Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition Review: For the love of war
To call Dynasty Warriors one of the most accessible games in history might be an overstatement, but there is a reason why we keep seeing sequel after sequel of Chinese Dynasties going against each other in spectacular warfare. It's one of those games that you can ask your family member to play with you, and with minimal knowledge of it, they can have a blast. It's also a game for the hardcore. Those stupid enemies that circle strafed you and were too scared to poke you with their spears turn deadly when you turn the difficulty up a notch. Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition follows this trend of accessibility but also turns everything up to 11, with more characters, more stages, more scenarios, better visuals and even more devices you can enjoy it on.
If you want to get to the nitty gritty of what Dynasty Warriors 8 is all about, you can head on over to the official review. In this review, I want to focus on what new features players can expect. First and foremost, one of the biggest and best surprises is the addition of an all new Story scenario, featuring everyone's favorite badass, Lu Bu. That's right, no longer will you be forced to go through grueling exercises just to unlock him and wreak havoc on your enemies. You can play as him right away from the beginning, and in his own, albeit short, Story missions.
There are five characters to add to the roster -- one for each of the five main Kingdoms -- bringing the total to 82. While I didn't particularly love all of them, two stood out as my personal favorites. Zhu Ran is a bow wielder, much like Sun Shangxiang from Dynasty Warriors 6, but with a lot more crowd control. Chen Gong steals the show as easily one of the most absurd, yet fun to play characters of all time. Chen carries around a summoning scroll and by performing various combos, he summons soldiers to perform hits for him. For example, one end of a combo will summon archers to shoot forward at his enemies, or another will have pike soldiers spear enemies from behind. It's awesome, badass, and a visual treat.
Ambition mode makes a comeback with some expanded content. The name of the game here is to secure territories in the name of your chosen Dynasty. This is done by strategically attacking vital pieces of land, and driving out the enemy forces. Returning from DW7 Xtreme Legends is Challenge Mode, which features less hacking and slashing of thousands of enemies, but instead poses various challenges such as speed runs, kill as many enemies within a time limit in Rampage, or knock people off a bridge in Bridge Melee. For you competitive types, there are also built in leaderboards to boast your scores and times.
Notably, DW8XLCE (even that's long!) is the franchises' first step into the world of next-gen, as it's available on the PS4. It's a cross generation title, so obviously we're not seeing the game at its full potential, but armor is more detailed, and there are a ton more enemies on screen now. The PS4 version doesn't suffer with random enemy pop-in which the series was plagued, and also known for. The framerate held up much better as well. I almost consistently had a silky smooth framerate, with very little dips. That in itself is a great sign for future games.
Even more impressive is the game's transition to the Vita. While you miss out on the crisp graphics, you're getting the entire console experience. Every character, every mode, and every map. It's impressive considering that Dynasty Warriors NEXT was in essence a very stripped down Warriors game. However, what you can expect are the same issues that are present in current-gen versions. Enemies pop up frequently and the game will slow down to a crawl if too much is happening. Thankfully, that happens less on the Vita than on the PS4, but you'll still get slowdown occasionally.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, as its name implies, is the full package. You get access to all the content from DW8, which was already loaded, plus you get a whole new Story mode for everyone's favorite villain, and on top of that extra modes to really get the most bang for your buck. While it might not be a true next-gen release for the Warriors series, it is at least a first look at just how good future games will look, and how much better their performance will be.