Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce - PSP - Review
Sadly, there are gaming franchises that will - year after year - release games that will feel all too familiar to the point that it seems as if little if not anything changed with each sequel. Dynasty Warriors is that kind of series that releases games each year while very rarely changing its hack-and-slash action. It’s no wonder that gamers let out a groan when another game is announced. Still, those of us who have waited for a time when the series would do something different will be happy to see that Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce is taking its first baby step in a new direction for the PSP.
Make no mistake, Strikeforce isn’t a completely different game nor is it a brilliantly original new game but it is a refreshingly different game that just doesn’t drop you into battlefield after battlefield with any feeling that you’re accomplishing anything. Not only will you be allowed to freely move around a “home base” and take on any quest you like but Strikeforce is the first Dynasty Warriors game that pushes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In fact, the game is a much better experience as a multiplayer game.
You start by selecting a dynasty force whether you fight for Liu Bei of the Shu, Cao Cao of the Wei or Sun Jian of the Wu and then pick a character from the impressive roster within their fighting force. Each dynasty has its own storyline seeing as the Shu, Wei and Wu have their own agenda and goals. As I mentioned above, you’re not dumped directly into the battlefield but rather your character finds him or herself in a village with vendors selling everything from weapons to items as well as ability upgrades. You can even store all your loot you happen to find along the way. You can even upgrade the village’s facilities to provide better goods and services.
The quests can be found on a bulletin board offering you tasks that start from simple (defeat a number of bandits raiding the area) to the more complex (stop Cao Cao’s forces from reaching an important territory). Each quest has three conditions that will not only earn you points and items but also advance the story. Aside from the main objective, you’re tasked with meeting a condition such as reaching a certain point in X amount of time or defeat a certain number of enemies. The bonus conditions have you attempting to defeat a top enemy officer as well as some huge supernatural beasts.
Accept a quest and you’ll be placed in the familiar battlefield screen with numerous enemies that will attempt to stop you from completing your goals. Depending on the dynasty you pick, you will take on enemy officers that will meet you on the battlefield. The battles themselves have not changed one bit, which is a bit of a disappointment. Still, it’s good to see new kinds of enemies (floating foes!) and the Fury Transformation that transforms your character into a powerful giant capable of unleashing mighty attacks. The rest of the combat is familiar territory with the usual Musou, Strong and Charge attacks.
As a single-player game, Strikeforce will feel like a one-dimensional action game. It’s the Ad Hoc multiplayer option that makes this game really soar. You can connect with up to three players to take on the more difficult tasks as a team. Other players will meet you in the city where you can trade items and weapons and then take on quests together or go up against each another in a Versus battle that breaks up the teams in twos. The good news is that the multiplayer co-op action runs smoothly enough. I highly suggest forgetting the single-player mode and play this game with a group of friends instead.
As far as the graphics are concerned, Strikeforce looks good enough to impress with character models that look quite detailed even on the PSP widescreen. On top of the more than decent character models, the visual effects really stand out in the game. That brings us to the game’s sound that still needs an update … badly. The soundtrack alone is still quite dated and even on the PSP and the sound effects is recycled from past games in the Dynasty Warriors series.
Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce for the PSP is not only a brave and entertaining new direction for the series but it is also a worthwhile gaming experience for those that like multiplayer hack-and-slash action. While certain aspects of the game still need a change, there’s just something pleasing about taking on hordes with your friends providing the backup. It’s a nice that should be experienced by those who had faith that Dynasty Warriors can get better.
Review Scoring Details for Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce
Each dynasty has its own story but after picking a character you are free to take on various missions that will have you going up against rival dynasties. While the battles remain relatively the same, the multiplayer portion makes this a new and interesting experience.
Visually, Strikeforce looks just as good as if it were on the PlayStation 2. Even the character models look sharp and well detailed and the visual effects are rather striking. It’s just too bad that the backgrounds look stale.
The soundtrack still needs to be replaced and the sound effects are minimal so there’s not much to really enjoy about the game’s sound.
Like past games in the series, it’s the bosses or chiefs that will give you a workout and even more so when you’re fighting against familiar faces such as Zhang Fei or Cao Cao. It’s a good thing you can upgrade weapons and abilities.
Take a team of warriors and tackle a number of quests in an open environment. There are plenty of items to find and your village can be used to upgrade your weapons as well. The best part, however, is that this game is better when playing with others. It’s an interesting new direction for the Dynasty Warriors series.
This is definitely a game that is better played with four players total seeing as you can tackle on missions with your friends via Ad Hoc. You can even team up to go up against your friends in a two-on-two versus battle. Downloadable goodies such as extra quests are expected via the PlayStation Store.
Strikeforce is a bold and interesting move for the Dynasty Warriors franchise but it still has a long way before it can take us by surprise. Still, the multiplayer action does manage to offer a satisfying experience that easily overshadows the rather dull single-player experience. Try this one out with other fellow Dynasty Warriors fans.