PS2 Reviews: Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends
Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends screenshots
The Final Say!
Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends - reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: February 2004
Review Score 8.0/10
Distributed By: THQ
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"Fans of the original series will adore this game!"
With Koei celebrating their 25th Anniversary in 2004, what better way to celebrate than with a new saga for one of the most popular series of all time... Dynasty Warriors. The latest take on the saga is called Xtreme Legends that once takes gamers into the mythical world of the Han dynasty. Apart from the new storyline, Xtreme Legends also supports an improved graphics engine and a variety of new gameplay modes to help keep the series fresh and exciting.
For those who are unfamiliar with the series, the Dynasty Warriors saga takes place in ancient China that combines legend, myth and facts that immerses players into this unique aspect of Chinese history. Although the current title is strongly based in this time-frame, Xtreme Legends revolves around the fall of the Han Dynasty, unlike the previous instalments that based the series at the highpoint of this ancient culture.
Koei have introduced a variety of new aspects into the series that include a new Xtreme Mode that basically allows the gamer to become involved in a variety of pre-generated skirmishes, the new Legend Mode that allows you to take control of a variety of different legendary Han Dynasty warriors and of course, my personal favourite, the new Arena Challenge that is basically a one-on-one challenge to the death. This Arena Challenge mode lets gamers go head-to-head with a variety of different officers in some extremely enjoyable fights.
Most gamers will probably engage in the Legend Mode as it allows you to select one of 42 different Han Dynasty warriors with individual stories for each character. Unfortunately once you have completed the mission, you must then move onto a new character. Another impressive feature of the Legend Mode is that Koei have implemented a second-player option that allows a second gamer to be involved as another character.
It should also be noted that although Xtreme Legends can be played as a stand-alone game, it also works as an add-on disc for the original Dynasty Warriors 4 game. Although the add-on doesn't offer the gamer anything new, it does allow you to replay Dynasty Warriors 4 with enhanced graphics and gameplay.
One of the most noticeable things of Xtreme Legends is the improved gameplay of the title that not only improves the battles but makes them a little more realistic as the previous versions of the title were a little buggy. The basic gameplay of Xtreme Legends is a hack and slash game where you fight your way through a plethora of lowly soldiers that are dispatched quite easily and also encounter various boss characters with their new and improved artificial intelligence.
The beauty of Xtreme Legends is that when you are engaged in huge battles, you actually get the sense that you are in the midst of a real battlefield with hundreds of characters on screen at once.
Graphically, Xtreme Legends looks almost indistinguishable from the previous game (especially the backgrounds) but the main difference that I have noticed in the title is that the character models appear to have been improved by tenfold. Although the regular military plebs that you encounter on the battlefields are a little lack lustre, the officers and bosses that you encounter contain a variety of special effects and detail textures for that realistic look. From the various bumps, reflections and shapes on their armour, to the way they move in battle, these characters are truly a work of art. As mentioned earlier, the backgrounds in the game are a little dull but fortunately the special effects in the game such as the spells and way your weapons inflict their damage is nothing short of impressive. For those gamers that love smooth frame-rates, they will be happy to know that Xtreme Legends runs flawlessly without any chugs, jerkiness or bugs.
The musical score of Dynasty Warriors features the same modern contemporary rock music with a touch of Chinese folk to help set the atmosphere of the game. The game also contains a plethora of sound effects from the sounds of steel hitting steel to the sounds of the magics that your characters have access too, everything has been perfectly implemented into this title. The voice acting of the title has also been professionally done and although it sounds a little clichéd and cheesy, it does help with the atmosphere of the title because this is what all good Hong Kong action movies are about.
In conclusion, many will find Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends an interesting game but because this game was originally intended for owners of the original game, it may not find a true market. Fortunately the price tag of this title may make a few people pick it up and hopefully get them addicted in one of the most interesting, exciting and addictive games from Koei. From the amazing character models to the real-time weather effects, Xtreme Legends is the perfect fighting game for those that like to think before they attack. Check it out!
- Andrew B
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