Dynasty Warriors 9 review

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Joel Fulleda
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We returned to China among the warlords.

Mousou is not a genre that is always understood: developed in the East, it needed a much longer adaptation time than RPGs, and failed to build a stable fan base as much as the latter.


Although, of course, there have been episodes of great importance and undoubted videogame value. Let's take the Dynasty Warriors, to stay themed. They have launched a real genre and have managed to land several times even in the West.


Dynasty Warriors in particular is an essential point of reference, as are the skilled developers of Omega Force. Let's talk about the guys who have made respectable licensed titles over the years: Hyrule Warriors, Attack on Titan, One Piece: Pirate Warriors (the whole series), and finally Fire Emblem Warriors, released last fall on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS.

Dynasty Warriors 9 wants to be a bit of a summa of the genre, made by the creators who launched it around the world; at the same time, it is almost as if it were the litmus test to see if there really is hope for the future, even outside the classic niche of fans. How did it go? We tell you today with our review.


The Warlords

Dynasty Warriors, although it now has eight titles in the main series plus the necessary spin offs behind it, it is certainly not known to vary its context in an exceptional way. We therefore find ourselves, once again, in China. It is the XNUMXnd century AD and we are in full civil war: the population is harassed by warlords, that collide to conquer absolute domination over the entire Chinese territory. The narrative follows the probably historical trend inaugurated by the Novel of the Three Kingdoms, for a total of thirteen chapters.


In this way, it is not simply a matter of following the events of the faction chosen by the player, but of paying attention more generally to the entire context of the world told, to then focus on the details of our choice. The interludes narrated, before, during and after the chapters, are the masters, thus favoring the immersion offered by Dynasty Warriors 9. Once you have completed Story Mode at least once, with any faction, Free Mode will be unlocked.

The new way

Dynasty Warriors 9, we said at the beginning, it is Koei Tecmo and Omega Force's bridge to the future. And the future, in video games, inevitably materializes with an ever greater freedom attributed to the player. The first symptom of change is the total abandonment of the level structure of Dynasty Warriors 8 (that of the battles), for each campaign of the story mode. Instead, we find ourselves in a freely explorable way, similar to the open world.


The game missions are divided into main and secondary, scattered a bit 'everywhere for an immense game map. But it doesn't mean that there are no more battles: they just come back in a new guise, divided according to the type of missions. Approaching them we will notice the enemy army: it is up to us to decide how to make the approach, whether to take the risk in case of inferiority or to opt for the complete assault in case of numerical superiority.


However, Dynasty Warriors 9 is not just war, but also offers a certain series of more or less funny jokes, and all with their own game utility. We move from hunting missions, to fishing, to the collection of certain materials, which we can then use at merchants and blacksmiths to make consumables, or accessories and even weapons.


Warriors level up, upgrade and get Improvement Points, which we can invest to unlock new features or upgrade existing ones, based on our style of play of course. Still on the subject of immersion (and game variety) it must also be said that we appreciated the day / night cycle and that of atmospheric agents, which also affect the clashes and increase the difficulty of some missions.


The attempt is therefore evident Koei Tecmo to move towards much more open-world dynamics and functionality than in the past. However, from the point of view of fighting for their own sake, very little has changed: the mechanics that push all the available keys to a little bit have been re-proposed, often at random, to overcome even the most agitated situations. In reality there are also few stimuli that lead to neglect the main missions to devote oneself to the secondary ones, since almost all of them are animated by a certain basic repetition.

It went less well on the graphic and technical front: we expect innovation at the same time as technological updating, but Dynasty Warriors 9 it remains too often anchored to the possibilities of the last generation. So here we are grappling with woody animations, lots of enemies on the screen that all behave the same way, a discreet but extremely repetitive soundtrack, because it consists of a very limited number of songs.

Not to mention, from time to time, moments in which the protagonists' voices simply disappear, just as sometimes entire armies of Chinese soldiers suddenly appear (or disappear) on the battlefield.

Overall, however, we don't feel like treating Dynasty Warriors 9 too badly, because for long hours and gaming sessions he still managed to entertain us (after all, a video game has to do this, right?). What's more, he never wanted to hide his flaws, even if of course the production focused the attempt to catalyze the player's attention on the most important news for the series.

Final Comment

Dynasty Warriors 9 ushers in an (almost) completely new direction for the series. While it is still early to see where it will take us in the next few years, we have enjoyed almost all of the new additions to the title, and also the new look that the Koei Tecmo and Omega Force series are starting to take. If only it could also update itself graphically, and propose a graphic and technical sector worthy of the name, it could aspire to much higher marks. He remains an excellent exponent of the genre, which will delight all fans.



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