Now, how about the combat? Quite a lot of it has stayed the same, but there are some core changes which are sure to please fans.
You'll still be mashing the square button in conjunction with triangle, but that's what the franchise is famed for. And while it would have been nice to see this expanded upon, everything that we'll talk about from now on more than makes up for this.
First up, you've got the "Commander Affinity" system, which actually leads on to many of the other changes. In essense, every weapon in the game is classified as either "Heaven", "Earth" or "Man". It works as a trinity, where "Heaven" is more effective against "Man", "Man" is more effective against "Earth", etc. This means that officers can have advantages over others depending on which weapons they use.
When approaching an officer, a symbol will appear above their head if your weapon is effective of ineffective and this can make a huge difference to combat. While fighting against someone who has a superior weapon, you're able to perform a "Switch Counter". This gives the weapon-switching mechanic introduced in Dynasty Warriors 7 some real purpose, as if you time it right, you can counter a strong attack.
The other main element to the "Commander Affinity" system is the "Storm Rush". If you're fighting against someone who is weak to your weapon, a blue gauge will appear above their name. Pepper them and this will get broken and when it's gone, you will perform a Storm Rush. This allows you to perform a ton of attacks without rely.
These additions, plus the return of the "Rage" mechanic, help to make the combat feel very fresh. Sometimes Dynasty Warriors could get a little bit repetitive, but these new mechanics require you to do some micro-management. It's not a massive change and some elements have been in previous Dynasty Warriors games, but the combination just works.
On the graphical front, the PS3 version of Dynasty Warriors 8 is very smooth. Even with a huge raft of soldiers on the battlefield, and Musou attacks flying around everywhere, the framerate never drops. It's impressive.
Even more so, it's very pleasing to see that Omega Force has re-developed a lot of the stages that people had become so familiar with over the past few games. Even though the story is still the same, this new look helps to give the battles fresh purpose - they just feel more engaging now.
Perhaps the biggest and best change though, even taking into consideration everything that's already been talked about, is that you can now play huge chunks of the game co-operative online. This is a huge deal, as previously the game could only be played locally via split-screen, and anyone who's played that will tell you that the experience is quite diminished in that capacity.
You can play online co-op through each of the different campaigns, but you can also play Ambition Mode online once you get past the tutorial.
To be blunt, Dynasty Warriors 8 is the best Dynasty Warriors game in existence. It pulls together elements from previous games, while also introducing some new brand new ones to create a fantastic blend for fans. These additions also make it the most approachable for newcomers to the franchise, and it means that Dynasty Warriors has evolved from simply being a mindless button masher. The ability to now play through the Story Modes with a friend is the icing on the cake.
This game was reviewed on the PS3.
|» Ambition Mode blends previous game modes together for great effect.|
|» The Commander Affinity system makes the gameplay much richer.|
|» Online coop.|
|» The basic combat hasn't changed.|
|» Some of the voice acting is still hilarious, which is great, but it doesn't feel intentional.|
|» The quality of splitscreen is pretty poor compared to the single player.|