Oh yeah?!? You and what army?
If there was one surprise title that came with the launch of the PS2, it was
definitely Dynasty Warriors 2. While many
of us were eagerly awaiting big titles like Tekken
Tag Tournament and SSX, this little tactical
action game slipped in under the door and showed gamers everywhere just how
much fun massive battles in ancient China could be – almost. It was one of those
games that bordered on greatness, but could really have used more time in the
it’s time to unleash that one-man army again in the sequel, Dynasty Warriors
3. Just in case you aren’t familiar with the premise, Dynasty Warriors
takes place about 1800 years ago in China. Three kingdoms are vying for power
and a war of epic proportions is underway. As a warrior among many, you’ll fight
through enemy hordes in an easy to handle Final Fight style of play.
For Dynasty Warriors 3, Koei has pulled out all the stops. A handful
of new features has been added and many of the issues in DW2 have been
addressed. In short, kicking butt on a massive scale just got even better.
Once again you will become an officer of the Wei, Wu, or Shu Kingdoms. If
you’ve still got your saved games from DW2, you’ll be able to import
your old characters. But though you may have already unlocked all 28 characters
from the previous game, you’ll still have a treat in store for you. This time,
a whopping total of 41 playable characters can be found in the game.
The core of the gameplay remains unchanged. You still basically button mash
through hundreds of enemy soldiers with the occasional super Musou technique
thrown in for good measure. To their credit, Koei has added a few new combos
and Musou variations, but there’s no doubt that you’ll still be pounding that
Graphically, the game is identical to its predecessor. There are still some
pop-up problems in large battles and some of the environments are pretty bland,
but for the most part, there isn’t anything that will greatly offend your eyes.
Sound, though, has taken a big turn for the better. The ‘Japanese with English
subtitles’ option just fits a whole lot better than the silly English dub. It’s
kind of funny that all of these guys speak Japanese since they’re Chinese
generals, but since there haven’t been any Chinese language games released in
the US, it’s no biggie.
In addition to the old Musou and Free game options, Koei has popped in a pair
of new modes. Endurance pits you against an endless sea of opponents and Time
Trial challenges you to take out 100 men as fast as you can. Making these two
modes even more interesting is an online ranking system. Each time you play,
you are given a password that logs your performance. From there, just hop on
your computer, head over to the official game site to register your skills.
It’s pretty cool to see just how you measure up against other warriors.
of the biggest improvements is the inclusion of a two-player game. Both co-op
and versus games are available in the classic split-screen style. While co-op
play is great, I’m a little disappointed with the Versus mode. Instead of fighting
army against army, it’s usually just you and a few computer controlled generals
against your friend and his computer controlled generals. Throw in a few hundred
more soldiers and it could have been awesome. Instead, it’s pretty boring.
Another of the new interesting additions are the item and weapon pickups.
Now you’ll be able to discover a host of new weapons as well as rare items that
will improve your character’s stats, RPG style. Searching for stuff like the
Blue Dragon Blade (+18 luck, +35 defense) and the Tiger Amulet (+15 to attack)
makes the game even more fun.
Other additions include 15 new levels, elephant troops, and the ability to
customize your bodyguards a bit by choosing basic commands and weaponry.
The only standout problem is the occasional camera trouble. There are times
when you’ll be attacking enemies that are offscreen or just occasions where
your character is obscured by a tree or other large object. It can get a little
frustrating, but it generally doesn’t do too much harm.
Despite its flaws, Dynasty Warriors 3 is simply a fun game to play.
Seeing your kill count reach astronomical heights, playing with a friend or
just watching your character increase in power does wonders for the gaming heart.
By adding more depth and a much needed multiplayer mode, Koei has improved the
series. So if you’re a fan of beat ’em up action on a massive level, this is
definitely the game for you.