Warriors Orochi is yet another title in the long running Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series, now combining aspects from both games to create the ultimate package. Unfortunately Warriors Orochi is far from ultimate and whilst it may indeed be a large package, it is one that you will likely send back.
Jumping straight into the game you will be presented with a bland interface supporting background music that can best be described as oriental techno. Instantly you will notice that the menu lacks choice. You have a choice to play the games ‘Story Mode’ or play the games missions with any of the characters and no story in ‘Free Mode’ (a pretty straightforward choice). ‘Story Mode’ features a choice of four factions to play (three featuring personalities from Dynasty Warriors and one from Samurai Warriors). Whilst these factions take on the story mode differently, they all follow very similar stage designs that quickly become repetitive. With eight main stages and seven bonus stages for each faction, it is unlikely that you will ever finish the game. Not from sheer difficulty or scale, but from the desire to not want to.
Upon starting one of the factions’ story modes you will be presented with a short cut scene featuring some of most lifeless animation imaginable. It is surprising that in a burning building, during intense combat, watching comrades get slaughtered or even whilst dying themselves the characters seem unable to show human emotion, or even show facial expressions for that matter. It is a shame but the story does not pick up much, moving on to explaining the plotline through unanimated text and often poor dialogue during gameplay. The story can be described in short as a faction’s adventure to stop an all-powerful lord called Orochi from killing everyone (Ed – Sounds original!).
Whilst the story, as mundane as it is, could provide the basis for a fun action packed adventure, you will find that you are often bored by attempts to prevent Orochi’s rise to domination. The gameplay of Warriors Orochi will revolve around killing wave after wave of the same moronic enemies on your own or with the help of equally stupid AI controlled teammates. This concept has been repeated through generations of consoles, with little change (if any) in-between each title. Unfortunately Warriors Orochi continues this trend featuring all the downfalls of previous titles whilst also including a few of its own. Running into the endless swarms of enemies, simply mash a choice buttons to perform one of two attacks (with one of them being far more efficient) to sweep down enemies one after another. If you get into trouble try not to worry as you will have a special move that you can use often; although it is likely that you will get into trouble since as mentioned previous the enemies are horrendously unintelligent and will allow you to hit them repeatedly without providing much of a challenge.
The basis of each stage will involve completing a set task whilst running down similar looking tunnelled environments providing little to no exploration or choice. The stages are often varied to include tasks such as escorting, capturing, rescuing and securing players or areas but this provided little depth to the repetitive nature of the genre. Whilst Warriors Orochi does simply replicate many aspects from the previous games, it does feature an improved character system where you can switch between three characters at any moment during gameplay. What’s more is that these characters can be three from a list of seventy seven total characters. Whilst this may seem like an amazing array of character choice, the majority of the characters play identically and feature very little difference.
Graphically the game is… horrific. It is surprising that the game can get away with environments that could have been easily done on an Xbox, and perhaps even a Playstation One. The environments are bland, empty, and lifeless. In-between the baron landscapes you will find the odd patch of 2d grass and possibly one crate at most. Whilst the character models could hide the majority of the environment they stand on, you will soon notice that you are fighting hordes of the same character models with no effort attempting to make them even slightly different. Not only this, but the models are poorly animation and often react in the same sequence no matter how you strike them.
The sound is equally as poor with endless cheesy dialogue, performed by lifeless voice actors. It would have been appreciated to have a Japanese dialogue option, but unfortunately there is no such choice. When it comes down to a choice between terrible voice acting and oriental techno background music or silence, it’s an easy decision.
Lastly the length of the game is massive with a large array of stages, factions, characters and items that characters can obtain throughout the game – however as one could guess, the desire to play for such a long period will not be there for the majority of players. Outside of the ‘Story Mode’ and ‘Free Mode’ you will only have the choice of viewing some of the unlocked media in the gallery. Whilst it is appreciated that the game features what feels like a tacked on co-op feature throughout all game modes, it would have been appreciated to have a dedicated multiplayer feature that also supported Xbox Live.
Overall this game will provide a repetitive and dull experience for the majority of players but like always fans of the genre will still find much enjoyment beyond the glaring flaws. Hopefully Koei will release a true sequel in the future that can take advantage of what a next generation system could offer the genre.