reviews\ Dec 14, 2005 at 7:00 pm

Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends - PS2 - Review

I remember the first day I ever played a Dynasty Warriors game. From the box art, it looked like a truly innovative game featuring uniquely designed ancient warriors fighting large-scale battles for ultimate supremacy. I was delightfully surprised at what the game had to offer and made it my mission to follow the franchise through my gaming life. Today, however, could very well be the last day I ever play a Dynasty Warriors game. Why? Simply put, each new Dynasty Warriors game is almost identical to the one before it. The developers continue to add small features to make the games more amusing but it feels as if the additions are created solely for die-hard fans like me. Until significant gameplay advancements are made to the franchise, Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends will be the last Dynasty game to leave me feeling unsatisfied.

If you are reading this review you probably already know the general storyline, but lets recap anyway: The game takes place during the period when Feudal lords ruled China for ultimate supremacy. These warring states are after the turf of the former Han Dynasty. Fighting with powerful warriors against hundreds of enemy soldiers, you must progress your character and your army to conquer Ancient China. For those of you who don't know, Xtreme Legends is merely a stand-alone expansion to Dynasty Warriors 5 that was released in April but features 18 unique battles to play and a couple new modes including Xtreme mode and Destiny mode.

Essentially, Xtreme mode allows you to ignore the storyline and quickly choose any of the available warriors to fight in a select variety of missions to survive as long as you can, upgrading your weapons and defense along the way. Xtreme mode (which in many respects is pretty non-extreme) lacks substance until you enter co-op and play with a friend. But even after you school your buddy in a friendly game of "slaughter the newbie," it can get pretty boring.

Destiny mode is definitely the most promising aspect of Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends and has the potential to be a great asset in future titles. You must create a character based on everything from costumes to physical attributes. Creating a character isn't too complex and does a good job in making the character your own. You must also choose a general for your army to follow through the campaign. Just like the main story mode, you must successfully complete a number of battles conquests in order to progress. Building up your character from the bottom-up with upgrades and new ranks, you will grow alongside your general and gain prestige along the way. What makes Destiny mode different is the option of collaborating alliances, switching sides, or eventually succeeding from your general with your own army (eventually conquering him for his stake of Ancient China).

The graphics have not improved much from the game's predecessors and are identical to Dynasty Warriors 5 with adequately detailed environments considering the vastness of the fields of China. The character models seem as if they were pulled right from the original game. The sound befits the ambiance of the Dynasty Warriors games including this one with unrealistic sound effects and a 3rd-rate hard rock soundtrack.

Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends features the same cookie-cutter gameplay elements we have seen before. With the exception of Destiny mode, die-hard fans have little reason to pick up this installment. I'm disappointed with the lack of progression the Dynasty Warriors franchise has seen and hope that it will someday rise again.

Review Scoring Details for Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends

Gameplay: 6.6
Destiny mode is a good addition to the gameplay, but everything else falls flat in this expansion

Graphics: 7.0
Nothing new here folks. All the same bland environments and models are here from the previous games

Sound: 7.0
Unrealistic sound effects + eardrum-bursting hard rock = sounds like
Dynasty Warriors

Difficulty: Medium

Concept: 5.0
The end of a Dynasty? Who knows...

Overall: 6.6
Only big fans of the Dynasty Warriors franchise will find something worth playing (if only temporarily). If you have never touched a DW title before, there are a half-dozen predecessors to this one that deserve more of your attention.


Above Average

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