Dynasty Warriors 6 PS3, Xbox 360
Looking at how other games have managed the leap into ‘Next-Gen’ it is easy to criticize Dynasty Warriors 6 for its many shortcomings. We are well into this generation and the game still looks, and more importantly plays like something from five years ago. It seemingly refuses to take a much needed step up and remains somewhat of a port with a high-def sheen added to make it look anywhere near worthwhile. It’s not a bad game, it’s just the same over, and over, and over again, and in the end that can make even the best seem like a lifeless cash-in.
Right from the start everything looks similar to its predecessors, tossing you in at the deep end, running headfirst into enemies without a thought in the world with your army following behind you. You smash them up with your sword, or hammer, or maybe some other bulging object depending on the character you choose. You then keep hitting one of the attack buttons, building up a combo possibly totaling in the 100’s and then once they’ve all been slain you move on to do the same again. You can use a few other attacks if you like, but there’s not much need – you can maybe squeeze some excitement out of performing special attacks for the first half dozen times, but it loses its appeal. A small new feature for the series is the “renbu” combat system, which supposedly makes your attacks more spectacular looking the longer you go without getting hit, but it’s not enough to raise the game’s appeal though – nowhere near enough, to be perfectly honest. Oh, and before I forget you can also climb ladders in this version, another new addition – exciting!
Some of the enemies might have different weapons, but most all carry the same. Some may look better than others, whilst others will be carbon copies – thus meaning you will fight 100 similar looking bad guys on one battlefield. Speaking of the battlefields, they mostly look okay, but at times they look like a low textured mess. However, regardless of the textures, little thought has gone into the layout of the maps themselves, meaning not only is there little too see, but it is all too easy to get lost. To make matters worse the game also has countless instances of pop up, with not only far away objects magically appearing on screen, but enemies popping up just a few feet away. Basically, these problems are all typical Dynasty Warriors fare, but something we’d hope even the most blinkered fan would start to notice by now.
Similarly, the cut-scenes are just as you’d expect for the series, offering you little to get excited about for the upcoming battle, but doing an okay job to explain why you’re partaking in the fight. The voice work in said scenes is very familiar: embarrassingly overdone, with a needlessly heavy-handed approach that overemphasizes the silliest of words for no apparent reason. It would be quite easy to forgive all of this if the game exceeded in other areas but it doesn’t – and with the series still refusing to go online it simply leaves yet another area to criticize.
I suppose if you are a big fan of the series you can live with the fact that the repetitive nature of DW is still alive and well with this, the sixth (or 14th if you count expansions) iteration of the game. Some may like that, some may not, and some may not even care. Although to be perfectly honest, it’s all too easy not to care about the series in the current shape it is in. In the end the game is still fun to play, and Dynasty Warriors 6 is probably the best in the series – but the same can be said for many of the previous iterations. If you have played any DW from the past few years you’ll struggle to notice the changes made to the core gameplay in this version.
Crucially, if you stand back and think of what the series could be evolving into with current hardware then you can’t help but look at DW6 as a disappointment. Wherever the series goes after this iteration it needs to offer a huge reworking from its current archaic form to make it worthwhile.