A new Playstation handheld is once again launching with a Dynasty Warriors game, one set to take advantage of the Vita’s technology in attempts to offer something new to the franchise. Is this something that will leave people talking, or will it once again only appeal to the most hardcore of DW fans?
Dynasty Warriors Next is a game focusing on introducing touch screen features to the brawler in some interesting ways, as well as missteps. The game is a unique entry in the series with a roster that is comprised of the most recent console installment (Dynasty Warriors 7). What this game also does is give fans a true DW game on handhelds that won’t feel like it cut corners in the overall gameplay just to launch with a new system. All the hacking and slashing is there for your heart’s content and a splash of strategy and customization is thrown in as well. The game has two main features, Campaign and Conquest, as well as offering over 65 officers to control and upgrade. The campaign mode is similar to most Dynasty games in following the historical path of the different armies but instead of you picking one soldier from any side and specifically trailing through their history in the battles you are just playing the events of everything in order. You start with the Yellow Turban Rebellion battling to take back territories that the army has won while making their attempt for conquest. As you do you will earn funds as well as better weapons and equipment for your characters. Instead of choosing any character you are assigned a warrior who was significant to that specific battle and playing them through the map killing hundreds of soldiers. I should back track a second to also explain you have cards you can use in battle that are representative of one of the characters from the game that will give you a specific boost for that battle as a small advantage. The game breaks up the button mashing with touch screen sessions having you target groups of soldiers for a big attack, knocking arrows away from you, or using the screen to execute your Musou/Special Attack. You can avoid the touch screen for specials by simply using the circle button and they will be executed just like the would any other game. Instead of your character having a health bar you have a bar for your special and a bar for an attack you can use to take over any base instantly (except for the headquarters). This adds a little freshness to the game as characters recover Call of Duty style by just avoiding damage for a period of time and all things are healed.
When you reach the leader of the entire army you will be thrown into an Infinity Blade like battle where you will be instructed when the best time to strike the boss is, as well as ways to dodge and block attacks. This is the portion of the game that I felt was poorly executed and the least fun. While I really enjoy Infinity Blade I felt the execution of that style of gameplay in Dynasty Warriors didn’t fit and I would prefer to just fight them on the battlefield as I would in any other DW game. As you progress through the Campaign you will unlock characters from the respective armies to use in conquest mode. This mode is similar to the mode in Dynasty Warriors 7 where you pick an army, pick anyone of the officers available and try and take over China as you see fit, earning money and gear along the way to make your character and army stronger. This is like a Beat’em Up version of Risk that is enjoyable and can be played with a total of 4 players over local Multiplayer. This game also offers a character creation section for you to make your own officer. You will start off with limited options of customization for your character, but they will unlock as you play the various modes. The game will also support DLC in the future which I can only imagine is like the DLC for the console version in new weapons and conquest areas. Little things that are inexpensive and interesting, if sometimes jokey.
All in all it’s a much better offering than what the PSP got and is a true Dynasty Warriors game on the go. If you enjoy beat’em ups or the DW series itself you should be overall pleased with the game even if the touch screen features are rather gimmicky. Other than that though I don’t see this appealing to new fans and opening up the franchise to worldwide appeal. It is just an above average launch title that will appeal to it’s core audience.