Sep 25, 2007

[Gaming] Warriors Orochi: First impressions

Got this game last Sunday. Warriors Orochi is the last major release of the Warriors series for PS2 (Samurai Warriors will have an expansion pack released next year, Samurai Warriors 2: Xtreme Legends), as Dynasty Warriors 6 is destined to PS3; it is only logical that Samurai Warriors 3 will be PS3-bound. Note that this is mere speculation, as Koei has not yet disclosed its plans for Samurai Warriors.

Will have a full review once I have completely grasped the game. I had only played it for three hours last Sunday.

First, a word of caution: I almost threw the game away. When played, the TV went bonkers, the screen kept on scrolling from top to bottom. Most probably a problem with NTSC frequency. Tested it on another TV, and I had the same problem. On the third TV (the TV downstairs), it was OK, except that there was a noticeable gap from the top of the TV screen with the top of the game screen, and some portions of the game screen was not visible. Yes, manual screen adjustment is clearly lacking for this game, which is unfortunate, since previous Warriors games have this feature. Also, Resident Evil 4 always starts with a prompt asking for the proper NTSC frequency. A lamentable lack of foresight for Omega Force.

With that caveat, on to game play.

You can either start in the Story Mode or Free Mode. The Story Mode has four scenarios: Shu, Wei, Wu, and Samurai Warriors. Each scenario has several required and optional stages. Clearly, the major departure from the series was the ability to select three characters as a team. For a two-player game, the first player and second player get to control the same set; that means it is possible to see two Zhao Yuns on the same scene. I feel this is a serious flaw in the game play, but it should not distract anyone from playing.

Another departure from the Warriors convention is the way you can level up the character and weapons. After every stage, you earn Growth Points (GP), which you can spend either on increasing a character's level or on weapons fusion. The character leveling is straightforward. The weapons fusion system needs elaboration. Note that when fusing weapons, if you want to retain a weapon's characteristics and add another weapon's, first select the weapon you want to retain, and then the second one. For example, if you want to fuse a Great Spear and a Dragon Spear, you will want to select the Dragon Spear first, it having a higher base attack.

There are 77 characters altogether for this game. Yes, that means a lot of power, speed, and technique combos. That should make for an interesting mix, and at the same time, give this game repeat playing time.

At a glance
Graphics: mixed. Some are shoddy, some are OK. The graphics for Samurai Warriors 2 were better.
Dialogue: distracting. Zhao Yun's voice lost the over-enthusiasm of the previous versions. Understandable, though, given the localization issues.
Soundtrack: good.
Gameplay: mixed. Putting aside the 2-player flaw stated above, game is enjoyable. Fans might like it.

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