Review: Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends (PS3)

Dynasty Warriors is an intriguing videogame series. I somehow don’t see ancient Chinese history and a story-driven hack-and-slash adventure play well, but its popularity on the Japanese market can’t be wrong, right?

To those unfamiliar to the franchise, Dynasty Warriors is a hack-and-slash game that takes its story from the historic battles of Ancient China. Its seventh incarnation saw new special attacks, in-battle character and weapons customisation as well as the addition of the Jin kingdom.

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends is the standalone expansion to the Western release of Shin Sangoku Musou 6. It doesn’t contain the original modes included in the Dynasty Warriors 7 base game, such as Story and Conquest, but instead, adds two new modes to play with, namely Legend Mode and Challenge Mode.

Legend mode puts players in charge of a desolate village and must complete the various battles in order to win the hearts of the villagers back to the village. Once on the battlefield, players are given tasks to fulfil, such as the protection of an Emperor on the move or the requirement to defeat a certain warlord. There are also classic levels from previous Dynasty Warriors titles remade for DW7.

For the most part, the battle is essentially the same, and the controls are pretty straightforward. Your screen can be plagued with over 50-70 soldiers at any one time and are usually there for you to mow down like grass with your mighty sword. Defeating these soldiers will build your Musou gauge and prime you for a more devastating special attack, which you can then use to knock down your stronger “named” opponents, which you will need to do to progress in some stages. Fulfiling the ultimate objective of the level ends the battle. There are better challenges and rewards when you ramp up the difficulty from “Beginner” to “Nightmare”.

Unlike the original Story mode, players can control of any of the game’s characters and the ability to switch to anyone else outside of battle. This can be confusing for players without the original game, as it overrides the actual character involved in the current plot. For example, playing as Cao Cao in the earlier stages saw myself having to defeat my own allies and eventually a copy of myself while fighting alongside the enemy that I defeated during an earlier stage.

Challenge mode tests the player’s abilities through its sub-modes, like defeating as many enemies as they can or defeating stronger enemies in an endurance course. Scores and kills are racked up onto the online leaderboard. It can get pretty daunting but it’s not called Challenge mode for nothing.

The ally AI is generally competent in helping you drop enemies but don’t rely on them too much. Enemies can get tougher to defeat on higher difficulty. The amount of enemies on screen does no detriment to graphic speed or quality and gameplay is generally smooth with a detailed map on the screen.

But the ever-helpful map as well as the slightly plump bar that holds the subtitles can be distracting considering the amount of space it takes on the screen. Unless you’re really confident of the landscape or can bear with the English voice work, you can turn these off. Yes, the game does do well in voicing. All of the characters and narration are voiced in the game in English and in Japanese. Your player character also has a catchphrase he or she utters with every victorious knocking out of the enemy, and that will get old pretty quick.

Save data from Dynasty Warriors 7 can also be used to and unlock Story and Conquest mode for the Remix mode, as well as porting over the player’s current points and skills. The Xtreme Legends expansion adds local co-op to the game for up to two players on Legend mode as well as the Story mode when unlocked with the base game.

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends is a competent hack-and-slash game but it nearly falls over on its somewhat repetitive battle gameplay. It’s also probably not for everyone, especially if you want nothing to do with ancient Chinese History. It’s alright on its own, and it improves the experience on the base game, especially if you already have it.

Graphics 8.0
An entire fleet of 50 soldiers can overrun the screen with no visible lag, coupled with pretty fluid fight animation.
Sound 7.0
A hard rock soundtrack may seem inappropriate, but it actually works to bring you to the action.
Gameplay 5.0
Battles can get repetitive in Legend Mode with its rinse-and-repeat formula.
Lasting Appeal 7.0
There’s plenty of weapons to purchase and the action continues when coupled with the Dynasty Warriors 7 base game.
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Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends is a Koei game developed by Omega Force, exclusively for the PlayStation 3. Remix Mode was not tested.