Review: Warriors Orochi 3 Provides Familiar Entertainment (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)

While repetitive, this version fares better than most thanks to RPG elements and surprise bonus characters.

Once you see one Dynasty Warriors game, you’ve pretty much seen them all, right?  Let’s be honest, over the years, the countless Warriors games that Tecmo Koei has released haven’t diverted much, save for the Gundam games, which wraps the familiar beat-em-up gameplay around the popular anime universe.  And even there, repetitiveness is starting to kick in.  Thankfully, it’s believed that the development team has listened to the fans and is throwing in some new elements to keep things interesting.  While Warriors Orochi 3 can’t shake the same old “diabolically kill hundreds” formula that’s been in the series for years, some new elements keep it from feeling like the same old game.

This time around, there’s a more interesting storyline to follow.  Rather than just chase after the same old warlords, this time you’re battling hundreds of soldiers AND a fire breathing hydra, one that’s quickly making mincemeat of your army.  By the time the battle ends, only three of you are still alive, aided by a powerful ally named Kaguya who manages to transport you back in time.  You’re not able to defeat the hydra in your current state, so you’ll have to whisk through history to save important warriors from perishing, in order to add them to your ranks and fight to restore your future – you know, the one without a hydra.

Warriors Orochi 3’s general combat remains the same as previous efforts.  You’re still choosing from a number of warriors, some slow and powerful, others quick and agile, and some that are overpowering when it comes to magic.  You’ll use their quick abilities and Musou attacks in order to cut hundreds down to size, and though not actually based on history (who really survived a battle against hundreds single-handedly?), it can be entertaining for the right people.

Where Warriors Orochi 3 gets better than most is with the introduction of new characters.  The game features over 120 in all, not only from the Warriors saga, but also Tecmo Koei’s gaming history.  Ryu Hayabusa, the Ninja Gaiden himself, makes for a powerful ally (and carves up enemies like steaks); Ayane from Dead Or Alive proves to be quite useful; and other faces like Joan of Arc from Bladestorm and Achilles from Warriors: Legends of Troy provide plenty of fun once you unlock them.

The game also comes with a great new Battlefield Musou feature, where you can build your own epic fights and then upload them to the Internet for others to try.  These would be a lot better had Tecmo Koei provided the option to let us choose objectives, rather than the usual “kill everyone and then get the big boss” task.  Still, this does beat nothing.