How I Met A Dynasty Warrior: Season 8.5.
Dynasty Warriors has become a TV series at this point. For a popular video game franchise that started in 1997, it has spawned nine different spin-offs while continuing with its main cast of characters with Dynasty Warriors 8 released last year. The latest edition has improved on its core gameplay, but suffers at developing a story mode that feels unnecessary. Xtreme Legends is the series' first entry onto next-gen consoles, but there isn’t enough new here to revisit if you already stepped onto the battlefield. Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends supplies new characters and cosmetic options like bonus scenes to build up hype for the next full installment when the original cast returns once again to the set.
Dynasty Warriors has always given players the ability to become an unstoppable force on the battlefield. Combat most of the time results in taking on swarms of enemies while completing timed missions to advance the story along. However, there aren’t a lot of combos you can pull off, so you'll likely see all of them after the first few rounds. Xtreme Legends is designed to be single-player-focused, but I wish multiplayer was incorporated into the package more thoroughly.
New to the series is the Weapon Fusion system, which allows you to carry a second weapon. This comes at the sacrifice of a bit of strength, but allows you to customize the way you want to fight. I adored this feature, and wish more elements like these were fleshed out more.
Five characters have been added, one from each of the five kingdoms. The themes expressed in the total roster of 82 characters are diverse and have potential to develop into something interesting down the line; however, the delivery of each individual character’s storyline is disappointing due to how it’s presented. Voice actors and actresses give wooden performances that are at times laughable. This is the first time I purposely didn’t seek out my squadmates to start up a conversation. It's so painful, in fact, that I decided halfway through my playthrough to mute dialogue in the options menu.
Even if the vocal performances were up to par, DW8:XL falters on representing the dilemmas on the battlefield. Most of the female protagonists are dressed down for eye candy appeal (not surprising). I chose to play as Lu Lingqi, the daughter of Lu Bu who is afraid of being alone in life, but honestly why should I care if her actions don’t fall in line with storyline? Dynasty Warriors 8 continues to stagnate by persistently holding onto its Japanese development roots (though it's widely popular there). This series feels old and outdated at this point. Maybe it’s time to broaden the appeal to an international demographic for the series.
After you complete the main campaign, there are other modes you can play. You can skip ahead and go through the other scenarios without having to play through the entire storyline. The level cap has been extended to 150 from the original DW8, increasing your abilities to cause havoc on the battlefield. Challenge Mode is oddly enough the only mode that takes advantage of extra level count by adding bonus levels designed around timed objectives, which display your score through online leaderboards.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends is the same experience on PlayStation Vita, allowing you to play it natively on the go. Both versions of Dynasty Warriors 8 on PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 aren’t graphically impressive and are at times underwhelming. Xtreme Legends didn’t receive a presentation overhaul or noticeable upgrade from PS3 to PS4. Enemies tend to blend together, which made the palette bland. You don’t need to go out of your way and buy both versions because both have the exact same problems.
Frame-rate was an issue a couple of times when I was surrounded by hordes of enemies, forcing the game to slow down to compensate. While it might be the more expensive route, I recommend playing via Remote Play if you have the Internet bandwidth to enjoy the experience on PlayStation Vita.
If you've already beaten the original Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, there isn’t enough new here to revisit, but if you haven't played it yet, it's certainly better than the original version. It took me roughly 60 hours to beat the main campaign excluding most side-quests. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends is best suited for newcomers to the franchise. If you keep your expectations reasonable before you jump in, then you can easily enjoy yourself.