By Jenni . April 4, 2012 . 2:32pm
Tecmo Koei’s Warriors series often sticks to what it knows. While the stories and character rosters may change, the gameplay is steadfast and always involves a single character beating his or her way through hundreds of enemy troops. Warriors Orochi 3 lets you do this with a massive character roster covering both Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, multiple guest characters, and customizable missions.
Warriors Orochi 3 is set in an alternate universe where the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors‘ timelines/worlds have fused together due to the forces of Orochi. Things seemed rather quiet and everyone was adapting until the Hydra arrived. New legions of demons came with it, resulting in many areas being destroyed and most of the strongest warriors either killed or brainwashed into fighting their allies.
The beginning is practically the end. Sima Zhao, Hanbei Takenaka and Ma Chao are the last remaining warriors in the world. Hanbei suggests they launch one last offensive against the Hydra. It doesn’t go well. Even after reaching ballistas, their attacks do no damage to the powerful Hydra and they’re overwhelmed by the demon army. That’s when a goddess character named Kaguya appears to rescue the three. She reveals that she possesses the ability to travel through time and together, the three of them can rescue those who were lost in Orochi’s attack and save them, bringing together a massive army to face the Hydra and ultimately save the day.
If you’ve played any Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors games before, you’ll be comfortable jumping right into Warriors Orochi 3. Each mission has a 60 minute time limit and drops your team of three warriors onto a battle field. In addition to supplemental missions that can be accepted for certain characters, along the lines of defeating X number of officers and Y number of soldiers in Z amount of time with Q amount of health, there’s an overall goal for each level. Typically, it’s defeating the enemy commander and sometimes it’s helping other people escape. As you fight through a level, different mission objectives will pop up. Achieving them boosts morale, making your army stronger and your opponents weaker. If you miss one of these notifications, odds are all you’ll have to do is take out the big red circles on the map (enemy commanders) while keeping big blue circles (important allies) alive. One of the biggest changes is the ability to have a second player join in for local coop during missions.
Fundamentally, this is your basic hack-and-slash. If you button mash you way through, tapping square and maybe occasionally the triangle or L1 button, you’ll be fine. If you get cornered, you can tap L2 or R2 to have a teammate perform aquick attack. You can also tap those buttons to switch between teammates. It’s all very simple and I can’t imagine anyone having too much trouble playing. Sometimes you do have to pay really close attention to prevent an enemy from escaping or to keep an ally alive, but it’s mostly a cathartic kind of game where you prove your strength by assaulting the square button. If you feel like boosting your team’s bonds or dealing impressive damage to a group, the R2 and L2 buttons can be held down when the Musou gauge is full to unleash a True Triple Attack.
If you do have trouble with Warriors Orochi 3, there are plenty of ways to make things easier on yourself. Defeating missions earns Growth Points, which can be distributed to level up characters. It’s a good way to strengthen characters you don’t use that often. Believe me when I say you’ll need these, as with 130 characters you probably won’t have time or the desire to use all of them. You also accumulate gems, which can be spent on new weapons or on fusing earned weapons together to make them stronger. Building characters’ bonds also seems to help make them stronger in combat, so perhaps save some gems for parties.
Yes, Warriors Orochi 3 has parties. The characters have bonds with other characters and strengthening them can lead to new dialogues, cutscenes or stages. For example, Ginchiyo Tachibana, Xiaoqiao and Sun Shangxiang are one of the first groups where a second tier bond with all three of the characters together and unlock a new stage. In previous missions, Ginchiyo mentions she’s looking for her husband, saying stuff like he’s too stubborn or foolish to die. Build the bond and then the three characters can talk in the camp and unlock a new mission where Muneshige Tachibana can be recruited. While you can boost the bond by having them team up together, it’s easier to just throw banquets and send them off as a team when a players have to boost them up to the next friendship level.
Actually, the idea of bonds helps illustrate how easy it is to get attached to characters in Warriors Orochi 3, despite there being so many of them. Even though many don’t get a tremendous amount of lines, it’s still fairly easy to see personalities shine through and develop favorites. The camp area is a good example. You can choose which character you have walking around the camp. Depending on who you’re controlling, different characters will be hanging out and you’ll see different conversations. This means you actually benefit and get more out of the game if you choose to keep switching characters. Building bonds also leads to more enlightening conversations in the main game. There are even event scenes in some battles that allowing certain characters a moment in the spotlight.
Warriors Orochi 3 isn’t just about the Story Mode though. There is also a Free Play mode for general play, online cooperative play (good luck trying to find a mission – I didn’t) and the Musou Battlefield which lets you create your own scenarios that can be shared with other players online. You take a battlefield you’ve cleared, choose which characters appear and even change what you say. You then upload it and share it with others. It’s a nice way to add replay value to the game. There aren’t tons of scenarios available yet, but if other players keep supporting this feature then I think it may keep the game relevant for a while. You even get rewarded with crystals for playing and rating other peoples’ scenarios. The only downside is you get 50 edit points for a stage and can’t write a custom script, so you’re limited as to how much can really be changed. I wish you could have written your own lines for characters, because I really wanted to do a “Night of the Living Sumo” map with (zombie) sumo warriors attacking players.
There was honestly only one thing I didn’t like about the single player experience and it’s really a very minor quibble. Warriors Orochi 3 only has Japanese voice acting. That’s not what bothers me, as the Japanese voice actors are amazing and I doubt Tecmo Koei could have done a good dub with the number of characters they’d have had to provide voices for. It just makes it really difficult to pick out what mission objectives come up during a mission. The characters will say it and it will appear in a text box, but I have to admit that sometimes I’d get so caught up in the general hacking/slashing moments that I just wouldn’t pay attention to what a box had said or been listening close enough attention to understand what I’d just heard. Granted, highlighted areas will flash on the mini-map in the upper right corner so you can generally figure out what you’re supposed to do. In most cases, you’ll be fine so long as you try to wipe out the big-red-dot generals or run towards the flashing circle.
I’m genuinely disappointed Warriors Orochi 3 didn’t get released both digitally and on a disc for the PS3. It follows the same Warriors formula, sure, but it’s honestly the best Samurai/Dynasty/Orochi game I’ve ever played, and I worry that this means fewer people will be willing to clear out their hard drives and make room for it. There’s just so much to do and it provides such a wonderful single player experience that I could see it keeping a player busy for weeks as they try to unlock every character and boost all relationships.
Food for Thought
1.Good luck trying to find someone to play online with. I’ve been trying for two weeks and haven’t found a match.
2. It’s an 11GB game, so make sure you have 22GB of space available before you start downloading. It took me 14 hours to download it, and I have a 15mbps internet connection. Thanks PlayStation Store!
3. Save your gems for banquets and weapon fusions. You’ll be able to get enough weapons from playing and replaying levels or acquiring lottery tickets.
4. Always go for the more expensive banquet. The relationship boost is always worth it.
5. Each time a character is recruited, a wallpaper is unlocked. You can also unlock extra costumes for each character to change their appearance.
6. Ayane (Dead or Alive), Ryu Hayabusa (Ninja Gaiden), Nemea (Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll), Achilles (Warriors: Legends of Troy) and Joan of Arc (Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War) are the guest characters and you’ll get pretty much all of them on your side before Chapter 2 ends.