Zhao Yun, a fighter from a small town investigates a cave with his friend, Lei Bin. What they find changes their lives, and their destiny. Alongside finding Yellow-Turbans, a group of rebellious no-gooders, they are greeted with a mysterious ice structure, holding what seems to be an odd-looking female inside. Lei Bin, as curious as he is, being so interested in books and lore, checks out this ice structure. After inspecting it, something amazing occurs. The seal breaks, and out comes this mysterious person, alive and well.
Lei Bin’s curiosity and Zhao Yun’s bravery is what leads the two friends into journeying with the mysterious person, named Lixia. This story is what leads the game, a turn-based strategy with interesting and quite simply expected combat from the franchise.
Dynasty Warriors in general is known for its amazing and hilariously fun combat style. Being able to juggle 50 enemies with one spear, without letting them touch the ground is one of the most fun, yet extremely cool combat styles from my childhood. I remember vividly playing Dynasty Warriors 4 Empires as a child mostly, and the combat style really has transferred over to this different genre quite well. In the options of the video game, you can actually change how you view this combat, whether or not you would like to view it in an isometric manner, or in a more cinematic way. I picked the latter option, as I wanted to take in as much of the experience as possible. But I found over time that I ended up turning off the option, as I found out that you CAN have too much of those moments. Another part of the franchise that I remember vividly is the amazing soundtrack, and this game does not differ from the others. This soundtrack is very good, and is very suited to the gameplay.
In regards to the options, the user experience with the main menu seems to be quite positive. I played this on the PlayStation Vita, so what I was looking for most was a simple and easily understandable UI. And that is what I found; a simple menu screen which let you scroll up and down the different options, and wasn’t overly complicated. No obnoxious animations, nothing that makes getting into the action take longer. This also benefits the idea that the Vita is a portable console, and in many situations, you would like to just open the game to load your save instantly.
If you navigate the menu screen, and go into the Options screen, you can find a few nice little features, that may help your gameplay. At the start, I had everything as default, I decided to see how it was like to play the game with these options, before I changed any. Halfway through my gameplay I decided to turn off all battle animations, as the games would take too long due to them. Now that’s quite the negative, as it proves that after time, you get tired and bored of the same animations, and you would just rather see how the battle ends up much faster, as there is a lot of grinding and fighting to actually do in this game.
When it comes to the combat itself, it is good. Now, I cannot say it is brilliant in any way, as it’s the kind of stuff you find in any turn-based strategy game. You know, you wait for your turn, you attack and take advantage of strategies like position and timing, and then once your turn is over you wait for the enemy to do theirs. The only thing that makes the gameplay a little bit more exciting is the mechanic called Synchro, which lets you team up with your generals to unleash a full-blown epic attack on an enemy. Not only does it give you another chance to move, it also lets you attack normally, then pick and enemy to all team up on, in hopes that you beat them. I have found that it’s very satisfying to do this. This is because for one, you have an extra method to make it more effective. You button mash the hell out of the X button, to increase the amount of damage you dish out. Hey, I’d say that’s a good thing in a turn-based game where you have limited actual fighting input. It shows they considered trying to add more “skill” to the fighting (even though anyone can mash a button).
But, it’s not easy to make a turn-based game into something that puts any other turn-based games to shame. While this is the case, there is a lot that may push you into deciding “Eh, I’ll finish the game another time. I’ll play this game instead”, due to how repetitive the game actually is. You can’t exactly get strong enough to progress throughout each story mission, without farming the side missions, but that really is expected. But even though that’s the case, it didn’t actually indicate to me that you could farm these missions. The icons to show that these missions are available, look very similar to what you’d expect to be the icon for “Look mate, you already did this one so progress to the next area where we’ve highlighted it for ya’ ”. They look like a cross, which you could assume means that they have been completed.
The game punishes you if you make a bad mistake. I have found many times that the enemy just puts all of their troops on one character, and just absolutely destroy it in one turn, but, that’s exactly what I was doing, also. Then again, I WAS playing on hard mode. I decided to choose to play on hard mode to just test how hard the game can be, and the game absolutely can be quite hard. The mission I had the most trouble with initially was the one against Dong Zhuo, which led me to farm the other missions even more than I originally did. At first, I voluntarily farmed a nice amount of the missions, and yet that still wasn’t enough. But, what did I expect from Hard mode? I can’t exactly call this a negative, as I voluntarily chose the most difficult option. I feel that the difficulty of that mission was actually pretty tense, and I enjoyed it for that reason.
The title I gave this article is an inside joke, as constantly throughout battle you also gain loot. In game I chuckled quite a bit when I constantly got the item “Meat Bun”, and then ended up hating the item due to how much it doesn’t really help me compared to the others. You really do get a handful of those items, and I ended up getting around 20 of them, before I sold them to temper my weapons.
On the subject of weapons, there are many ways you can improve them. The most expected way is to buy a new weapon, or find a new weapon, and replace the old and sell it. But that isn’t the only thing you can do. Tempering is a feature, where you can pay money to increase the damage of a particular weapon. This is very satisfying to do, as you could use all of your money to get a weapon to hit like a truck, well, not like the chinese empires knew what trucks are! Alongside tempering, you can transfer attributes of other weapons to your chosen one with the feature “Reforge”. This lets you transfer an attribute for example ones that increase your stats. You can have a few on one weapon, so for example maybe you have two weapons that increase your health, you can reforge them together to make one epic item that increases your health a lot more. Stacking stats, and adding new ones altogether is what makes the Merchant in this game exciting.
That’s the rundown of the game, you go through a world map, and you pick your missions to play, and then you’re thrown into the action. There weren’t too many negatives about the game in general, none that stand out so much that makes me say “never buy the game”, but the positives are similar, as the game is good, was exciting to play for the most part of the game, but it just isn’t outstanding. It’s a good game, better than it is bad, but I just don’t have as much of a reason to tell you to buy this game instantly. But what I would say is that if you’re into strategy games, and you’re ALSO into Dynasty Warriors, also wanting something to play when you’re out and about, getting this game on Dynasty Warriors isn’t the worst idea, as I feel that if you’re into this style of game, it can be very replayable.
Although that’s the basic game idea, there is also a type of side quest to do.You have to collect certain amounts of certain items, to then progress to find out the backgrounds and how each character you meet felt. This was called the “Path of Destiny”, and seemed to be the ability of Lixia. What impressed me is that to use that feature, you found some sort of magical mirror, which lets Lixia find out these feelings and backgrounds. The way the developers tied in menu features to the game itself was impressive.
This wasn’t the only thing they did to tie it in with the game. To be able to control every general, they used Lixia to basically say “Hey, I can control people and stuff so whatever you want these guys to do I’ll get them to do it”, which feels lazy, in a way. But then at the same time it’s quite smart, as not everyone would pick up that feature as a way to cover how you’re able to control them. Some games just let you downright control them and they don’t give you any excuses for it, so props to the game developers for this little idea.
The graphics are quite low quality, and that’s expected from the limitations of the console. The PlayStation 4 version of the game has dramatically better graphics. But while this is the case, they managed to prioritize certain features to look better than others. The original cave that you first enter had quite horrible graphics, the texture looked out-of-place and just looked extremely low quality. But other than that, they prioritized the player models, and those absolutely looked great. It was the right idea to put those first, as you’d be seeing them so often.
Overall, I would like to repeat that the game is actually quite a good game, and I don’t doubt that for a second. But, it just isn’t something that puts any other turn based strategy games to shame. There are many other turn based strategy games out there that are much better than this one, so unless you’re a big fan of Dynasty Warriors, this may not be the best game to start off with if you’re new to the genre. Especially if you’re a casual gamer in general, this genre seems to be more for the core and hardcore gamer. Hopefully this review was in-depth enough to help you decide whether or not you want the game! I did enjoy the game quite a bit, and for that I give it a 7/10.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation Vita code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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