Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate: More Than Meets The Eye

By Jack . September 14, 2014 . 5:00pm

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate takes me back to my days playing with action figures. A cool hero turning the tide of battle, lots of bad guys that all look the same because I kept reusing the same “bad guy” figure for all my villains, crazy crossovers between whatever franchises I had on hand, and all of this tied together by a completely nonsensical plot that sounds like something a little kid made up. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate embodies all of these things, and I sincerely mean that in the nicest possible way.


The most important thing to know about Warriors Orochi 3 Ulimate right off the bat is that it’s a crossover. Not just between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, but pretty much any Koei Tecmo franchise you can think of, including Ninja Gaiden and the Atelier series. Mix in a story about time travel and evil dragons and you’ve got a killer recipe for fanservice insanity and action scenes.


Having access to such a wide variety of franchises makes Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate feel more like a toy box than a coherent, stand-alone game. From Lu Bu to Ryu Hayabusa, trying all of the characters is one of the biggest highlights of the game. Everyone has their own unique weapons, attacks, and RPG-lite stats to keep track of, letting you build up your favorite hero as much as you’d like.


For every mission you can bring in a three-man team, utilizing any of the characters you’ve unlocked from the extensive cast. Having access to three characters at a time livens up the combat more than a typical Warriors game, allowing you to perform a wide variety of team-based attacks and strategies. You have tag combos, powerful team supers, and you can even unleash chaos but having all three members come out and fight at the same time.  The team mechanic makes for some really dynamic action and is easily my favorite combat system out of the games I’ve played.


Of course, if there’s one thing these Warriors games are infamous for, it’s that they get old. Depending on your tolerance for the gameplay, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate can last you somewhere between five weeks or five minutes. At the beginning of the game you will be clearing out hundreds of enemies and running to waypoints. Ten hours in, you will continue to be massacring swathes of enemies and running to waypoints.


Many of the maps try to shake things up by introducing death machines like catapults or objectives like protecting a certain character from dying. While executing some of the war tactics like flanking and distractions are interesting, at the end of the day you will be spending most of your time slashing up powerless wads of enemies. This would be fine if the combat in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate didn’t walk a very thin line between mindlessly easy and overly frustrating.


I just don’t like the brand of challenge Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate has to offer. Most of the enemy difficulty feels undeserved—the real enemies, not the clusters of soldiers you can kill in a swipe. Amid the mass of fodder there are powerful lieutenants that have lots of health, selectively react to your attacks, and have a tendency to juggle you into the air for ludicrous amounts of time. Usually, when I ran into trouble it felt like a level disparity requiring me to grind more rather than a legitimate test of skill or mechanics.


When enemies aren’t tearing you apart, they’re more likely to be terrorizing everyone else. One of the most common objectives involves babysitting your fellow generals when the game tells you they’re getting attacked. This isn’t in itself a horrible idea, but always comes with the caveat that you really need to step on it.


Quick reaction to the battlefield events can be an issue, as sometimes the map isn’t very clear where you’re supposed to go or how you can even reach certain areas. Oh no, you messed up saving one guy at the very end of a mission! There goes half an hour that you’ll never get back with absolutely nothing to show for it.


It’s a conundrum. You can adjust your difficulty whenever you’d like between missions, but they all seem to fall in extremes. There are clear attempts here to curb the monotony and engage the player more, but actually can end up making the game feel more like a chore. So what’s a Warriors game to do?


While not necessarily solving its core problems, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate does have some tricks up its sleeve. In addition to the main story mode (which has tons of missions, including close to an entire new game’s worth in this Ultimate edition) there are also three very distinct modes to keep your interest: Musou Field, Duel Mode, and Gauntlet Mode.


Musou Field essentially allows you to make custom levels, letting you to set up enemies, structures, and objectives within pre-made maps. Duel Mode turns things into a pseudo fighting game, where you set up three-on-three battles with an added spice of a deck-building mini game that allows you to activate special effects during battle. Gauntlet Mode expands your team to five people at a time while also sending you through a randomly generated battlefield that continues to become more dangerous as you progress.


All of these modes really push the toy box concept of Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate. Every mode allows for a staggering amount of customization, both in terms of your character and the unique systems each mode brings to the table. Most impressive is that they manage to rework all of the basic elements of the game into styles of play that end up feeling very different from the core game.


Maybe it’s just the power of the crossover, but I enjoy a lot of what Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate does. It’s far from perfect at its core, but it tries really hard to make the combat engaging, gives you a ton of options in weapons and characters, and then takes it all one step further with a plethora of modes to push its core concept as far as it can. If you have to play one Warriors game, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate should really be the one, because it’s close to a complete Warriors-themed toy box as you can get.


Food for Thought:


1. If you’ve already played the original PS3 version of the game, you can transfer your save to Ultimate on PS3 or PS4 via some save uploading shenanigans.


2. It doesn’t amount to much more than a fun detail, but I really liked how story missions would affect each other. In some missions a recruitable character will die, but if you complete a mission later in the game, you can, for example, take a catapult you found and go back to the earlier mission and save the guy from his untimely death. There are even smaller things like my troops in one mission getting a morale boost because they heard about one of my previous victories, too.


3. One of the quirks of the PS4 version is that your controller can talk to you. All of the character voices will come out of both the TV and your Dual Shock 4, which I imagine would be pretty neat if I understood what anyone was saying without reading the screen.


4. Sophitia from Soulcalibur is in this game, which is weird because she’s the only character from an outside company and I’m not really sure what her connection to this series is supposed to be.

  • ReidHershel

    “Sophitia from Soulcalibur is in this game, which is weird because she’s the only character from an outside company and I’m not really sure what her connection to this series is supposed to be.”

    Yeeeeeah, that, that was definitely a weird inclusion, but hey, Tecmo Koei.
    Overall, this game is actually amazing and probably the best Warriors game ever. The one thing that Omega Force knows better than other developers is to get better over time.

    • Warboss Aohd

      Zasalamel would have made more sense since he himself is an Immortal and would fit in with the Mystics.

      • FivePointedTheStar

        Zasalamel can’t do fan service like Sophitia can.

        • Warboss Aohd

          that makes him an even better candidate.

        • I dunno bout that. Zasalamel is a sexy chocolate man.. No homo…

  • Pandakids09 .

    Does any how the Vita version is? played dynasty warriors 8 xtreme legends and it was horrible

    • Juan Manuel M. Suárez

      I was wondering the same too. I heard DW8 got patched but never read if it was any better or not. I’m wondering how this game plays on the PSV since it appeared on the PSN last Tuesday~.

      • Kornelious

        It’s actually pretty good. Of course the graphics are downgraded but the sound problems that plagued DW8 aren’t present. The only thing that annoys me is using the back-touch pad to change characters….Other than that it’s pretty good :)

        • Aesma

          …y’know, you can change that in the button configuration option… Change the switch character from back-touch pad into touchscreen.

        • Pandakids09 .

          Yeah the sound on DW8 was terrible and also seemed kind of laggy. Wish they would have made physical copies cuz I really don’t want to drop 40 dollars on a digital

  • Lloyd Christmas

    Can you make your own custom character in this one, or am I confusing it with Samurai Warriors 4?

    • Revyatheworldeater .

      No custom characters but the size of the cast is enormous.

    • Ixbran

      there is a cast of over 140 playable characters. as awesome as an edit mode would be, its not needed.

      though interesting point, once you beat the game, you unlock a color edit mode, so you can edit the color of every characters costumes. Including hair and skin color as well.

  • Kornelious

    Warriors Orochi 3 is surprisingly tons of fun for me! i got it when it came out about a week or two ago but didn’t start playing it until a few days ago….And haven’t dropped it since……I’ve been putting off playing Tales of Xillia 2, and even bought the Vita version to get more hours in! :D

    A few things annoyed me at first, like having only 3 characters available at first causing me to have to pull an all nighter to get the characters I wanted :P and forming bonds between random characters to unlock stages that unlock more characters that need more bonding was quite annoying, But once i got my team I was set!

    My team is Lu Xun, Sterk, and Ranmaru Mori (A nice little mix of all the series) and have been having tons of fun since I got em……Duel mode is tons of fun, Gantlet mode is interesting, and I haven’t messed with battlefields yet, I agree with some of the babysitting issues and such, but you just gotta enjoy the action to enjoy the game so I got into it!

    It’s definitely not for everyone, but it’s for me, and now I can’t wait for Samurai Warriors 4, Chronicles 3, and Dynasty Warriors 8 Empiers :D

  • Kango234

    Could I play this if I’ve never played any warriors game at all, and is this the best one to start with?

    • Souffrir

      Warriors Orochi 3 vanilla is my first (and so far, only) Warriors/Musou game, and it seemed like a perfectly serviceable starting point.

      I don’t think there’s any more than the most tenuous of connections even between this and, say, Warriors Orochi 2, let alone the other Musou games.

      • Kango234


    • Yan Zhao

      As far as gameplay goes, this is a very good place to start with. But if you arent familiar with stories and events from Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, especially the character relations, you will miss out on some great refrences within the interactions among the cast, such as former rivals finally being able to work together, enemies having to put up with each other e.t.c because they are all fighting on the same side.

  • FivePointedTheStar

    “1. If you’ve already played the original PS3 version of the game, you can transfer your save to Ultimate on PS3 or PS4 via some save uploading shenanigans.”


  • Rentekabond

    If only the game was in English, I’d’ve probably been glad to double dip on it. Being Sub Only killed the first Orochi 3 for me.

  • Last Star

    The frame rate problem is still pretty bad for the PS4 version. I was hoping that rather than adding more enemies on screen, they could concentrate on smoothing out the frame rate so the game runs like DW8+XL PS4, but nope…

  • Aesma

    ‘have a tendency to juggle you into the air for ludicrous amounts of time.’

    …you can just press R1 (Or R in Vita) while being in the air, uses up your musou gauge a bit but allows you to use their special attack. While doing so, you are invincible for a moment (Except Kyuubi, that vixen’s special attack is making herself invincible for… 10 seconds, I think?). Anyway, the point is, using R1 in right moment can get you out of the enemy’s juggling.

  • NeoStrayCat

    “More than meets the Eye”, huh, there’s no “Transformers” in this article. >_>

    On Topic, the “Warriors” series is still good though, despite many versions, sequels, spin-offs, and the like.

  • TrannyMagic

    just started this game yesterday for xbox one. I was pleasantly surprised how engaged I was from the first mission since I kind of gave up on DW/SW series all together. Been playing it most of my free time cuz’ I feel compelled to get every frak’n character, even though I know I’m only going to be using the ladies. argh, cruel world.

  • fairysun

    This is probably one of the best game PS3 has to offer (for me, at least). I spent hundreds of hours playing the original WO3. Not sure how many hours for this one.

    • Ixbran

      When playing the original version of WO3, I maxed out the game play timer at 999:99:59. I intend to do the same with WO3U.

  • Yan Zhao

    Sophitia’s connection to the series can be summed up in 2 words: GIANT BOOBS.

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