Apr 2, 2014

[Games] Warriors Orochi 3 (PS3)

I know I don't post as many PS3 game reviews on this blog, which is funny given how many games we have at home. I suppose we just end up being too busy playing sad games, thus I end up forgetting to review them entirely. And I say "we" since I've already established that Tobie and I are major junkies for local co-op games as opposed to relying on online network players. Let's face it, if you and your partner live together, who else would you choose to play console games with, right?

And there are few companies that satisfy our button-mashing local co-op needs quite like Koei and it's various games. Case in point is Warriors Orochi 3, the craziest of their franchises that combines their Dynasty Warriors characters together with their Samurai Warriors characters in a story that never really makes sense. But that doesn't really matter since you're not exactly to learn history - you're here to kill hordes and hordes of enemies!

Warriors Orochi 3 is the latest in game in the franchise and the first to be released on the PS3. Given the release of the PS4, it will probably be the last one as well. It was developed by Tecmo Koei and Omega Force. It takes place after the events of Warriors Orochi 2.

I won't really get into the story too deeply - but at least there is one. The game still takes place in the weird alternate word that combines Three Kingdoms China and Sengoku era Japan into one land. Orochi is finally dead but now a massive Hydra has appeared and has killed scores of warriors. The only survivors are Ma Chao, Sima Zhao and Hanbei Takenaka, who are rescued by the Moon Princess Kaguya. She uses her magic to send the heroes back in time to try and save their comrades and stop the Hydra.

Given the game marries two different game franchises with slightly different move sets, it's interesting how they opted to have the characters follow their respective gameplay styles from their individual games. Thus the Dynasty Warriors characters more or less follow the Dynasty Warriors 7 system (a game I've played but never reviewed here for some reason) while the Samurai Warriors characters roughly follow Samurai Warriors 3. Some compromises were made to blend the game a bit more, but it does make for an interesting mix.

The most innovative feature of this installment of the franchise has to be the Switch Combo option, which allows you to shift between your three selected characters at any time - including in the middle of an attack. Thus as the new player rotates in, he gets to continue the combo chain that you had started before the switch. It plays sort of like the Marvel vs Capcom games in that respect, including a massive combination attack that involves all three of your characters.

Characters are still classified into different types that sort of cover their combat style. You have Power, Speed, Technique, and a new classification called Wonder (which seems to cover more of the magical characters, but that's just my impression). Thus it sort of helps to balance out your three-character team with a mix of different character types. And with practically 150 characters in the game, there are a lot of crazy combinations for you to try.

The game again relies a little heavily on the weapons for character advancement, both through finding better quality weapons and gaining greater proficiency with a particular weapons more battles are waged. A lot of characters share fundamental weapon types at first but as you get higher there will be specialization. There are attributes that can be added to the weapon by combining different weapons together to create one with all the said properties. This helps increase your attack range or adds elemental damage, for example.

On the whole, it's a game with a nice mix of complexity and diversity with a lot of gameplay in it. The time travel element that you'll end up playing stages where a named character inevitably dies but you'll replay later in order to save him this time around. This happens over and over and over - I enjoyed it, but not everyone might.

Warriors Orochi 3 is a great celebration of the Warriors game franchises all in one weird and crazy universe. Just roll with it people - these games are meant for mindless stress relief and not necessarily a though-provoking story. As a whole I give the game 4.5 added dialog as bonds between characters increase out of a possible 5.

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