Playing Dynasty Warriors DS: Fighter's Battle goes like this: you take control of one of three super-powerful generals and destroy countless enemies. Once you've killed enough of them, you can take over your opponent's main camp and lay an undisputed claim to a nice slice of made-up dynastic China. We heard this and thought, "yeah, lets kill enemies!" (again) but the secret is that there are really only about two kinds of enemies to kill. A lot of the two enemies. If there were more kinds of enemies, or you didn't have to kill them over and over and over, it would be more fun.
To compensate for the lack of spice and variety on the battlefield, Dynasty Warriors DS has added a strategic side to its standard arcade style beat-'em up. You have to plan your route through the sections of battlefield and launch annoying, hampering magical attacks at your opponent. Because you and the opposing general have the same resources available and there's only an army of semi-useless soldiers standing between each of you and domination of China, there is a sense of tension and urgency in everything you do. The intensity is the best part of the game.
Although you'll spend considerable time making strategic decisions, we found most choices to be rather inconsequential. We quickly collected and experimented with most of the 120 officers in the game's card-like Battle Deck - they function as mini-bosses you and your opponent deploy at camps and strategic locations - and found that despite different stats, they can be run right through with a couple well placed slices, hammer whacks or a single unblockable Mousu attack. Of course, a screen-clearer like the Mousu attack is only available when the special attack gauge is completely full - a feat that, we were disappointed to discover, takes only about 30 seconds of soldier slashing. The low recharge time takes the challenge out of otherwise tough fights and reduces dueling to a game of who can activate the attack first.
The best path through any battlefield is usually easy to determine, and although you'll have to kill a certain number of enemy soldiers before proceeding through each area, we never found the resistance strong enough to make soldier slaying anything more than a formality. That means we kept the attack button tapping, the run button pressed and hoped like hell for the freeze spell to show up on the roulette wheel of magic. The game is about trying to get through the simple fights just a bit faster than the other guy. We like that the other guy is a warlord with an infinite supply of loyal soldiers willing to die for him, but repetitive gameplay is a bit too much for us to bear.