Dynasty Warriors Next review

  • Tons of content
  • Gimmicky touch controls not off-putting
  • Looks great on the small screen
  • Exactly what you expect from Dynasty Warriors
  • Killing thousands of people feels like a chore
  • Recycles older DW games’ content

Dynasty Warriors is a franchise that’s notorious, even infamous, for the predictable content of each of its titles. No matter what the number is next to the name, you can safely assume you’ll be playing the same basically unaltered package, and by now you probably know if you like that or not. That logic holds fairly true for the Vita launch game Dynasty Warriors Next, despite it possessing some new portable bells and whistles. We don’t mean to damn it with faint praise, because it’s still an engaging offer, just an incredibly familiar one.

Like the many games before it, Dynasty Warriors takes us back to the Three Kingdoms era of ancient China, as armies battle to control the huge landmass. You play as luminaries of China’s history like Cao Cao, Lui Bei and Xiahou Yuan, powerful men and women that could take down thousands of soldiers in one afternoon. Each has their own melodramatic reasons for going to war, told in a very self-serious way that ends up having more unintentional comedy than Koei probably intended.

The standard campaign mode drops you into a huge map, one filled with hundreds of soldiers and multiple objectives. It’s impressive to see such a huge area and that number of characters so well realized, especially on a handheld, but that fades soon enough, mostly thanks to the core gameplay. The layout of objectives may change, yet at the heart of DW it’s all about pressing the square button and periodically running forward. That’s slightly reductive, as you can shake things up with combos and special moves, but the core of the game is still killing hundreds of soldiers on map after map, and that can’t not feel monotonous after a while. They can throw in cutscenes and shifting objectives to add some variety, but it still doesn't distract from the fact that DW has little variety to offer in the campaign.

This repetition is only marginally helped by the new features incorporated for Vita. The touchscreen, back touch pad and gyro controls are implemented in smart ways, like slashing a group of enemies before they reach you or shaking the system for screen-clearing Musou attacks. The least cute are the iOS wannabe Vs Boss Battles featured in most stages. Meant to be dramatic, the combat based on slashing the screen gets old and is imprecise, issues that get more frustrating the more it appears.

Still, as blah as the combat can get, there’s at least a lot of it. Warriors diehards might find some of the maps and scenarios familiar, but unlike some of the shorter Vita games out there, Next promises dozens, if not hundreds of hours of content. If you’re looking for value in your Vita launch games, this one has it, and there’s a nice handful of side modes to distract yourself with. Nevertheless, if you get tired with the standard gameplay, having 120 hours of it at your fingertips probably won’t sell you on DWN.

For many gamers, you knew exactly how you feel about this game on the cover alone, and we’re here to say your assumption isn’t wrong: This is virtually identical to previous Dynasty Warriors games. If you’re new to the series and thinking of picking it up with your system on launch day, Dynasty Warriors Next is a game that will keep you busy for a long time. So long as its action-packed gameplay doesn’t bore you to death first.

More Info

Release date: Feb 21 2012 - PS Vita (US)
Available Platforms: PS Vita
Genre: Action
Developed by: Tecmo
Franchise: Dynasty Warriors
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Alcohol Reference, Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes


  • mattdark - February 22, 2012 11:11 p.m.

    What a surprise. Another DW game getting negative reviews for remaining largely the same, while CoD, Fifa, ect get praised for thier minor additions... Warriors Orochi 3 comes out next month. I'll be anticipating a similar review and score.
  • GR_HenryGilbert - February 23, 2012 7:34 a.m.

    This game didn't score a 5 for being similar so much as being boring to play after the first few hours. The lack of gameplay variety and extreme repetitiveness of KO-ing thousands of dudes is really why the game is "So-So". The series' lack of innovation just makes the repetition worse.
  • Fady2Hotty - February 22, 2012 5:17 p.m.

    why do people keep buying these games? if they stopped they would force the developers to do something different and improve on the series. but to be honest if all i had to do was change a name of a game and a couple weapons, and clothes i would resell it for years to make a profit for almost nothing lol.
  • LordZarlon - February 22, 2012 4:59 p.m.

    I actually felt that DW3 and DW5 were the series finest hours. I never really cared for DW4 and the rest since then have been a waist.
  • c-c-c-combo breaker - February 22, 2012 4:52 p.m.

    You don't get much better than DW4. Funny thing is, You could say the same about Call of Duty.

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