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September 1, 2005
Dynasty Warriors - Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
1/9/2005THQKoeiOmega Force
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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These graphics are a bit dull.
We can't hide the fact that we really love the Dynasty Warriors series on Playstation 2. Indeed our reviews of Dynasty Warriors 2 (85%), Dynasty Warriors 3 (88%), Dynasty Warriors 4 (89%), and Dynasty Warriors 5 (80%) are all extremely positive, although the series seems to have stagnated somewhat of late with only minor changes and additions from game to game. The appearance of a Dynasty Warriors title on Playstation Portable was pretty much a no brainer and indeed its appearance as a launch title in PAL territories (yes, we know the PSP doesn't have PAL or NTSC standards) is one likely to be welcomed by fans.

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Selecting the character Yue Ying.
Be it the Playstation Portable's technical limitations, or a deliberate design decision, this version of Dynasty Warriors plays slightly differently the PS2 titles. Yes the action remains largely the same with normal weapon based attacks and the musou meter returns to perform more powerful attacks, however the action is now broken up into smaller chunks which Koei have called the Battlefield Arena System. It's your choice which areas on the battlefield to take on and while you can jump in and out of areas it really just makes the game feel more broken up and disjoined. Some of the areas literally only last a minute or so. Fortunately the load times before entering each area are almost non-existant.

Dynasty Warriors includes two game modes on the Playstation Portable. The first is the story-oriented Musou Mode, and the second is the Free Mode. The Musou mode is the meat of the game where you have 42 characters to select from. After completing each stage it then becomes availabel to play in the Free mode of the game. Before entering each level you can select one or more bodyguards who will assit you in taking on the large numbers of enemies - numbers which once again will see you killing hundreds of enemies to complete each mission. The bodyguards also have the ability to heal or raise morale.

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The new Battlefield Arena System.
Another of the biggest disappointments is the complete lack of multi-player. We would have thought this would have been one of the most perfect titles to include 2 or 4-player WiFi support on PSP, but its not there making this one of the few single player only PSP titles at launch. I figure that was a result of getting this game out in time for the Japanese PSP launch last year.

Sadly the graphics engine hasn't translated well to the PSP. Indeed the amount of slowdown is even greater then that in the PS2 version, perhaps this is due to the slower CPU speed in the PSP, or perhaps it was due to a short development period at Omega Force. Either way the slowdown is present and while you can play through it, it can become distracting. Perhaps even more concerning is the way in which enemies appear just just out of the fog, but also out of thin air, often quite close to your warrior. The battlefields themselves are sparsely detailed, but are loaded with enemies to keep you busy at all times. The cuts scenes are, well, not even present in this game!

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Action on the battlefield.
Audio in this game is, as with most games in the series, functional. The dialogue was horrendous in the PS2 titles and Omega Force seem to have fixed this by removing all dialogue in the game. The music is still cruddy modernized junk rather then the wonderful oriental orchestral sounds that it should be. Fortunately the sound effects, which will be blaring out your speakers for endless hours are passable with the clash of weapons every few seconds.

Ultimately Dynasty Warriors struggles to impress due to its design and poor graphics engine. The Playstation 2 games were brilliant large scale battles with some minor slowdown but this version is let down by an arena system that never reaches its potential while the graphics engine chugs along. This is probably a game for hardcore fans of the series' only, just don't expect any major advances.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSLess detail, much worse fogging and quite bad draw-in distance.
SOUNDPoor music and lack of speech disappoints, but effects are fine.
GAMEPLAYThis is classic Dynasty Warriors, but the area system adds nothing.
VALUEA little on the short side and no multi-player really does disappoint.
OVERALLIf you're a mad Dynasty Warriors fan then this game may be worth a purchase however it isn't the game we hoped for. Hopefully a (multi-player) sequel will be released one day in future.

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