Set in Ancient China during the third century, this action-filled title delivers free-roaming fun amid epic battlegrounds, with expanded actions like climbing and swimming so players can fully experience the boosted graphics. This series continues to build on its appeal (great individual first-person fighting without lots of micromanagement in the overall stages), but must incorporate more random elements and innovations to win more new fans.
The increasing challenge of defeating wave upon wave of enemies (complete with improved AI, so they don't just stand there and take your best hits) doesn't stop after the battle. Canines and dogs can track you down long after the battle is over, even after you've defeated all enemy officers. Even individual solider purpose and functions are expanded like the unarmed bannerman who raise overall morale.
The new "Renbu" battle format combines speed and consecutive moves (a.k.a. chains) as players advance their skills and powers. Once you get right in the thick of things, it's easy to rack up 200+ chains. Once you take heavy damage or haven't hit anyone in a while, the chain is broken. Players must also strategize when breaking down gates to advance their respective army.
The movements are pretty fluid as players must exclusively use the left stick (the down directional button) calls your horse. Move the camera with the right stick for some great camera shots, especially using the usually earth-shattering musou attacks. As in previous installments, your power attacks, holding the triangle button, become more powerful, and more entertaining, when you run at a group of enemies and release. These running attacks are very entertaining and break up enemy groups extremely well. If you've got enough back up, you can quickly advance by breaking up enemies with these special running attacks then advancing into waves ahead so they engage your troops.
Veteran players can expect the familiar individual battle lock ups, involving even more button mashing, and stuns. Clipping remains a small issue at times, plus activities like constructing watch towers or battering rams often land right on top of you. Luckily your health doesn't take a hit and the interruption is usually minor. The new and expanded fighting moves are amazing. Great credit to the motion-capture team who got the best moves from Asia's leading stuntmen and women, including some nifty somersaults (press L1 while in the air).
Game modes include a two-player co-operative in the musou and free modes. You even get double musou when you're close to each other. Players can't have the same officers (hmm...two Lu Bus laying waste to their enemies would be awesome!) Players can continue in the two-player mode even when the other player leaves or takes a break, so the action keeps coming. Single players can achieve great upgrades in free mode, then reap the benefits in the musou campaign mode. Challenge modes, complete with online rankings, include sudden death (one blow ends you), speed runs, havoc (destroying environmental items), and the gauntlet where you can test your movement skills. The havoc challenge didn't really live up to its name because you can only destroy certain elements - all neatly lined up in groups for you.
When you need a break, go to base camp where you can survey the progress you've made across all of your unlocked characters, weapons, and horses. Learn about the three kingdoms and related history in the encyclopedia section. Players can also save up to 20 different games. If you've never experienced Dynasty Warriors (or even Samurai Warriors), you should definitely give this title a try. An essential Playstation 3 title for action fans.