Dynasty Warriors 4

Overview

When Dynasty Warriors 2 was released here in the US for the PS2 it was a very solid title that sold quite well. Then Koei found that the Dynasty Warriors formula was working so they went on the spree of games trying to take advantage of the rising popularity of the game with the release of both Dynasty Warriors 3 and Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends. Now here is another addition to the Dynasty Warriors series - it’s Dynasty Warriors 4, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s another solid title.

Gameplay

From Dynasty Warriors 2 to the recently released now Dynasty Warriors 4 the improvements from each title have not been overly great. There have been small upgrades to each title that seem to keep getting great sales. It is quite surprising that with not much gameplay or graphical upgrades to these games, yet the games are still selling well. Dynasty Warriors 4 is another title that just takes the previous titles one step further but that’s one small step.

If you are unfamiliar with the Dynasty Warriors series my first question is where have you been? Well here is a little bit about the series to get you ready for the game. Basically Dynasty Warriors takes place in Ancient China on the downfall of the Han dynasty. As you play through the game you will witness the story unfold in front of you eyes with beautiful in game movies that you will have the privilege to watch before every battle.

For those of you who haven’t played Dynasty Warriors and have no clue what the game is like here is a little snippet for you. Do you like swinging a sword around wildly killing as many enemies as you can? Well if you answered yes this is exactly the game for you. Throughout Dynasty Warriors 4 you will be going through major battles where you need to take matters into your own hands.

Alright, Dynasty Warriors seems to add one more feature or one more game mode to each edition of the series. In DW4 you have the choice of several different game modes these include: Musou, Free, Versus, Challenge, and Edit. Basically in short the Musou mode is the main story mode and the rest are little additions to add replay value to DW4.

One of the biggest problems in Dynasty Warriors 3 were the enemies. It just seemed like their responses to your attack were "come kill me, I don’t want to live". They never seemed to really have much common sense and therefore it really didn’t seem very realistic. Now rather than just surrounding you and doing nothing, they will block and wait for an opening in your attacks, and will knock you down when you least expect them to. This will frustrate newbies to the series, but this improvement makes this game a whole lot more difficult.

Another huge improvement in the game is this. In DW3 you would be able to take out the lower infantry like taking candy from a baby, but now they have become much more deadly and you now cannot take anyone with a weapon lightly (the way it should be). This means you are not going to be able to breeze by the low guys and just worry about the high ranked officers, as now even the privates can gang up on you and attack from multiple angles. And the officers will be more content to block your attacks and wait for you to slip up before unleashing their deadly attacks. To survive this game, you have to employ a bit of strategy and skill, which makes this game great.

Another new feature in Dynasty Warriors 4 is dueling. Now every once in a while, you get the chance to go one-on-one with the opposing officer, without interruptions from the rest of the troops. Some may find it hard as the game tries to balance out both characters in duel mode, which means that your buffed up hero will not be that powerful against the supposedly lowly enemy officer. Again, you have to use a bit of strategy and skill to take on this mode.

Like mentioned earlier each DW game has something new that is supposed to bring the game over the top from its previous titles. In DW4 it was by far suppose to be the "Siege Engine". The purpose of a siege engine was so you could build catapults and such to bring a new aspect to the game. All you basically do is find the siege commander and watch the things happen in cut scenes. Not much of an upgrade if you ask me.

There have been a lot of minor improvements throughout the game that only true hardcore Dynasty Warriors fans would be able to spot. For example the effectiveness of the arrows has dramatically gone down which means they aren’t as big of a weapon as they once were. Overall though, the biggest problem that has always plagued the Dynasty Warriors series is repetition. How many people can you kill before you just get tired of doing it? Well if you didn’t find the other titles to get boring then your sure not going to find DW4, but for those of you who can’t stand doing the same thing over and over this is really going to irritate you.

Graphics

The release of DW3 saw a huge improvement in the games graphics with a lot better character models along with a much improved frame rate (but still far from being perfect). There was also a lot more detail in the third installment that really had all Dynasty Warrior fans impressed.

The graphics of DW4 once again take DW3’s graphics and takes them one step further. The first thing though that came to mind was that this may be getting close to the end for this graphical engine because I think that Omega Force has problem taken this engine as far as it’s going to go (but you never know). Anyways in DW4 the environments have a lot more variety in them so you won’t be fighting in the same patch of dirt the whole time.

With all the enemies on screen at one time it was obvious why the frame rate would struggle in the previous installments. Omega Force did an excellent job of improving the frame rates so that there would be little to no slowdowns, and in fact now in DW4 you will almost never find any slowdowns, which is always a great thing.

On the downside DW4 character models are almost pure replicas of the one’s found in DW3. That’s not a bad thing because in they looked quite good in DW3, but it would have been nice to have some more upgrades. Overall the graphics are a much improvement not so much in the look of the game but more the smooth feeling you feel while playing through it.

Fun Factor

When you look at Dynasty Warriors 4 as a whole you find that this is a very long game with a lot of "fun" repetition. Although you do the same thing over and over again you will find that with the RPG style of leveling at least you know your doing it so you can improve. The improvements are worthwhile because as you get stronger the game becomes a lot more fun. The gameplay is fast and furious and it never seems to slow down. The multiplayer portions of the game are also quite fun and give the game that extra replay value that’s always a good thing.

Overall

When I look at Dynasty Warriors 4 I see a game that is just solid all across the board. It’s definitely not a game that is perfect but it’s a game that takes a winning formula and continues an already impressive series of games. I would recommend Dynasty Warriors 4 for anyone who is looking for a game where you can just spend hours upon hours of senseless killing.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.