Koei's latest action strategy game
has come to pass with Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce
now available on the PS3 and XBox 360. Loosely based on the PSP
game of the same name, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce is
definitely a step in the right direction and away from ad
Over the years, the
franchise has become a little stagnant but with the inclusion of
RPG fundamentals such as levelling, weapon building and even
aerial combat, it provides the added boost needed for the
gameplay. As a
result it creates a much more in-depth gaming experience than
just a hack ‘n slash experience with just lacklustre “squad” based
mechanics. Needless to say, this is what the franchise has
required to create a truly unique next-generation gaming
experience and definitely a left out of
centre game for Koei.
The story revolves around the
popular Chinese story of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms that
has the player fighting for either the Wu, Shu and Wei Kingdoms.
Once you have selected your kingdom, this will dictate the direction of the story,
although all stories are linked. There is even a surprise about
the "Kingdoms" that we don't want to spoil as well.
Needless to say, this definitely adds
replay value for the player and the for this review, we finished
the game as the Wu Kingdom and and we are currently half way through
the the Wei kingdom game. With over 40 characters to choose
from, the choice is quite difficult at first as each has their
own unique pros and cons but thanks to the RPG aspect, it does
give you some chance for change.
Like the game Monster Hunter, the
central point of Strikeforce is your village that allows you to
purchase items, level-up and embark on the various missions for
example. Even the way
the missions are setup in Strikeforce via a message board, it's is
oozing with RPG references, especially when it comes to options.
At the local academy, you can upgrade your fury and musou
"magicks" before embarking on your missions. It's fun unleashing
fury for the first time as your character transforms into a
superpower that not only increases their stats but also their
musou power. Chi is another power that can be setup in the town
to add additional bonuses to your character as they carry these
bonuses on their hands and feet. Creating new weapons at the
blacksmith is also a fun activity during the downtime in the
village. Weapons, armour also adds bonuses to your attacks and
defences, just like all good RPG titles.
In terms of missions, it is similar
to previous games where you need to kill an almost unlimited
number of enemies. In
single-player, the game controls your three other officers
from movement to battles, however it does offer some basic squad
mechanics such as defend or attack to point them in the right
direction. It may seem like the same old thing but with the
tweaked gameplay, it does make the franchise more playable and
gives you more options in completing in felling your foes. As
you level up your stats and use the magic "Fury" to make you
super powerful for short amounts of time, it's almost like
watching a Hong Kong martial arts movie and the aerial combat is
quite fun. For example, you can jump in the air (quite high at
times) and do some outrageous combination attacks. The
difficulty level of the game may however scare a few players
away as it's quite challenging as you progress and sometimes
your AI companions are a little slow.
controls of the game are well mapped on the DualShock controller
as you use the analog sticks and buttons to navigate this 3D
world and if you’re familiar with previous games from the
series, nothing has really changed in terms of control. Newcomers can also pick up
the controller and start playing without too many hassles. Just
be warned that your fingers may get a little tired as you kill
enemy after enemy, into the hundreds and thousands eventually!
The other new addition is the
ability to play online which is quite
fun as it gives you a mini RPG experience online of co-op or
versus. Even though it’s no way as in-depth as World of Warcraft
for instance, it does offer for a more personal play experience,
albeit a short one, especially if you're meeting your friends
online. Logging on and setting up a mission with three other
players is easy, however lag is ultimately the dreaded beast.
Graphically, Dynasty Warriors:
Strikeforce is easily one of the nicest looking games of the
series and is not just a rehash of the old engine as there are
some big changes to the franchise in terms of details. All the
characters are well animated and move quite realistic but the
attention to detail of their faces, body and armour is visually
quite good, very Koei but quite good. Even when the action heat up, the gaming engine
manages to keep up... most times. The backgrounds are still a
little lacking which is a shame. In terms of voice acting...
cheesy Capcom style of speech! Suits the game as does the music.
At the end of the day, Dynasty
Warriors: Strikeforce is taking the franchise in the right
direction and it's good to see Koei get out of their comfort
zone. Even though at times, the action is quite repetitive, the
RPG elements does add a new twist to the game which we enjoyed.
Definitely a game for lovers of the franchise or even newcomers
who are interested in what all the fuss is about. The graphics
do look a little dated, however from where it has come, the
improvements are noticeable and sometimes it's great to just
zone out and kill a few hundred people.