E3 2013 Preview: Dynasty Warriors 8 is a familiar follow-up
Dynasty Warriors has been around for years, evolving from a fighting game into a hack-and-slash series. The next chapter in the long-running franchise is Dynasty Warriors 8, and if you've been following the games for a while, you may feel right at home with this next entry. This is the type of game that doesn't change things up all that drastically, but if you've invested sufficient time into the brand and really dig it, chances are this next iteration will speak to you on a personal level. Strangely enough, I walked into my preview session never having played a Dynasty Warriors game, and I walked away intrigued by the series.
As far as the formula is concerned, the blueprint for Dynasty Warriors 8 remains largely unchanged. You're still entering different areas with seemingly endless mobs of enemies rushing toward you to poke you with sharp things. Thankfully, you've got an arsenal of weapons yourself, allowing you to take the fight to those fools with dangerous blades, painful blunt items, and so on.
Swinging your weapon while being mobbed usually results in entire crowds of enemies being tossed around. The whole thing is quite cartoony, but it's actually really satisfying (and funny) seeing your aggressors bouncing off of your sword. Despite the ancient theme of the game, there's a nice modern goofy feel to it that keeps it from being overbearing or dull. During my time playing the preview build, not once did I get bored of seeing my character send his foes flying.
Even though Dynasty Warriors 8 hasn't forgotten its roots, there are some new features coming to the game. These mechanics are based around the inherent brawling gameplay, and they allow you to perform more moves to change things up. Storm Rush lets you swing your blade wildly, delivering a stance-breaking blow that's followed up by a succession of strikes. (Also, Storm Rush sounds like a delicious soda. Just throwing that out there.) There's also Variable Counter, which can be used when you're overwhelmed by powerful enemies to knock them back and give you some breathing room.
You'll be able to take on the story-based campaign in Dynasty Warriors 8 by yourself or with a partner to watch your back. The game supports local and online co-op, which is right in line with the fast-paced arcade style of the gameplay. According to Tecmo Koei, the length of this mode spans about 40 hours, which should keep you busy for a while. It's possible that you'll feel a bit of fatigue after playing a hack-and-slash game for that long, but ultimately this title exists for its devoted audience.
Dynasty Warriors 8 packs its signature nonstop action and arcade gameplay, and returning fans are sure to dig it. As a newcomer, I had fun with the game, and while I can see myself thoroughly enjoying the experience, it may be the type of game someone like me plays in short bursts. Dynasty Warriors 8 is due out at retail and as a digital download for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America beginning on July 16, 2013.
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