By Levi . October 8, 2008 . 1:12pm
Last year, Koei released Warriors Orochi, a game which mashed together characters and settings from both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises. Now comes Warriors Orochi 2, which continues the story of the first game in the series, as well as adding several new characters and features into the mix. Now, before I get started here, I’d just like to say that this isn’t really going to be your standard review style article. If you’re reading this, you more than likely know what to expect from a Warriors game. Hordes of enemy soldiers being cut down by not-quite-historically-accurate representations of figures from Chinese and/or Japanese history. Instead, I’ll be detailing the differences between the two games in the series, to help you decide if Warriors Orochi 2 is worth your gaming dollar.
When you first load up the game, you’ll notice that the layout and presentation is largely unchanged from the first game. The music, character portraits, and menu designs are all exactly the same as the first game. However, once you start scrolling through the menu, you’ll notice that WO2 has several more modes than the first game did. New to Warriors Orochi 2 are an expanded Versus Mode, Dream Mode, and Survival Mode. Versus Mode is surprisingly robust, with four different types of contest that you can take a friend on in. Survival Mode is interesting in that it plays from a side-view perspective, like a traditional fighting game. You choose a team of three characters, and take on CPU-controlled teams of three until all of your characters fall.
My first real complaint with the new modes, though, comes with Dream Mode. This mode is a single-player mode which gives you nearly 30 stages to choose from. The bad part is that for each stage, you’re saddled with a pre-selected team of characters. Which isn’t entirely bad, as it could get you to use characters you wouldn’t normally use. However, couple this with the fact that Dream Mode replaces the X stages from the first game, and it’s a bit disappointing. The first game’s X stages could be played through in Free Mode once they were completed with any team of characters. In Dream Mode you’re stuck with the pre-selected team no matter what.
But new game modes aren’t the only addition to the newest iteration of the Warriors Orochi franchise. Several tweaks and additions have been made to the core game system as well. Most notable among these is the new Strategy ability that characters have been given. Each character has a Strategy fulfillment that, once accomplished in battle, will activate their strategy. These strategies can have various effects, such as increasing the power of your forces ranged weapons, or increasing the defense of the allied commander. Also new are Treasures, which seem to replace Personal Items from the first game. By completing certain tasks within stages, you can find treasures. Treasures allow you to further upgrade your characters and weapons with new effects and abilities.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a new installment in the Warriors franchise without, you guessed it, new characters. Warriors Orochi 2 adds roughly 15 new characters into the mix, adding in not only the new characters first featured in Samurai Warriors 2 XL, but also new characters unique to the Warriors Orochi series. So not only will you see characters like Toshiie Maeda, but you’ll also see brand new characters like Sun Wukong, Koei’s version of the character from Journey to the West, who was also the inspiration for Dragonball Z’s Goku. You’ll also see a new, more powerful version of the series’ villain, Orochi, now called Orochi X.
However, despite all these changes and additions, Warriors Orochi 2 doesn’t feel much like a true sequel. Instead, it feels more like the game the first one SHOULD have been. The first Warriors Orochi, while fun, was definitely very barebones, almost feeling like half a game. Warriors Orochi 2 could be looked upon as Warriors Orochi 1.5, in all honesty. But if you were a fan of the first game, or Warriors games in general, you really can’t go wrong with Warriors Orochi 2. There’s plenty of new content here for you to discover, and even better is the fact that the PS2 version of the game costs only $30. That’s right, Warriors Orochi 2 retails for less than the first game still sells for used. So really, if you’re looking to satisfy your urge to plow through countless enemy soldiers with historical figures, there’s no better way to do it than Warriors Orochi 2.