reviews\ Mar 30, 2008 at 8:00 pm

Warriors Orochi - PSP - Review

How many Chinese warriors or Japanese samurai does it take to bring down a whole army? Apparently, in Warriors Orochi, it takes only a tag team force of three to bring down the massive armies of an evil force that brings the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors together in one hacking-and-slashing good time on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 2. Now Warriors Orochi comes to the PSP and, interestingly enough, it manages to cram in ALL of the features that the big boys offer. This also includes the repetitive action that seems to recycle itself in every offering.

Likes long walks on the beach, Hello Kitty! and slicing through her enemies by the dozen.

Still, there’s a reason fans continue to offer their support and Warriors Orochi - while not a new gaming experience - is still action-packed fun. Whether you enjoyed the Dynasty era battles of the Dynasty Warriors games or the Feudal Japan era action of Samurai Warriors, both series always seemed to contain some historical value. In Warriors Orochi, however, the series takes an almost supernatural twist that has the evil Serpent King Orochi magically teleport warriors from the Three Kingdoms era of China and the Warring States period of Japan into the battlefield to face off against each another. 

Ok, that’s fine and dandy but this three-way battle between the two different eras and the Serpent King’s demon army should have been made for an epic story but it doesn’t. Even with the different branching storylines and chapters, the story doesn’t really take off despite the massive battles between each era’s warriors. Still, we’re not fans of Koei’s button-masher for the story. It’s the action that draws us to its world.

Whether you pick the Shu, Wei, Wu or the Samurai era storylines, you’ll be able to pick and sort through captains with their own unique skills and appearance. Like the console games, you can later upgrade you characters and add various options such as unlocking new warriors to aid you in battle. This game places you in a three-warrior team that you can easily switch and use at the drop of a hat. Say you’re fighting off against a particular mean enemy commander that requires a big brute … just press the directional pad and select your big brawler.

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Much like the console games, the maps are huge and the battles are lengthy affairs that pile on the enemies on screen. This is one of the most impressive features of the PSP as well and seeing all the enemies gather within the huge maps will not fail to impress fans. The gameplay will not be a surprise to anyone who has picked up and played a Dynasty Warriors game over the years since the controls and gameplay are virtually the same. You’ll still chain together combos, dish out charge attacks or hop on a horse to slash away at the growing hordes.

Aside from the ability to change between characters, Warriors Orochi has some interesting upgrades. You can, for example, equip weapon effects for your weapons that will add flame, ice or even a lighting bolt attack. Also the fact that you can play as Chinese warriors like Xing Cai or Zhang Liao as well as samurai like Mitsuhide Akechi or Hanzo Hattori. In fact there are about 77 characters to use in the main mode or Free Mode. Really, how cool is that?

Of course, the action becomes way too repetitive way too soon. Even with all the interesting few new elements, the gameplay is the same. Thankfully, the game’s controls are good and you can manually turn the camera (something you will do often) so you can get a better look at the battlefield. The good news is that the framerate doesn’t take a dip too often in the game so even with a lot of enemies on screen the action doesn’t slow down. There’s even a co-op mode that allows you to play along with a friend.

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Visually speaking, Warriors Orochi is a rather eye-pleasing game on the PSP. It’s great to see so much on display even on the handheld’s widescreen. The backgrounds are crisp and the character models really stand out nicely enough. Sadly, there’s a lot of pop-up action going on as well so within seconds enemies suddenly appear out of thin air. Worst yet is the soundtrack that continues its awful guitar rock tradition. The voice acting is somewhat decent at time and really bad in other times. What happened to the Japanese voice acting cast? We miss it and want to see it back.

Warriors Orochi for the PSP delivers a very familiar formula and does it well but it is still the repetitive button-masher fans have been playing for quite awhile now. Still, it’s impressive to see all the features and characters found in the console games with some weak spots here and there. Fans of the series looking for a portable hack-and-slash with all the works should check this one out. Anyone else looking for something new will do best to skip this one.

#Review Scoring Details for Warriors Orochi

Gameplay: 7.0
The same hack-and-slash action of the big boys in a portable format has been done before but this time there are Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors characters to use. The Serpent King storyline is just too weak, though.

Graphics: 7.0
The game’s graphics are true to the console games and the cut scenes look really good. Watching your characters rushing into a crowd of enemies is still impressivet.

Sound: 5.0
The cheesy heavy guitar riffs are back and it’s cheesier than ever. The voice acting in the game sounds phoned in and you’ll be wishing the game included the Japanese voice cast. Other than that the sound effects are familiar territory.

Difficulty: Medium
Whether you’re slicing through the hordes with a staff or an umbrella, the action never gets too hard and no commander too tough to beat. The upgrades and new weapons play a role in helping you on the battle field but it’s the various power-ups that will be your best friends.

Concept: 7.0
Warriors Orochi is the best of both worlds for Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors fans and there are dozens of upgrades, weapons and characters to use in the beefy game modes. Sadly, the story goes nowhere and nothing has changed from past games.

Multiplayer: 7.2
With up to 77 different characters to pick, you and a friend have plenty of choices to go rip through enemies in co-op mode via Ad Hoc. The result is a solid tag team that makes taking on the enemy commanders far more easier … and far more fun.

Overall: 7.0
Impressively adding all the elements from both Koei hack-and-slash games, Warriors Orochi is true to the series but shows us nothing genuinely or refreshingly new. Repetitive gameplay aside, the game’s few flaws don’t take away from the action or cool options. This is strictly for the fans.


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