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Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate

Score: 95%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: KOEI TECMO America Corp.
Developer: Omega Force
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 (2 Online)
Genre: Action/ Adventure


Graphics & Sound:

I know what you might be thinkingÖ Another rehash of a previous game released as "ultimate" given that Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition came out as well. While I had not played the original Dynasty Warriors 8 to tell you the differences, I have played Warriors Orochi 3 quite extensively, so I can tell you that while yes, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is the same game, there are so many new things and so many differences that it does feel like the next release.

On both the PS3 and the Xbox 360, the graphics were quite amazing in Warriors Orochi 3. The characters looked almost lifelike in the cutscenes and all the lines were smooth and beautifully done. Thatís not to say that they canít be improved a bit. On the next-gen PS4, the graphics are still the same but the quality is simply crisper, making everything even more beautiful. It feels to me as if there is more depth to the scenes than before. You can tell the difference just watching the opening of the game that plays before you start the game up.

The sounds are the same as before, as far as I can tell. The background music remains similar to what it always has been. The characters still speak only in Japanese, which of course means that unless you speak Japanese, you are going to have to read the text while trying to battle enemies. I found that I missed a lot more of the text than I wanted to and would have to go back and check the logs to make sure I wasnít going the wrong way at times. I would love a well-done English dub sometimes.


Gameplay:

From the Main Menu of Dynasty Warriors 3 Ultimate, you will notice the same selections as before: Story Mode, Free Play, Musou Battlefields, Gallery, and Options; but you will also see some new, Dual Mode (first introduced on Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper for the WiiU) and Gauntlet Mode (a completely new addition).

The storyline in Story Mode is the exact same as it has been since the first Warriors Orochi 3 release. A giant Hydra appeared and killed pretty much all of the heroes from Warriors Orochi 2. A mystic named Kaguya saves the ones that she can and helps them go back in time to rescue their friends so that they can all defeat the Hydra together. You will also rescue heroes from Warriors of Troy and some completely new characters just added to this game. Seimei Abe is my favorite of them, simply because he carries the most adorable white fox on his shoulder, even in battle. Rachel (from Ninja Gaiden) is quite awesome as well. I really enjoy playing with new characters just to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. You will have a base camp where you can talk to characters, shop at the blacksmith, strengthen character bonds at the teahouse, play online, and continue your Story Mode battles. After you step into the circle of light to choose a stage, you will notice that the stage selection screen has been redesigned a slight bit. I like the flow of it better now. You can see the full chapter layout in chronological order above the chapter screen that you will use to select your stage from. Just as in the original, sometimes it got a bit old having to play a battle, and then a side scenario, and then the battle redux just to get all your characters unlocked, but there are only so many different areas that you can fight in and it was helpful in the redux to already know what they were going to expect of you, to a certain extent.

Just as before, Free Play Mode will let you pick any battle that you have already beaten in Story Mode and play it however you want. Musou Battlefields will let you redesign any stage that you want to truly create your own battle. You can even upload them and share with friends. Duel Mode is a two player battle where you get to use those Strategy Cards that you have been unlocking in Story Mode. Each player gets to pick a 3 officer team. You can play single against the computer, local multi-player, or go online for an opponent. You will only get to take 4 of your Strategy Cards into battle with you, so choose wisely because your cards can mean victory or death. Gauntlet Mode lets you choose 5 warriors (at first, you will only have five to choose from) to take into battle. All five warriors will be on-screen at once and your battlefield is unknown. You will continue to go through random stages trying to find the Dragon Portal to get to an escape point. You will also need to watch the Miasma on the field. The more you fight, the stronger it will get and the stronger the enemies will get, but the spoils will be greater as well. You will have a base camp for Gauntlet Mode as well. You can share weapons and charms, even money and crystals, between the modes, but you will have to unlock the characters in Gauntlet Mode separately from the characters in Story Mode. Gauntlet Mode is a good way to raise the bonds between the characters you are fighting with.


Difficulty:

As is standard in the series, the difficulty in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is as easy or as hard as you want it. The level 1 characters can easily clear the beginning stages on Easy and they can clear the one and two star boards on Normal as well. Each stage tells you how difficult it will be based on the number of stars below the stage. You can then choose the difficulty that you want to use to play that stage. Not everything can be made easier just by lowering the difficulty though. There are some levels where you are going to have to figure out what order to save officers in and do it as quickly as possible or you will be defeated because someone dies. Sometimes getting the help of a second player can get you through, but sometimes even still you will have trouble. There arenít too many levels like that though.

The difficulty in Gauntlet Mode is not variable. You cannot control it. I found that unless you level those characters up a lot, you probably arenít going to be able to kill every single enemy as they just keep coming after you. Sometimes you will have to decide when to simply make a break for the escape point. In Duel Mode, the difficulty is going to depend on your opponent and the cards that you choose to take into battle.


Game Mechanics:

Some things have not changed much in the series over the years and for that I am grateful. The controls in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate are exactly the same as in the previous games. You will still use (Square) to attack, (Triangle) for a strong attack, (X) to jump, and (O) for your musou attack. (L2) and (R2) will cycle between your three characters to choose which one to attack with. Now, you can choose to have all three on-screen at once if you want. Simply press the down arrow. If you choose to do this though, they will not recover musou and health over time. Lastly, the up arrow will call your horse.

I still love the Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and the Warriors Orochi series. Yes, there are a whole lot of games available. In a way, I wish that they had just created a new plot to go with all of the new characters and options that they added, but they have added so much that other than the plotline, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate does feel almost like a new game.


-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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