December 21, 2000
Does anyone remember the old beat 'em ups from the 8 and 16 bit era's. Consoles basically thrived on the genre with games such as Golden Axe, Gauntlet and Double Dragon leading the way. However, the last decade has seen very few good hack 'n slash titles with hundreds of opponents per level. Koei's Dynasty Warriors 2 will change that, with the game set during medievil China when armies of thousands battled to conquer the land. Dynasty Warriors 2 is basically a hack and slash game where you may be surrounded by 15 or more opponents, in a battlefield of over 1000 warriors on each side.
Playing Dynasty Warriors 2 is fairly straightforward. You take control of one of nine generals in the army and must complete the set task(s) to claim victory. More often then not these tasks are to defeat opposing generals, some of whom can be very difficult to defeat as they have renewable energy. There are several basic controls used throughout the game. These give you a standard attack, a powerful attack which does more damage to the opposition but leaves you open to attack or, when you collect enough Musou energy, a Musou attack which is unblockable and will hit any opponents within several meters of you.
During the game you will also get a couple of bodyguards who will help you during the battles. Make sure you collect the health packs around the levels because, while you may not need it, it also boosts the energy of your bodyguards. One of the coolest features in this game is the ability to use a bow and arrow, which, while being used, gives you a first person view of the action while aiming the arrows. Naturally being set in medieval times you can climb upon a horse and use it to give you an advantage over the opposition in both speed and height. My only niggle with the gameplay is that the other soldiers seem too inactive at times. There can be 20 of your soldiers and two opposition and your soldiers will just surround them and stand their ground waiting for you to inflict the final blows. It doesn't happen all the time, but it happens enough to make you wonder why they don't do more.
While some may argue that Dynasty Warriors 2 becomes repetitive, boring and old fashioned after a short while I beg to differ. Dynasty Warriors 2 is certainly a reminder of past gameplay but it is done with such skill and freshness that this is a game that will keep you entertained for weeks. With each mission taking well over an hour to complete there can be no denying the value in this title. Throw in some short CGI cut scenes, plenty of secrets to unlock and some great enemies and this game becomes very exciting.
There have been many impressive games graphically on the Playstation 2, most notably Tekken Tag Tournament and even the particle effect laden Fantavision. However, Dynasty Warriors 2 takes the graphics to the next level. At times it is possible to see over 30 warriors on screen at once battling while another 2000 warriors are being controlled by the CPU at the same time. Occasionally you will see fighters appear from nowhere as the draw in distance can be is quite short when there is a lot of fighters on screen however the background always remains intact. The range of moves for each fighter is fairly limited although each army has key fighters such as the gatekeepers or generals who wear different clothing and have different moves to the other soldiers.
Dynasty Warriors 2 won't appeal to everybody. Having to kill up to 1,000 opponents in a level may turn a lot of people off, but for many it will be a reminder of past hack 'n slash games such as Golden Axe and Gauntlet. Dynasty Warriors 2 manages to convey the enormity of large-scale battles perfectly with as much energy and excitement as you would expect in a real battle. Keep this game in mind when you are looking for something a little more long lasting then the numerous arcade-based games on the Playstation 2. Thank you THQ for releasing this excellent title here in Australia.