Warriors Orochi 4 takes the series up a notch by increasing the number of characters, which frankly we all expect from an installment in the franchise. Each Musou game is about kicking things up a notch, and increasing the number of playable characters is a good way to do so. But here, one of the biggest draws is to call upon the powers of the gods, either by fighting alongside gods, becoming gods, or eventually even having gods join your party.
For those just tuning in to Warriors Orochi with this fourth installment, these games make the impossible possible. Characters from Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors converge. Warriors Orochi 3 had cameo characters like Sophitia Alexandra from Soulcalibur and Kasumi from Dead or Alive. Orochi, the series’ titular antagonist, is a supernatural and immortal serpant king. We constantly see supernatural characters from the mystic realm, who are immortal mystics like Susano’o, Nezha, Nuwa, and Da Ji. Suffice to say, suddenly popping in gods like Athena and Ares almost seems normal. Like, why haven’t deities appeared before, consider this is an anything goes situation and mystical realms that aren’t the Earth we are familiar with are involved?
The story goes with it and implements it in a way that makes sense. Many myths involving gods from different pantheons involves the deities using humans as pawns or toys. When the divine Ouroboros bracelets are introduced and Perseus tells our rebel force that Zeus had a plan to screw around with people by using them, it was no surprise. The second I heard the demigod tell us the situation, I thought, “That is totally something Zeus would do.” After all, this is the Greek god that cheated on his wife, did terrible things to women he desired, and condemned Prometheus to eternal torture for giving humans fire. Perseus, a demigod, took the bracelets away so the gods could abuse them. Some characters get them and acquire a nifty deification form, and gods like Athena and Ares appear to try and get them back. It is as good an excuse as any to help drive a plot.
The problem is, Warriors Orochi 4 locks these gods away. Spoilers aside, let’s just say that people are going to need to actually beat the campaign to unlock all of the gods, and they won’t even get to fight one for the first time until the end of the second chapter. But on the plus side, we get a taste of the idea of using deities with deification. This is the gameplay element that allows mortal legends who connect with one of the Ouroboros bracelets to tap into the power of a god. The first ones we see are antagonists like Nobunaga and Lu Bu, who make good use of deification to become stronger in battle.
But eventually, the first bracelet we find resonates with Naotora Ii and gives her the power of Aphrodite. When it is possible to perform a Rage Attack, characters with one of these bracelets can transform and gain access to a new form, new attacks, and unlimited magic power. While actual gods are not easy to come across, Warriors Orochi 4 doles out deified characters rather quickly. Not long after, Yukimura Sanada gains the power of Tyr, a fiery war god, and we end up coming across allies who have already acquired bracelets of their own. When this does happen, it feels fitting. The characters getting this honor are ones who are among the most popular Musou heroes. They are already legends in their own right and conquering battlefields near singlehandedly in these games. A little extra oomph makes sense. There are even missions where these characters will be in their deity forms, which lets you benefit from their newfound strength even if you prefer using a different character. (Daqiao is the best.)
Warriors Orochi 4 handles the inclusion of gods well, as people might expect. The supernatural characters fit well alongside the legendary warriors and existing Mystics. The story presents their appearance in a way that the actions of Zeus and the gods seem very plausible and tie in well to what we know about this series. Sure, we don’t actually get to use them for a while, but getting to use temporarily more powerful versions of existing characters adds an interesting element and gives us a taste of being even more like warrior gods while on the field.
Warriors Orochi 4 is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.