reviews\ Feb 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce - 360 - Review

It’s common knowledge that the Dynasty Warriors is a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” series. Majority of the media feels the following way about the series: A – doesn’t understand the excitement for the genre, B – have grown tired of the series and the little innovation it has had over the years, C – don’t find the appeal in the setting, characters or storylines.  Well, I normally fall into the B category, but with Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce, it was a whole new ball game.

You see, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce introduces a new element that normally isn’t found within the series. This feature originally sounded outlandish and out-of-place for the series, but in the end it was so crazy that it actually worked. What is this feature I speak so highly of? It’s the ability to fly. That’s right; Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce has players and the enemies flying, floating, and double-jumping all across the environment.

On top of that, DW: Strikeforce permits players to go “supernova” (or in nerd-talk, Super-Saiyan) to take down enemies in a flash. What I like to call “supernova” is actually Fury Mode in Dynasty Warriors lingo. Filling up the bottom gauge underneath the health allows players to burst into a rage and use lightning quick attacks to dispose of enemies on the fly. Even without these supernatural elements – flying and the using the Fury Mode – there are several new gameplay additions.

Among the new additions are an online versus mode, cooperative play for up to four players, and building up hub cities full of NPCs (and playable characters). The online versus mode is just as it sounds – players square off against one another. The online cooperative play was never supported in the original release on the PlayStation Portable, so the addition to play with friends online is a huge addition. The online play supports both text and voice chat. As for building up cities, players start off with a small camp and gradually progress to a large city with vendors to buy upgrades such as: weapons, orbs, chi, equipment and items, a fortune teller and a few others. On top of that, players are able to go to a quest board to find and accept quests to partake on.

So while all these additions are fine and dandy, the repetitive gameplay still remains at the forefront. Hacking and slashing through waves of enemies that look all too similar isn’t breathtaking by any means; it’s droning to the bitter end. Having up to three AI-controlled officers to join on the quests aided in spicing up the gameplay, even if they are emotionless zombies on the battlefield.  If players have avoided the Dynasty Warriors franchise in the past because of the monotonous gameplay, Strikeforce won’t immediately win them over – but it should help with slowly change the image of the stagnant series.

As with any other entry in the series, the graphics are still substandard. But then again, this was a port from PlayStation Portable, so lackluster graphics are to be expected. The animations often are lost in the shuffle as there are so many characters on the screen at one time. The character models aren’t highly detailed and enemy units are replicated to the point that you’ll be fighting the same enemy at least a hundred times on one map.

The audio work was even less impressive than the graphical output. The voice acting is atrocious; it’ll make players cringe to the point that their hair will stand up on the back of their neck. The soundtrack was nothing memorable and left no lasting impressions. On the other end of the spectrum, if players are interested in 'so bad that it’s good' voice acting, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce may be right up their alley – it’s the equivalent for a “B” movie that goes to extra lengths to be appalling.

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce is an oddity. It’s much better than I ever expected, but due to the shortcomings of the franchise for so many years, it lags behind blockbuster titles in the HD era of gaming.

Gameplay: 7.0
Aerial combat should be the way to go from here on out for the series.

Graphics: 5.5
Dynasty Warriors needs a graphical engine overhaul to look modern.

Sound: 6.0
It’s almost so bad that it’s good.

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Concept: 7.5
The changes are a blessing to both naysayers and fans alike. If the team can move towards more entertaining elements, then the Dynasty Warriors may end up in the spotlight with critical praise.

Multiplayer: 7.5
It’s about time that cooperative play was added.

Overall: 6.5
Back on track, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce is a huge improvement over what the past installments have offered.

Above Average

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