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DYNASTY WARRIORS 9 真・三國無双 9 Review

DYNASTY WARRIORS 9, the latest release in the series, is a JRPG with a rich cast of characters. Open-world exploration is available for the first time. You choose which characters to play, but most are locked until you progress further through the story.

The tutorial could be improved.

During the brief combat tutorial, DW9 introduces you to basic and special attacks, but no other actions (like evasive maneuvers) to help on the battlefield. The tutorial also seems to convey misinformation: to execute an officer’s special attack, you're instructed to press RB + A, yet the default key mappings for an X360 controller have this skill set to RB + B. Initially, combat feels clunky for these reasons.

Events such as officer deaths occur in real time, in places you’ve not explored yet, even if you’re at the base and nowhere near the battle. You might wonder whether or not you may prevent or affect the outcomes of these, or if there’s a detriment that results much later. Combined with such a brief tutorial, you may feel that this game just throws you into it and you’re left to figure out things on your own. — Which, you are, but it turns out that, the leisurely pace of background events gives you time to explore the open-world map.

Let's move on to the new features.

The ability to have a bow and a main melee weapon seems new, which permits ranged preemptive assaults. Additionally, new Trigger Attacks are strategic and prove useful for crowd control, especially if you can master counter-attacking your foe. The larger maps have been accommodated by the new Fast Travel feature: You can travel to previously visited cities and bonfires, as well as cities you haven’t visited before, although it costs more time to travel further. Unfortunately, the second time I used this feature the application crashed, which might dissuade you from using it.

There is a lot that could be improved.

Horses are a returning feature that is a bit buggy. The arrows pointing you in the direction of your next mission’s destination use roads to calculate the route, resulting in an uncompromising auto-run feature. If a barricade is in the way, your horse continuously attempts to run through it. Also, using this feature makes your trip times longer than if you manually cut through an off-road area. Fortunately, an update seems to alleviate both of these issues to an extent. But a remaining issue is that your horse can get stuck in a canal. Calling your horse won't work until you walk away, then call it again.

Unlike titles such as Samurai Warriors 4-II and Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada — not to mention the previous Dynasty Warriors releases — you won’t find large hordes of enemies to cut through in DW9, and battles need other improvements to feel more action-packed. The enemy troops and your allies just stand around for the first few missions. The enemy only attacks if you get close. (Setting the Difficulty to hard doesn’t alleviate this issue; it merely increases the enemy leaders' damage.) Also, the overall speed of combat feels sluggish once you’ve unsheathed your weapon.

A solution to the sluggish battles is to lower your graphics settings. Combat felt fine for me after this, save for particular battles, where environmental effects such as snow or fire slowed down the game. Considering I’m able to run Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada on high quality without problems, but that I can't do the same for this title, I have to conclude that DW9's graphics aren't optimized yet. Also, if you find yourself asking, "When is this battle going to end?" I suggest you also lower your Difficulty setting. The higher the Difficulty the less damage you inflict, at least until you get a weapon with higher attack and invest upgrade points into your power stat. With lower graphics quality and Difficulty, fights should progress at a good pace, if they weren't before.

The best features are customization and the number of characters.

Each time you level up, you obtain upgrade points to distribute across your stats, from health to attack power, speed and bow skill, and more. If you aren’t satisfied with your starting weapon, you can purchase or craft others at a blacksmith. You may also obtain gems to socket into a weapon. The first one you acquire adds a fire element to particular attacks. Unlike how socketing works in other RPGs, you’re free to unequip the gem from a weapon and add it to a different one.

In larger cities, you can purchase horses from a stable, which you can develop and level. How it develops depends on your actions. Major cities offer other unique shops, such as a Trader that hosts a different inventory daily, and the Coin Collector, where you may trade in your ancient coins for gems, weapon scrolls — which are needed, along with the materials listed on them, to craft weapons — and more. The Teahouse is another useful facility found in larger towns. Here, you may cook meals or advance time to fully replenish your health. You may perform these two actions at bonfires, which you can find along the way and can access via Fast Travel whenever. You may also restore your health in a Hideaway, which is a place of residence you can purchase and decorate.


The Verdict: Good

DYNASTY WARRIORS 9's gameplay has a relaxed feel that allows you to choose what to spend time on. There’s plenty to explore, missions to complete, and tons of options to customize your character. The only real problem is occasional laggy graphics. If you enjoy the JRPG genre, I recommend getting it.

Chris Hubbard
Written by
Friday, 16 February 2018 08:08
Published in Action



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A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

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