Dynasty Warriors 6 - PS3 Review
February 1997 was a breakthrough month for the Playstation, and especially Koei. That month saw the release of a game called Dynasty Warriors and while the original was rather unremarkable and quite different to what the series has become today its sequel, Dynasty Warriors 2 (released three and a half years later in August 2000), ushered in an era of large scale battles in video games. Dozens of characters were viewable on screen, and hundreds would fall to your blade before each level was complete. Since then fifteen other Dynasty Warriors titles have been released in seven years and sales have reached the millions. Dynasty Warriors 6 is the first true game in the series (there was, of course Dynasty Warriors: Gundam) to hit the Playstation 3, so we thought we'd take a look...
|Draw distance is better then previous games.|
Dynasty Warriors 6 is based on the epic novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and depicts the massive battles ignited by the fall of the Han Dynasty when three rebellious states moved to overthrow the Emperor of China.
As expected Dynasty Warriors 6 is a third person hack and slash title which sees you controlling one of many selectable characters on massive battlefields. It would take minutes to travel from one side of each level to another without enemies, but with thousands of them even the earliest levels in the game could take up to an hour to complete. Not only are the levels littered with 'human' enemies but you will also encounter wild animals to hinder your progress. In terms of attack, the game includes a new "Renbu" system which allows you to string attacks together in increasing power. It's a nice change from the standard attacks of the past, but doesn't really add a new layer to the gameplay.
|At first glance nice, but note the bland backgrounds.|
Ultimately though the gameplay here offers little that we haven't seen before. There are no radical gameplay changes and while we don't expect the developers to totally rewrite the books, especially on the first outing on the Playstation 3, the enhancements such as climbing ladders, jumping in boats and swimming adds a lot less to the gameplay then we actually expected. I would have loved to see some innovation - perhaps an archery section similar to that in Heavenly Sword which used the Sixaxis tilt sensing to guide the arrows. While Koei also promised an improvement in enemy AI it still doesn't come across as much 'intelligence' at all. Enemies will still stand there waiting for you to hack them down unless they actually have a higher ranking. Most annoying is that a group of friendly soldiers - sometimes dozens - will surround one noob enemy and rather then hack him to pieces will wait for you to come over and kill him.
Sadly there are issues with this game from the gameplay/content side. I was quite disappointed that there was no online gameplay in Dynasty Warriors 6. With every PS3 having a Internet connectivity it seems like a bit opportunity missed. Sure, cut down the number of enemy soldiers, or create some mini-games rather then building the online gameplay into the full story modes. Another of the issues which we have with the game is simply the confusing storyline. With so many Chinese names and characters flying around in the cut-scenes and battles it will take some memory to keep track of all the characters and moves - then again that has always been a stable of the Dynasty Warriors titles I guess.
|We're up to 553 KO's!|
With the power of the Playstation 3 behind the game we expected Dynasty Warriors 6 to be a tour de force graphically. Initial impressions are positive; a great intro to the game, slick menus, nice high-def visuals. In fact all the cut-scenes in the game look spectacular, no doubt the brilliant quality is due to the massive storage space provided on the Blu-Ray disc. But from there the game seems to go a bit pear shaped.
One of our biggest hopes for this title was that the draw distance would be dramatically improved due to much larger memory sizes. Indeed it has improved, however there is still a lot of draw-in, and strangely this is often in the soldiers closest to you as you rotate of move the camera. Speaking of which, there's still too much manual camera movement required. I often found it most useful to pull the camera back to an almost 'above' viewpoint and battle from there, but you then lose the bigger picture of what lies ahead.
|Cut-scenes look absolutely gorgeous.|
Another aspect which had us scratching our heads was not only pop-in/draw-in but even draw-out. Is that even a term? Who the hell knows but what I mean is that you can approach objects in the game world such as grass and it will actually disappear when you get closer to it? That's weirdness at the extreme. Beyond that the backgrounds are much blander then we hoped for, and character models - particularly on the generic soldiers - is pretty dire. To add to the disappointment the animation on - yet again particularly the generic soldiers - is about as boring as one would expect.
Now, we will clarify that Dynasty Warriors 6 is not a total disaster graphically, we have certainly seen worse on the Playstation 3, but this isn't the large scale battlefield brilliance we were hoping for.
Sonically I was quite disappointed with the title. It seems that Koei haven't changed anything from their orchestral rock tones, and even when not looking at the screen you will instantly recognise what series this game was from. Given the massive amounts of storage space on the Blu-Ray disc the range of speech, besides the cut-scenes, was extremely disappointing, with as little variety as previous-generation titles and frequen repetition of phrases while in battles. At least the game is now presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.
|That's one hell of a weapon.|
For all its shortcomings Dynasty Warriors 6 is still an entertaining, and rather lengthy, game. Fans of the series will be glad to have a next-gen version however it just feels rushed to market when Koei could have taken their time and really 'owned' the genre for this new generation of consoles. Not a bad purchase for only $AU89.95, but don't expect a revolution.
Review By: Dave WarnerOrder your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
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|GRAPHICS||Disappointments; draw-in, draw-out, texturing and many other issues.||66%|
|SOUND||This is a next-gen title right? Dissapointing in-game audio.||62%|
|GAMEPLAY||The gameplay certainly hasn't evolved as much as we hoped.||74%|
|VALUE||There's a tonne to get through, but no online and similar missions.||80%|
|OVERALL||Dynasty Warriors 6 is pretty much the same game we've come to know, love, and tire of. Better graphics and audio, yes, but little in terms of innovation.||69%|