April 23, 2002
Dynasty Warriors 3 - Review
At the Playstation 2 launch in November 2000 one game stood out as something different, something Japanese/Chinese, and something quite exciting. Beat 'em up fans from the 1980's were enthralled with the mindless action of killing a thousand enemies in a level. It was very reminiscent of 8 and 16-bit games such as Golden Axe, Gauntlet and Double Dragon which ruled the charts. Even the very Japanese style, and Chinese setting, of Dynasty Warriors 2 wasn't a problem with western audiences as the game raced up the charts. Almost 18 months later and the sequel has finally hit the shelves in PAL territories. Dynasty Warriors 3 promises plenty of enhancements and improvements.
|Detail has been slightly improved.|
Dynasty Warriors 3 is a 3D beat 'em up on a massive scale. Set in China the game takes place on a series of battlefields several kilometres square in size. You control one of 41 different soldiers (up from 28 in DW2) as they battle through the levels. Koei have retained much of the gameplay of the original game, but have added in new special moves for the characters, larger levels, and the ability to ride elephants! While fighting the enemies you can now perform combos where you can hit an opponent half a dozen times to inflict some major damage. Timing the blows is now more critical as the opponents, and especially the higher-ranking soldiers are more inclined to block your attacks. As well as your sword, pike, axe or normal weapon of choice hitting R1 allows you to use a bow and arrow for distance attacks.
|The game has massive battlefields.|
Koei has sone a wonderful job in polishing this title further from their previous effort. The game is now a lot tougher with plenty more items to pick up and characters to unlock. The ability to now select weapons and items for your character is an added bonus and allows you to customise to your own strengths and weaknesses. Weapons can also be selected for your guards as well as their strategy to attack or defend. Koei have included 23 levels, which include re-hashes of the 8 levels from the original game. Each level also has new goals. In some you will have to kill a certain general, in others you will have to guard a royal carriage.
|2-player battles are terrific.|
Perhaps the biggest inclusion to this game is the magnificent 2-player mode. Battling on a field against a friend is terrific fun and, as you can expect, will keep you going for days. Of course adding in the extra player puts more strain on the Playstation 2 with some slowdown, but it's not that bad overall. If you really want you can join forces and work together, but what's the fun in that? The final icing on the cake is that owners of the original Dynasty Warriors 2 can used their saved game to automatically unlock several characters found in that game..
All is not perfect however. The game still has some considerable draw-in and fogging which makes spotting enemies in the distance impossible. You will be looking at the map quite often to see what's ahead of you. Dynasty Warriors 3 can be an extremely repetitive game, so those who think killing 1000 enemies in a level may be tiresome may want to heed the warning. Finally, it would have been nice to have more variety in the enemies such as catapults and attack dogs. I'm sure they had those in China at some stage.
|Elephants are only in some levels.|
While the graphics in Dynasty Warriors 3 are certainly more polished then the prequel, they are a little disappointing. Perhaps having seen games like Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Solid 2 we have been spoilt. Having said that those games don't have over 30 characters on screen at a time. The detail on the characters, and their animations are quite impressive. The clothing is wonderfully textured and while the cut scenes have some terrible lip-synching, if you can call it that, the graphical quality is definitely apparent. Sadly while the graphical quality has been improved the draw-in and fogging distances have not. Still you will be too busy with the enemies directly around you to look at what's happening in the distance.
Sound in this game is quite strange. The voice acting varies between good and bad, but there is plenty of it littered through the game. While that area is passable it's the music that is strange. For a Chinese style game you would expect plenty of Chinese styled music, but Koei have opted more of a rock beat. Fortunately the sound effects are very impressive with slashes of swords, screams of pain and smashing of... ermm... ceramic pots.
|Visual effects are pretty good.|
Dynasty Warriors 3 is a great update to the previous title. Plenty more options, battlefields, characters make this game a winner, even for those that own Dynasty Warriors 2. Perhaps the best inclusion is the 2-player game which is terrific fun, especially when on opposing teams. If you like old school beat 'em ups, or were sitting on the fence with the previous game, then I would recommend you pick up this title.
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|GRAPHICS||There can be some close draw in, but everything runs smooth enough.||86%|
|SOUND||Improved from the previous game with more speech and better music.||80%|
|GAMEPLAY||Is killing over 1000 enemies in a single level fun? It is in this game.||84%|
|VALUE||DW3 includes 2-players, 41 playable characters, and new modes.||90%|
|OVERALL||A more polished game then the original with plenty more options, a lot more difficulty, and quite a bit more fun. A very worthy sequel.||88%|