Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: 1/31/16
Greetings gamers! Today’s (belated) review is on the latest entry in the Dynasty Warriors series. With its combination of tactics, imagery, and story, this entry contains both everything I’ve come to expect from the series, while being unlike any tactics I’ve played in memory. While it lacks the direct control of the hack and slash combat that we’ve grown used to from the series, all the moves are still there, both in cut scenes and in the execution of the attack commands.
The game itself isn’t too far removed from most other strictly-tactical games, in that the movement and selection of targets is fairly standard. But then, it’s difficult to come up with a way to move players that hasn’t been done before, and there’s no point in reinventing the wheel, especially when your wheel is already very smooth and functions perfectly. What I enjoy most about the game though are the ways in which it stands out from other games, specifically tactics based ones.
First and foremost, it’s not simply one warrior vs another single warrior, for the most part. True, there are the occasional one on one battles between specific elite warriors on both sides, but for the most part it’s not one character vs each individual enemy combatant, unlike Valkyria Chronicles for example. Furthermore, characters each have their own stat maps. I’d call it a tree, but it’s honestly much more complex than that. Additionally, though not quite as innovatively, each character has their own type of weapon they can fight with and, more imaginatively, upgrade as they go on, infusing the skills of other weapons by combining them. Godseekers also makes it fairly easy to grind levels, and doesn’t punish you in the least for doing so (I’m looking at you, Fire Emblem), nor does it limit how much you can upgrade yourself by doing so (looking at you again, Valkyria Chronicles).
The combat itself is fairly straightforward, and there’s a lengthy tutorial that legitimately covers just about everything there is to know about the game, including the different types of attacks, unit type advantages, and the combo attack/”Synchro” feature (which is honestly one of my favorite parts of the game). So much so that explaining it here almost seems superfluous. That said, here’s the basics: at the start of each battle, you can (to an extent) choose where you’d like your set characters to start. You’re given a set of goals you can complete (bonus objectives, for prizes that are mostly just cash fodder) and a few clear cut objectives that end the battle. From there, its just a matter of completing the objectives, most of which just involve killing enemy commanders. In essence, it’s not too different from most tactics games, it’s the mechanics are what sets it apart.
All in all, DW:GS is a breath of fresh air as far as tactics games are concerned. The graphics are stunning, and the story is nice and decent enough to serve as more than just an occasionally pleasant distraction. True, some of the optional fights feel the same after a while, but that’s to be expected from missions that serve little purpose other than grinding. All in all, I was well entertained, and look forward to seeing what the series has to offer in the future. Final Score: 9/10.