New genre, familiar gameplay.
I have always enjoyed Dynasty Warriors for its hack-'n'-slash combat, epic battles against historical generals, and leveling up to be strong enough to fight against the infamous Lu Bu. If you’re a fan of the franchise like I am, there’s one thing that is consistent throughout the series and that is its repetition. There isn’t any significant difference between sequels, which leads to a love and hate relationship. Gameplay becomes monotonous, causing players to look elsewhere for something innovative and unique, but the gameplay is also familiar and consistent, which can make players come back for more.
[image1]In Dynasty Warriors Online, the game mixes the old with the new and creates its first MMO in the franchise. Luckily, I was able to satisfy my fix with a taste of DW action and got a glimpse of what DWO is offering to the series.
I start in a plaza where I can run around, talk to people, visit my home where I can store weapons, armor, items, and even sleep on a bed. Here I can talk to people to form parties, play co-operatively with or against players online, and go on quests.
One of the quests in cooperative mode involves seeking out crowds of enemies and eliminate every single one before time expires. The tricky thing is that players have to search for them since they are hidden on the map and only appear once they have been found, so it is wise to split up to cover more ground. If you want more of a challenge, though, you can complete quests while competing against a friend or a group of friends. One quest you may come across is another objective type: Capture more bases than your opponents before time runs out, and if you’re tied, then the winner is determined by who has the highest amount of kills.
Throughout this match, I noticed I was casually going from enemy base to base without realizing I was actually losing. I was so involved playing the game as I have been playing the DW series all along—not expecting any change in gameplay, let alone, lose. Okay, I may have lost a couple times in previous DW titles, but that’s besides the point. I quickly came to my senses and competitively thought of ways to outwit my opponent. Even though this DW franchise may be set in its ways, I wasn’t playing the same ol' Dynasty Warriors anymore; instead, I was playing a game that is trying a different dynamic, which breaks away from the pack and offers refreshing gameplay.
[image2]The combat, however, remains the same. There isn’t any new tricky combo moves to execute by performing complicated button patterns—it’s still that same dependable, yet addictive, hack-'n'-slash style that fans enjoy. There is at least one new addition: flasks, also known as power-ups. When an enemy NPC is killed, a flask appears. Picking it up allows you to see what kind of benefits you’ll gain if the flask is activated, such as increasing attack, defense, speed, or combo strings. Subtle changes such as these mixes up Dynasty Warrior’s combat style, especially if you’re battling against a friend or another player online.
Many intriguing features have been added, such as being able to build your kingdom, customize your character, progress in rank (which unlocks different things), create and/or join guilds up to 24 players, and have an animal fight at your side as a lieutenant—no joke, they have a panda! I have also been informed that players will experience weather changes. For example, if it’s raining and your character has a fire elemental attack, then it’s not going to be very effective in battle. I should acknowledge too that if you’re not a big PC gamer due to using the controls on a keyboard and wish you had a controller instead, then you’re in luck. Any controller which is USB-compatible (such as an Xbox 360 controller) can be used to play DWO on the PC.
Dynasty Warriors Online’s most notable change is its obvious adjustment to the MMO genre. Being able to fight against or work with other players online makes the game both challenging, enjoyable, and not to mention, different—but in a good way. Despite only having a glimpse of it, I was impressed. This title could be what is needed to revitalize the franchise. Look for it to arrive some time this Fall.