Dynasty Warriors DS: Fighter's Battle - hands-on

Okay, we'll admit it - we haven't been exceptionally kind to Koei'sDynasty Warriors seriesin the past. But, as games writers, we're here to keep our minds open to whatever crosses our desks. So when Koei sent us a preview copy of Dynasty Warriors DS: Fighter's Battle, we popped it into our DS and gave it a shot - and came out pleasantly surprised.

While this isn't the first portable foray for the Dynasty Warriors series - we've seen two PSP titles, as well as a less-said-the-better GBA mess - Fighter's Battle does mark the long-running series' first DS outing. Having first been announced all the way back in 2K4 alongside the DS's first public showing, DW: Fighter's Battle has been in the works for quite some time. Koei seems to have put that extra time to use, developing not only a new engine for the DS hardware, but some all-new gameplay twists that put a new spin on an old formula.

Unlike the PSP games, which were fully 3D- rendered, Fighter's Battle uses a healthy mix of 3D polygons and 2D sprites. While the characters and the hordes of enemies assaulting them are all represented in 2D, the landscapes and special attack effects are rendered using the DS's 3D engine, making for an impressive-looking mix. Instead of a third-person viewpoint, the action in DW:FB plays out in a semi-overhead view, giving you the ability to see your immediate surroundings in all directions.