Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce

Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game’s About
Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce is a beat ’em up style game that combines ancient Chinese warlords (loosely based on actual history), a healthy dose of fantastical action that is reminiscent of a Dragon Ball Z and Monster Hunter multiplayer sensibilities. The biggest difference between this and the 20 or so other Dynasty Warriors games is this includes an online multiplayer mode that fits snuggly inside the package. The structure is a little different than most Dynasty Warriors games. Past games would feature a sprawling battlefield with opposing armies. In Strikeforce, you can take a team of four people (human or AI controlled) and take quests inside your fortress where maps are broken up into manageable segments and goals. It might sound like a drastic departure from the tried and true formula but it keeps the same spirit.

What’s Hot
In terms of Dynasty Warriors games, evolution is slow when each new iteration hits store shelves. If you are an ardent fan of the series, you’ll already know Strikeforce is the console version of the PSP game that was released back in 2009. Much has been improved over the handheld version thanks to the expanded capabilities of the consoles. The most important thing you can do is play with your friends online over the PlayStation Network, which wasn’t possible on the PSP version. No longer do you have to share couch space as hours fly by while you tenderize nameless hordes of warriors. You can rest assured that there are improvements in the sound, graphics and controls departments that make Strikeforce easy to play over the PSP version, as you’d hope.

When you meet an angry mob of enemies that are making it difficult to get to the goal, Strikeforce has a trick up its sleeve for you to deploy. Fury mode is where your selected general will power-up and deal more damage than normal. When the fury gauge fills up, you can go berserk with your button mashing. To augment your seriously badass powers, there are stores where you can upgrade and purchase new weapons, abilities and items for all sorts of chaos. Aerial combat is an important part of Strikeforce and Fury mode gives you additional dashes to reach flying enemies and vehicles.

Yes, vehicles. Strikeforce departs from the stock Dynasty Warriors cookie cutter by exploring more mystical explanations of battles you have likely played a million times over since the PS1 days. There are large stone creatures, packs of wild, man eating tigers and other ancient mythological oddities to change up the nature of Dynasty Warriors while retaining the same spirit that makes it a guilty pleasure for so many gamers. One of the best additions to the game is when you encounter Ayne and Ryu of Ninja Gaiden fame that will dole out some new quests.

What’s Not
There is a funky new targeting system at work in Strikeforce. It acts much like a Zelda “Z-Targeting” set-up that locks you and your selected enemy into an intimate fight. The problem here is that it is hard to cycle through who you actually want to target and who you end up targeting. The camera is shaky, literally. If you target a flying baddie, have sea sickness medicine on hand since verticality and this camera are not best of friends. It would be simple enough to go without the camera but therein lies a problem. The targeting is crucial to successful missions. When you target something, you’ll see if your weapon is effective against it by the color the targeting circle is. If not, you can switch to your sub-weapon for better results (if that still doesn’t work, pick between the lesser of two evils). Over time, you’ll learn what is effective but, when you begin, it will start out as your crutch since Strikeforce doesn’t pull any punches for difficulty forgiveness.

Corners were cut in some obvious areas. At the end of major segments to the missions, there are cut scene montages that are reused and make it look like the animation budget ran out. Graphics aren’t up to this generation’s code and the load times are a nuisance (you can install the game to decrease the load times). AI is still dumb on your side and cheap for the computer, so playing with other humans is your best bet once again. Veterans of the Dynasty Warriors series will say a resounding, “So what?” to those comments as this is something that has never really changed.

Final Word
Strikeforce is a monumental step in the right direction for the series. For the Dynasty Warriors franchise, that is praise beyond belief. Seriously, who doesn’t like to fight man-hungry tigers that team up with wolves? Online mode is welcome with warm, loving arms as a lot of the filler of past games is cut out to make Strikeforce a leaner, more action condensed game that will attract new fans for the first time in a long time. Fury mode is a winner, the items and customization is a winner and the online mode cannot be called a winner enough. If you are looking for a game that will kill hours as you and a friend mindlessly bash the square and triangle buttons, Strikeforce comes with high recommendations.