new to the expansion. Story mode lets you play as one of the three kingdoms, or follow the story of notorious warrior Lu Bu. Each story mode has number of hidden objectives, stages, and even entire story routes as you progress. Free mode lets you select a warrior of your choosing and fight on any stage that has been previously completed with all new objectives unique to this specific mode. Challenge mode, unique to the Xtreme Legends expansion, lets you try your might at several short but specific objective modes. And Ambition mode has you take on the task of building the Tonquetai Tower and later uniting all of China in a roleplaying-esque style gameplay mode. Nearly all of these gameplay modes can be played solo, or a friend can join up and tackle the battlefields of china locally, or online across the various systems in the PlayStation family.


       Not all is perfect in the land of Ancient China however. The game attempts to run at a high resolution of 1080p on the PlayStation 4 version, with an equally high framerate of 60 frames per second. However it rarely ever succeeds at consistently hitting the high standards. Frequent framerate drops are common, with the game hovering closer to 30 frames per second in the middle of action, sometimes dropping even lower. Fire and other special effects tend to drop the framerate even lower. Likewise, the Playstation Vita version in particular has difficulty maintaining a decent framerate. To add insult to injury, a rather noticeable depth of field effect plagues the entire screen on the PlayStation 4 release, blurring what would otherwise make for an impressive looking game, with no way to turn it off.


       Online options are not much better, with all the various online modes scattered across the different menus with no accurate indication of how many people may or may not be playing a specific gameplay mode. Expect to search every different menu looking around for the mode you wish to play, only to discover that there may not be any games being played. The only way to find out is to queue up. Worse, the cross-platform multiplayer advertised doesn't always work, particularly in regards to PS3 and PS4 users playing together.

       It is also not unusual to see a variety of glitches occurs during the course of gameplay. Water and other textures glitching out on the Vita version. Those of you who wish to stream using the PlayStaion 4 will find your viewers with no audio at all. Online Play doesn't always keep players in sync, resulting in one player or another hitting at enemy officers that have already been finished off by another player. Sometimes, although rare, optional objectives or even the main objective will glitch out, forcing the players playing the game with no choice but to restart the stage and pray that whatever caused the glitch doesn't occur again. With stages lasting up to 30 minutes or more, this can potentially ruin a long gameplay session.


       A shame then, that all these technical issues hurt and weaken the experience, because Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends is not a bad game. Far from it, even. There's an incredible amount of value included in this single package, well worth the asking price. You could easily get a hundred hours of gameplay out of this title or more just completing each stage casually. Veteran fans of the franchise will know what to expect from this latest installment, but others may wish to consider if the technical issues can be overlooked before throwing down their hard earned money. 
The Good:
 +Gameplay is as tight as ever for the franchise.
 +An impressive amount of enemies displayed at once.
 +Awesome soundtrack and fairly decent voice acting for the scope and size of the game.
 +An impressive amount of stages, gameplay modes, and characters.

The Bad:
 -Minor technical issues all over.
 -Poor framerate on all platforms, weird Depth of Field effect on the PS4.
 -Online options are disorganized and don't always work.
 -Some rare, but major game stopping bugs.
 -No audio when streaming on the PlayStation 4.

Rating: Three out of Five
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 12:21:47 PM by Sophia »

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