The Dynasty Warriors series is mostly known for its hack-and-slash action where you take on dozens or even hundreds of enemies at a time. Despite this, the series is no stranger to spin-offs either, with Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers being the most recent case. Unlike other titles in the franchise, Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers takes away the “one-man army vs hundreds of soldiers” formula to deliver a more tactical approach with turn-based battles.
Similar to other Dynasty Warrior titles, Godseekers is based around the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. We follow the story of Zhao Yun, his childhood friend Lei Bin, and a mysterious girl named Lixia who was encased in ice until Zhao Yun and Lei Bin found and freed her. Lixia isn’t just an ordinary girl, as early on she reveals that she’s a God-like entity with magical powers. However, most of her powers came from mystical orbs which are no longer in her possession. The trio embarks on a quest to find all the orbs and prevent them from falling in the wrong hands.
The plot is fairy simply and straightforward, but also far from engaging enough to be memorable. In addition to a lengthy campaign, there’s a lot of side stories via the “Path of Destiny”. Each character has its own events and conversations that are unlocked upon completing the necessary conditions. Viewing these events can earn you special rewards, unlock new missions, and have new characters join your side. You can also revisit prior locations in case you need to grind a bit or get more gold to upgrade your equipment.
Like I said before, Godseekers ditches the hack-and-slash action gameplay and instead delivers a turn-based strategy gameplay. Those who of you who played games like Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics will feel right at home with Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers and its grid-based battle areas.
You have an enormous roster of characters at your disposal, with each character having their own agility and mobility, and their own set of attacks, each with different attack damage, range and energy cost. For starters, there are five unit types: Attack, Defense, Technique, Speed and Spirit. Attack units have high strength which increases even further when their health decreases, Defense units can greatly reduce damage from frontal attack and have low mobility, while Technique units have an increased chance of landing critical hits specially when attacking enemies from behind. Speed units like its name indicates have high agility and can more freely about the battlefield, however, their defense is weak.
Finally, Spirit units recover a portion of their health at the start of each turn and boost the morale of the team, something which augments the strength of their attacks. Despite there being different unit types, Godseekers’ gameplay lacks some depth, as the large majority of enemies won’t provide a real challenge, making the whole point a different units a bit pointless. There are, of course, some tough opponents here and there in each battle, but these can be easily taken out using the Synchro command, something I will detail in a bit.
Each attack has an energy cost, which can vary from one to four energy points, and it’s something you have to take into account. Characters can have up to eight energy points at a time, meaning you can easily deal several attacks in a turn with one character. However, each character only gets three energy points back at the start of the next turn, which means that if you spent all the energy points of a character in the previous turn that character will be somewhat limited in what it can do with only three energy points. It’s an interesting gameplay factor since it makes you think whether or not should you go all out in a turn. If you decide to not attack, you can always choose to defend, which conserves energy points and reduces incoming damage from enemy attack until the next turn.
If you are in a tight spot or want to deal lots of damage quickly you can use Synchro Mode. As you deal damage and defeat enemies, the Synchro Gauge will slowly load, and when it’s full you can use the Synchro command. When activated, you can pair up two or more characters, and each character will recover 5 energy points and will be able to move and attack again even if they already had done that in that turn. The last unit to move in Synchro mode will be able to select an attack location where all characters will perform a powerful finishing move. In fact, Synchro Mode makes things too easy and turns developing a strategy into something that’s almost pointless, as you can often defeat all nearby powerful enemies and bosses just by using the Synchro command.
There’s also other factors that you should take in consideration. For example, the position where you attack from is very important, as attacks from the side or behind deal a lot more damage than attacks from the front. This also applies to your characters, so you have to be careful not to leave your back vulnerable. Depending on the attacks and weapons you use, your characters can also induce different status on enemy units, such as poison, burning or shock. Another very important gameplay element is the Morale, which represents the relative strength of each side in battle. Morale changes as you defeat enemy units or as your units are defeated, and the higher your morale the more damage you can inflict with your attacks.
When it comes to mission objectives, the game offers enough variety to keep things fresh. There’s the usual “defeat all enemies” or “defeat a specific target”, missions where you have to take out a certain enemy before he/she gets away, endurance missions where you have to resist enemy attacks for a set number of turns, escort missions, among other objectives.
Characters gain experience points as they fight in battle. Experience, as usual, allows characters to level up, and receive boost stats and learn new abilities along the way. When a character defeats an enemy that character will also earn Skill points, which can be used in the Skill Board to unlock new skills for that character. In this board you can unlock two types of skill: those who increase your character’s stats such as more health and agility, and those who can be equipped and used during battle. The later includes skills such as automatically healing at the start of each turn, decreasing the amount of energy used in attacks, earning more experience, etc.
You also get a lot of freedom in terms of weapons customization and crafting. You can earn new weapons by purchasing them from a merchant or as rewards after a battle. Several weapons have attributes, such as giving the character extra defense or more health. However, these attributes are not restricted to a unique weapon, as the game allows you to reforge your weapons to transfer attributes from one weapon to another. This is certainly an option that benefits the player as it allows you to keep the attributes that suit your strategy without the need to use a weaker weapon. In addition, you can also spend gold to temper a weapon and increase its attack strength.
In terms of visual presentation, Godseekers won’t impress anyone, although this might be somewhat understandable considering the game is also available for PS Vita. The graphics are mediocre, with the environment and enemy units in battle areas lacking in detail. On the other hand, cutscenes are a lot more gorgeous but still far from impressive. The soundtrack, like the game’s overall visuals, it’s not bad but it won’t impress anyone.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is a good attempt from Koei Tecmo to deliver a strategy Dynasty Warriors spin-off. With a lengthy campaign, lots of sidequests and characters to recruit, and an interesting crafting system, the game offers enough to keep players occupied for dozens of hours. While it doesn’t stand out in comparison to other titles in genre, mainly due to the game’s lack of depth in terms of strategy and challenge, it’s still a solid experience that fans of turn-based games and/or Dynasty Warriors will enjoy.Lengthy campaign, and lots of sidequests and characters to recruit.Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers was reviewed using a digital copy provided by Koei Tecmo America. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Lengthy campaign, and lots of sidequests and characters to recruit.|
|'Reforge' and 'temper' gives players a lot of options in weapon crafting.|
|Offers enough variety in mission objectives to keep things fresh.|
|Gameplay lacks depth in terms of strategy.|
|Synchro Mode makes battles way too easy.|
|Medíocre visual presentation.|