WHO THA FAQ CARES REVIEW
DYNASTY WARRIORS 8: EMPIRES-PS3 EDITION
WARNING: I haven't really completed EVERYTHING tha game has to offer when I wrote this so I'll just be going over what I was able to wrap my head around and you all can tell me if you want me to finish! It should also be noted that I skipped ALL of part 7 as well as 8's main game! I was gonna just stick with 6: Empires since that game was about as good as I felt DW could get+I didn't wanna go back to tha Charge system because tha Renbu system is what I've been wanting since I started with part 4 back in '05 on top of 6's main game being not quite AS bad for me as it was reported to be for even tha hardest of core DW enthusiasts & gamers alike!
Now on with it:
PRESENTATION_3/5: A few things save this from being a total wash and it ain't tha dam starting screen which looks ALMOST like a cave with electric spiderwebs running through it that harasses me ENDLESSLY to sign in to tha PSN so I can play online:
! It works on some level only because this series exists because of books based on adventures by people from tha "long lost" past but I still wouldn't mind a complete copy/paste of the 6: Empires clean/sterile aesthetic that it had to it OR even the 5: Empires "Tetris/Puzzle-game" aesthetic look to it's menus! Another downer is that where selecting Empire Mode used to open up on "Continue" when going in it now starts on "New Game" which is weak because how many times are you gonna select a whole new game in tha time you have it:
? It's an issue because(I'll get into this later)tha missions & battles and such are alot easier but also bring in difficulty of tha main game objectives I experienced in 6 and I'm a completionist of sorts so when I EASILY/UNKNOWINGLY fail an objective and take what should be tha quickest route to restart which is "START/SELECT" old-school instant abort mission and find myself at the "PRESS START" screen...I'm being harassed to sign in again which made the entire experience a new form of HELL when paired with the "New Game scroll down to Continue or Quick Load" detriment it was like that 1 episode of tha Twilight Zone almost! What's worse is signing in doesn't help, it'll just stand there staring back at you for a while after you already "PRESS START" if you ever find yourself going back there! After a while though, it seemed to get faster but I still shouldn't have had to sign in for it to stop bothering me! I should also mention that tha game now speaks only Chinese with English subtitles!
Now what saves it is tha Creation System+Empire Mode(more on that later)as well as more shortcuts to more easily hop your focus from over here to over there so to speak! Empire Mode now features fully rendered cutscenes as opposed to the 6: Empires' unscripted event segments that have your character in some nondescript/implied location across from someone they may or not be talking to depending on the event! We can now see the actual head of our CAW when speaking in battle which really should've been able to be available back in 5: Empires! It's important because it prevents my character from feeling like they're a lesser "other" and feel more integrated like my character belongs there so it's more immersive/engaging for me! Your character is now visible in an actual legit surrounding as a Free Officer and you can move around tha camera to a few fixed locations as well as toggling the menus off so you can see your character standing there now! Something I maybe haven't looked into enough but I know for a fact that you canNOT select your character's idle stance when idle during Empire Mode like I said should've been available in 6: Empires but especially NOT attached to which voice you select for your character; I HATE when ANY game has something selected automatically as a byproduct of selecting something else and even more-so when tha 2 things aren't really connected in any way technically but here it's more tangible at least! The Empire Mode Menus aren't really intuitive and are as complicated/bombastic as ever and I still don't really understand it yet but if you're like me then it's really easy to just shoulder past all that jazz and get right to tha game suffering very little in tha way of consequence as a result of not taking care of the paperwork aspect of feudal warfare! Tha Free Mode is back as well!
CREATION SYSTEM_4/5: I'll start with saying it's about time they allowed us to select tha sex BEFORE everything else because prior it would always assume you to be creating a male and ask for a name first so it was possible to have a man called Sally for a few secs(more on that later)before correcting tha game's presumption! Speaking of names...you're still only allowed 12 characters for your name as in 6: Empires:
! Let's see, what else/what else...well now they've been so gracious as to allow us to wear "NOTHING AT ALL" on our characters! Let me rephrase that: It's possible to have "None" selected for each section of our "Equipment-WHICH REFERS TO WHAT THA GAME CALLS YOUR OUTFIT SELECTION" although only your head/arm/foot sections are uncovered while your body & leg are always in underwear...oh yeah males get underwear as well and even more-so than tha females(more on that later)so they're even more covered up than tha former while wearing None:
! It really has a negative bearing that I'm praising this game for what they've finally allowed us to NOT have on us!
There are 3 types of creation systems that I've seen and named them the Assembly Line/Parental/GOD Creation systems:
Assembly Line: Tha bare minimum of input to what your character will look like, see WWF SmackDown!
Parental: It begins to get a bit more intricate and you can begin to tweak features on either a slider or chart select and it comes close but it's still largely inorganic and very preset, see...6: Empires!
GOD: No...Feats...Barred-You...Control...EVERYTHING-within reason, see WWE SmackDown! vs Raw 2006 and this as it so happens...well almost!
Sections of tha Character Creation Process in 8: Empires reflect the GOD-type system and that's mostly when carving a character's likeness but if you're not feeling ambitious(4 lack of a better word)then it has a preset feature as a sort of "Quick Start" if you will! Almost forgot(wasn't sure if this should be here or part of Presentation)the Creation System now has 17 sections of only 50 slots and each slot can have a different name! A logical addition to tha feature list is 2 slots for accessories and now eye shadow/makeup; a possible accessory are a much better selection of frames & shades which are entirely new and a kitty-cat which is just plain unseen-FELIX! What's bad about this is that tha game still doesn't allow you to craft any likeness(es) that might be considered unattractive which is a detriment to my enjoyment of tha game because 1 of my extra aspects of tha game comes from creating people that really existed and aren't crafted to be appealing and tha closer I get tha better but I'm prevented from doing this by tha constraints of tha create system! You can make their features plain abstract by spacing the eyes closer or farther from each other OR placing tha lips closer or farther from tha nose & oversizing em thusly!
After that though tha training wheels come right back on when modifying your character's bodily dimensions under Body Type but a nice touch is adjusting your head size independent of the other body parts! Adjusting Weight only seems to reduce/expand your limbs! You now have 6 physiques for your character's body at this point but tha difference is males get Stocky-type and females get Curvaceous-Classic! This is gonna get a bit "social justice" for alot of people so maybe skip tha rest of this here: This section does NOT allow you to make honest-to-goodness "fat chix" whereas your males can be as overblown as you want em to be here! You can choose Muscular-type body for your females but it doesn't produce a single aesthetic of muscularity to her frame because that isn't what a mainstream audience wants...in a female! Not even a female you plan on taking into battle can be enlarged but you can make her about as shapely as a bit of dental floss but just not the other extreme! Actually you can make tha bare minimum of what most consider a BBW - emphasis on the other B not so much on the first - which is an aesthetic achieved by widening her hips and even head but not her shoulders but...at least her boobs get larger in width-Good Job!
When adjusting your character's "Equipment-STOP LAUGHING" it gets better & worse(in tha sense that it isn't better in parts that it really should)simultaneously! It's still very much "Assembly Line" style here where it's alot like in 6: Empires where you pick what goes on your head/body/arm/leg/foot or not(to varying degrees)and that's it:
! Another way of doing it they added would be to switch over to a list format and switch between entire ensembles until you find 1 you like and alter its color accordingly OR grab what you want from each section and modify its individual color...which is awesome! What's not awesome is how picking ANYTHING that has detached sleeves that overlap your hands or just are enormous sleeves in general canNOT be well...detached and will remain a part of your ensemble such as the "Wa Top" and another thing is you can still only give your character bodily tattoos if the wardrobe selection such as tha "Beast Armor" includes it! Tha fact that you can now zoom in and get a close-up look at what each section looks like on your character helps as well! Tha Moves are simultaneously better & worse than before but not because they've moved from tha Renbu system in 6! The selection here can be more complex than before(something I've wanted for a while now)tha weapon you choose for your regular moves can now be a separate thing from what your 2 primary musou attacks and your aerial musou and rage attack each is when choosing your "Moves" for regular combat...as tha Dynasty series is known for! This is what's known as your Favorite Weapon and your Alternate weapon seems to always be a single edge sword that looks kinda like the Elder Sword(Sun Jian)in 6: Empires but kinda "moves" like Heaven's Blade(Cao Pi)from tha same game! Tha bad part is you can't change your alternate until you enter that character into Empire Mode where you "happen" to find what you'd like to be an Alternate Weapon for em as a reward for completing a quest issued by a random someone...which brings me back to a choice being largely connected to something else regardless of how tangible tha 2 things are really(more on that later)! I should mention there is an option to take your character into a minor skirmish to "test-drive" your moves/weapon(s) by hitting the "SELECT" button on your character from the Edit Mode screen! Tha downside is you can't change your weapons at all so you don't know what weapons are still good without the Ex Attacks attached unless you go into Free Mode because the Ex Attacks really make or break tha weapon you're using! A minor complaint is they STUPIDLY set a time limit only 5 mins on this skirmish AND have the audacity to tell you that you FAILED if you don't complete this battle that doesn't matter in tha slightest(I really mean that, it's not training and doesn't make tha weapon or character stronger)is that they hold you on that FAILED sign as if to really rub it in & waste my time making me go back to that delightful PRESS START screen...Enough of That! Voice is next & didn't much care to even "attempt" to reflect my characters' true personalities when as stated before they only speak Chinese but I think you can alter tha pitch to a higher/lower degree than in 6: Empires! Another thing is they've added the option to create "Units/Banners/Warhorses/Soldiers/Scenarios" and I couldn't be bothered to screw around with it so...IDK! That's about it so I'll end this on another thing slightly worth mentioning which is...well:
! This will affect how easy your character will be swayed to join your dynasty in Empire Mode among other behaviors!
COMBAT_4/5: It's surprisingly just as fun & addictive as ever but it is Dynasty Warriors which is often the only game I ever endeavor to immerse myself in but nevertheless it has its downsides as all great things do and I'm gonna start off with tha negative bits here! First of all, everything has to load 3 times if loading an Empire Mode save, it's the initial load to press O to proceed to tha Loading Screen kinda like in 5: Empires that loads tha screen with tha loading bar that loads the actual recent state you left it on, though it doesn't take very long but(More on this Later)they don't show any pre-Battle screen for battle-saves to know that you've loaded tha right save if you need to go back in time-tha same goes for Strategy Phase Empire Loads before I get there in case you wanna be specific! Tha biggest gripe I have here is the addition of Rock/Paper/Scissor to tha weapon(s) system in tha form of Heaven/Earth?Man Affinities-Heaven beats Earth which beats Man which beats Heaven(makes total sense)this works in battle(More on this Later)by way of you having a weapon affinity that beats your opponent so you can "term: wipe tha floor with em" in addition to being a candidate for a Storm Rush which is notified by a blue shape over their heads! What the Storm Rush does is essentially another form of musou attack only more repetitive, it's very much the pre 6 musou attack except you remain stationary while doing it and is activated automatically(though it can be toggled to manual control, I couldn't be bothered)when you deplete the "blue" from said shape over your adversary's head by attacking em and it also seems the attack draws your enemies into it though it can eject em from that situation like an ejector seat! If their weapon is the superior affinity then...well it's the opposite in that case! The only good thing is that the enemy(ies) often do what may be their Storm Rush at a moment's notice but you can "counter" em when they do this by hitting the R1 button which will then proceed to switch over to your other weapon which is what it's usually used for though tha minor downside is you have to be right next to em to do a proper counter move but then again you don't have to pull off a successful counter to hit em because switching your weapon can do that for you which leads me to another discovery! You can kinda spam the offending enemy with your switch-weapon sequence if you so encounter an enemy's superior affinity and they MIGHT get frustrated and leave you alone! I hate this because it FORCES me to use a weapon at any point that I don't wanna use(More on this Later)because it would be out if I did want to use it and it also ruins tha simplicity of me being stronger...because I am and worked for that level! This is basically just a gimmicky shortcut to simply having the advantage as opposed to working for it!
Any minion(=enemy with no words over their head)can hang back and become a spontaneous archer instead of walking their lazy asses over to you, I know because of when they switch over to a melee weapon when I close in to show em what I think of their pinpoint accuracy no matter how NOT @#$%& STATIONARY my moves are! There are also Spot Turrets and tha like that rain down arrows all over tha battlefield and they take like an hour(barely a joke)to destroy depending on your level and that also depends on if they slow you down at all but you can usually get over on ignoring em but the lazy archers can usually stop you with their homing arrows that seem to follow you but honestly they only seem to do this in Mock Battle(s) that start when you hit SELECT on your CAW in Edit Mode! I would've been personally satisfied by being rid of weapons that attack from a distance altogether! At least in 6: Empires an Archer was a dedicated Archer and couldn't really stop your Moves at all but 8: Empires is a bit better at this because minions usually won't stop your Moves BUT it seems like their weapons have so much reach they can hit you while they're offscreen so they can easily stop you if your level isn't high enough & such AND it seems pretty easy to miss em even when they're right next to you! Bases also seem to do something from 6: Empires but larger where I'll be trying to take a base that's dam near empty but still has a durability of 70 - 150 and I need to wait for tha base to spawn more enemies and there are 0 officers in tha base I'm sure! This is made all tha more annoying because enemies are usually CONSTANTLY surrounding you even after you perform the now overblown musou attack(s) that send enemies flying away! Let's talk about tha camera now, it's so low & close compared to in 6, it's more like someone's following you with tha camera just above their head AND it enables updates to block the perspective of your character's fighting which threw me off tha planet at first but admittedly I got used to it but would still rather they show closer to tha bottom which tha subtitles bloody do during cutscenes, they're practically offscreen themselves! It's also rather easy for tha camera to even lose track of you during some charge attacks that are so overblown...considering they often don't hit even tha closest enemies and it's up to you to correct this misbehavior! I recall having so many more bad things to say about tha camera but I can't remember since I forced myself to get used to it! Trying to take a base that isn't connected to yours now makes the enemies there noticeably stronger which is weak and I don't care that the opposite is true as well because it's not as simple as I liked it before! Battles done in Empire Mode now come with Objectives and(More on this Later)the most beneficial of which require they be done in 3 mins and tha next most beneficial is set at 10 mins!
Battles taking place in Empire Mode now require you to Fortify Base(s) so they're stronger or "supply" your army with upgrades in Troops/Health/Attack or simply make tha base harder to take which again ruins tha simplicity of it all! Another thing about it is these upgrades come out of your Materials and cost entirely too much, I would say! This game now boasts a system of strategems that behave quite differently instead of tha way they worked in 6: Empires! First of all they come out by pressing the R2 button then you have to press Right or Left on tha D-pad to hop to tha strategem you want and press Up to start it instead of being attached to a button you press while holding R2 in 6: Empires! Tha strategems also block your vision like the updates but worst of all CAN be blocked by the updates as well! Trying to use em initially was like accidentally pressing the XMB button which doesn't pause tha game except here it doesn't leave you exposed & immobile and you're still free to continue attacking(or running most likely)while going over your strategems...if you're not being updated, that is! There was a system to what your hard-headed subordinates will do that you told em in 6: Empires but it's actually worse here which is unbelieveable! If you told em to attack a specific officer or base they'll just proceed to attack whatever is closest and still a threat in 6: Empires BUT they will go wherever you tell em if you want em on defense but there are exceptions & not very often though your D-pad orders were quite reliable to get their attention! It's best to always use your Individual Orders because if you change your mind 3 mins later and conditions are safer then they won't follow you if you call em after having used Individual Orders to direct em anywhere and they will still attack who/whatever's closest as opposed to carrying their lazy bones over to what you wanted em! They also have the audacity to retreat & enact a strategem that you may or(most likely)not approve of and require you to achieve or maintain a condition leaving their post to be taken by what they may be enacting it to hinder!
Your allies have a tendency to stand around like they forgot how to take a base OR how to attack the enemy in their base..BUT THE ENEMY SURE AS @#$%& HASN'T!!! THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY RELENTLESS!!! This hearkens back to what I said about Rock/Paper/Scissors because I'll often get beset with as many as 3(usually more)enemies and I'm carrying paper while 2 have scissors and 3 have paper as well! It's also entirely possible to encounter 2 enemies with the "opposite" affinities and be unable to fight em head on because(More on this Later)the other enemy gets the advantage everytime I switch! This also goes back to 3 mins because you can defeat a specific officer within 3 mins for 1000 points but the other officers don't give a @#$%& and will attack you as if they have tha same objective on you so it stands to reason that the "Switch Weapon" cheat is actually a resource you're intended to use in this situation; tha downside however is that I carry roughly tha same weapon as tha 1st because of this system and(More on this Later)I get confused as to which 1 is the stronger upgraded weapon! The only time your officers get really active(just like in Warriors Orochi)is once the enemy is low on health as if to intentionally steal your objective because you will get a "Failed" if they kill em before you! You can also take a specific base in 3 mins for 1000 points but it's usually behind enemy lines so they're gonna be alot harder than tha closest enemy base! Tha 1 thing I thought they might keep from 6 were the Power Attacks that could be done at relatively anytime from a stationary pose and the Charged Power Attack accomplished by holding tha button but they threw that out with tha Renbu system as well and most weapons' initial charge attack(that I used)are more a hindrance than assault! Most bases don't seem to be encased in any shape/form or fashion and exist in bare fields whereas they were ALL in some structure or other in 6: Empires but that's a minor gripe! What's not a minor gripe is how tha maps have gone back to their maze design from 4 but even worse because I'll often be unable to reach a position on tha map I was at some point on a few maps! Tha maps in 6: Empires had very very few to no spaces within tha maps' borders that tha player couldn't reach in addition to having alot of slanted surfaces such as mountains(very prominent in Cheng Du/Pu Yang/Tian Shui's map systems)that tha player could climb up very quickly by hopping like a mountain wabbit, the only downside is your allies weren't aware of this but then neither were the enemies so...yeah! Tha maps also don't quite clearly mark where you can't proceed through unless you're jumping straight down so you may often base your plan on being able to go somewhere you see on tha map that you may not know until you're there that it's actually...quite tha leap upwards but maybe that's just me though I still maintain they should've at least kept tha mountainsides & swimming; tha game says it still has swimming but I've never been able to find it! There are no more running atacks stronger than regular anymore and most every conceivable weapon(swords/spears)isn't quite as fun as the more outlandish weapons such as tha Siege Spear/Revolving Crossbow/Stele weapon(s) but that's my opinion and the regular weapons are still somewhat effective though! I get tha feeling all of this is meant to stop me being a mindless savage warrior...okay I do use strategies but 6: Empires balanced being a simultaneous mindless brawler/complex strategist and I really felt it in that game but not here so much..this still feels like tha simulation it technically is but still!
1 more thing that was a nightmare to get used to was that they switched the Call Horse & Change Map buttons with no way of reswitching em to what you're used to! This is especially maddening since I'll often hit Select to try to change tha map so I can see what's happening on tha rest of tha field or right next to me and it doesn't quite respond so I hit Start to bring up that map instead and find myself(where else)at that delightful PRESS START Screen and I scream in my head that the only reason I'm here is because you forced me to Start already! This kinda makes mounting your "mount" alot easier but at tha cost of something I do FAR MORE often before doing something I don't really even do all that often! Something else I just thought of is how jumping in 6: Empires and landing just after I swing my weapon will usually result in swiftly resuming my run which isn't present here and now jumping any height and landing with a weapon swing or not still results in halting ALL movement for about a whole second which doesn't sound long but is a full minute when leaping into tha fray from a mount!
Tha positives are now in play but aren't as numerous as tha negatives but their quality make up for their lack of quantity where I'm concerned! There are 4 different weapon classes now(which could be compacted into just 2 very neatly I would say)which are Dash, Dive, Whirlwind & Shadow Sprint!
DASH: Press Jump to make a huge leap across tha current battle area while attacking in that direction to close tha gap & keep tha pace up simultaneously!
DIVE: Press Jump to make a saving throw as it were while under attack and being forced back but I couldn't be bothered to experiment with this!
WHIRL: Wind damage is added to your attack so you inflict damage on enemies outside your allotted attack range!
SPRINT: A melee charge is added to your Strong attack by pressing Normal Attack but this can abruptly end your Strong attack OR used at tha very end if timed correctly AND close a sparse distance as well!
Tha Dash is what I really needed in 6 and is what I really used the evade for as well because it's largely amusing to close tha distance in like an instant during battle! This could've been easily combined with Dive since Dash could be what happens with Jump while attacking and Dive could be what Jump does while being attacked! It's also cake to do a Shadow Sprint since Whirlwind is the only passive class-type; it also stands to reason that these classes could all work as 1 thing at all times without hindering the other as well! Instead you get Compatability Bonuses that differ between classes and the bonus affects how much extra damage the alt weapon does in your hands but you can only have the effect of that weapon's class if your primary weapon is already in that class! What you can do is purchase & equip an upgrade that allows you to use the effect of any different class weapon but there's no real way to know except through memory what weapons belong in what class though there is a guide that's of minimal use in determining what class tha weapon you're looking for is at tha bottom of your Officer Info card! Tha game is "pathetic-a word I don't use lightly" at informing you what weapon is what class before you select it!
Something I have a Love/Hate thing for in this game is how cartoonish tha game treats the action compared to previous installments and that's saying something! Tha previous installments were cartoonish in tha sense that blades and explosions didn't carry anywhere near tha mortality rate that a series more grounded in reality would and simply send the enemies flying(or you on occasion)away from tha source of violence but it's more realistic aside from that! Here the animations are a little more exaggerated and don't seek to portray the more realistic martial-arts animations any given warrior would go through including attack animations seen in this game before though there were exceptions!
Purposely left this unfinished so let me know if you want me to finish and I will - tha more that ask tha sooner I finish!
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WINNERS DON'T USE DRUGS