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Warriors Orochi review

If you mix two stale hack-and-slash franchises together, don't expect a fresh new taste

Pros

  • Killing armies = still cool
  • Having 3 characters
  • Vast roster

Cons

  • Not deep
  • Gets repetitive
  • Same as last 10 games

Sept 27, 2007

Let's assume for a moment that you love McDonald's Big Macs - it's not tough, right? That is one delicious burger. Also, pretend that one Big Mac lasts forever. Finally, imagine that every time you walked into a McDonald's, they shouted at you "The Big Mac is new and improved and better than ever!" And so you get all excited and buy the latest one, only to discover that it's the same exact thing with only some teeny, tiny variation- like,the relish is chunkier or the buns have 5% more sesame seeds. You'd be ticked off, and rightfully so. And eventually, you might even tire of Big Macs, yummy as they are, because they just don't ever change that much and you have fifteen of them at home already.

The point of this lesson in fast-food? This tweak-but-not-actually-change strategy is what publisher Koei is pulling two or three times a year with its Chinese-themed Dynasty Warriors hack-and-slasher franchise. Every new game is such a tiny evolution of the last that there's rarely any reason to upgrade to it. And with Warriors Orochi, Koei continues the trend, combining the stagnant Dynasty Warriors franchise with its clone (the offshoot Samurai Warriors franchise) to create a third near-identical slaughter-armies-by-hand franchise.

Yes, you get characters from ancient China and feudal Japan intermingling - whoa! - and you can merge two weapons together to get one more powerful weapon and swap a team of three human slaughter machines in and out of battle instead of just guiding one - that's actually a really nice touch. But this is still basically you slicing and dicing your way through roughly two zillion enemies, 99% of whom all look more or less alike and fight as if they're sleepwalking.

You'll still wish the levels were more intricate, the enemies smarter, the mounts more varied and useful. You'll still wonder who would win the battle if your character just ran around and didn't do anything, or why so many of your forces just stand there instead of following and helping you. You'll still wish your character had more than a few basic attacks, or that there was even a hint of strategy involved here. You still won't care about the story unless you're actually Chinese and into historical fiction. And even though there are three classes now (Speed, Power, and Technique) you'll probably still think to yourself, "There are 77 playable characters in this game... yet 90% of them play exactly like someone else."

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionWe'll have to see if the human lawnmower factor translates to a portable experience. It might be more like a weed whacker...
Franchise nameDynasty Warriors
UK franchise nameDynasty Warriors
PlatformPSP, Xbox 360, PS2, PC
US censor ratingTeen
Release date25 March 2008 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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