Warriors Orochi 4 Review (PS4)

Dynasty Warriors 9 was a mistake for Koei Tecmo, for which they seem to be apologising for in Warriors Orochi 4

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By stripping back some of the unnecessary elements (including the God-awful free roaming of DW9), you’ll be pleased to know it actually feels like a Warriors game. But is that even good enough anymore? Well, that’s the question I’m here to answer.

The story takes you through a 50-level time travelling mission of conquering Zeus and retrieving the eight “bracelets” that possess great power - a continuation of the Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors mashup… Chances are that’s all you need to know about the backstory, because plot has never been a strong suit of the series - nor the point of enjoyment for it.

Visually, things aren’t special either. Don’t get me wrong, the action looks good and the cutscenes (provided you don’t skip them, which…good luck with that) look great, but you will face some slowdown at more crowded moments of combat. As this is the vast majority of the game, expect to see that regular frame dip.

Neither is the visual and audial display of the action. While I do appreciate their sticking to the original Japanese voiceovers, the soundtrack is incredibly repetitive alongside a run-of-the-mill script that is delivered with a somewhat comical over-emphasis that you love to hate.

But once again, these aren’t the reason any person on Earth plays a Koei game with “Warriors” in the title. For the main reason why, everyone left with a sour taste in their mouth from games in the previous years have one question. Have the team tried anything new, and have they messed with the formula too much?

The answer is a resounding “no.” Positioned as a cleansing mouthwash to Dynasty Warriors 4 (equivalent to the stronger forms of Listerine), WO4 produces the same mindless fun you’ve had since the year 2000 - repetitive hack and slash through thousands of enemies, to make you feel like a Japanese warlord badass.

The only real additions this time would be the introduction of group combat and a new magic system, allowing you to hot switch between characters in your team for a new layer of combo-building, and allowing you to cast some gargantuan spell-based attacks respectively.. 

As for the longer-term elements, you’ve got your standard ‘explore the map and kill everything’ mission structure, but every boss-level character you defeat is added to your roster of playable characters to craft a team to your liking. In fact, as the number of playable characters rises, you may come across the thought it may be too much.

This is a point of pride for Koei Tecmo HQ, who are celebrating achieving a Guinness World Record for the most playable characters in a hack-and-slash video game (170 to be exact). Seems good to begin with, and gives you a good amount of collectibles to go for, but their impact is limited by very similar gameplay styles between them all.

All of these elements are good…to a point. But for every positive of being like any other Dynasty Warriors game from the past 18 years, comes an element of dwindling interest - you can only murder so many hundreds of thousands of foes in one sitting before it gets a little boring to do the same thing over and over again. And believe me when I say that enjoyment disappears quickly.

So, what are we left here? 

Koei Tecmo has taken the formula back to its basics, which to some degree is a good thing - an apology of sorts for Dynasty Warriors 9. That classic enjoyment is still in there, but it’s smothered by subpar, repetitive presentation and significant slowdown when things get intense. Plus, the sense of achievement is marred by progression that can feel stagnant at the best of times.

If you need a Warriors-esque experience, either get Warriors Orochi 3, or wait for this one to get cheaper.