Warriors Orochi 3 is to put it into simple terms: Tecmo Koei’s Hack and Slash Smash Bros. Originally a mix of Dynasty Warriors with Samurai Warriors Elements and taking characters from both games, the series has branched out to taking characters from the entirety of Tecmo Koei’s history. The game is a hack and slash game created by Omega Force, mainly known for their Dynasty Warriors series. What makes it different to Dynasty Warriors? You control a team of three characters who you have full control to switch between at any time, characters are organised into four types “Power, Speed, Wisdom and Technique” that allow you to pick a character based on their skills instead of just their look.
What makes Warriors Orochi 3 different from it’s past games? You now have three brand new abilities brought into the mix: Triple Team Attack that allows you to automatically kill all enemies that you can hit in a short time span and reap the rewards. Along with the ability to bring in a team mate to knock back an enemy if you’re under attack, a feature that you will take for granted but can actually save you in a wide range of situations. The third feature which is the most surprising is the introduction of an R1 attack, this ability takes up a small amount of the Musou (Special) gauge and unleashes a deadly, quick and powerful attack that causes some serious damage.
Back to the basics, the main focus of the Warriors’ series are to hack and slash hundreds of foes as you capture enemy bases and go forward in completing objectives such as defeating enemy officers, defending an ally officer or escorting an NPC. The game has a combo system that is simple yet rewarding, you have 5 levels of attack using Square/X that can be expanded into a longer combo by using triangle. This, combined with the addition of an R1 attack and the Musou Gauge (Circle, special move) makes the game simple to pick up, but hard to put down.
Moving on to the amount of characters, there are over 120 characters in the game, all unlockable after fulfilling certain requirements. Some characters are unlocked by going back to do ‘Redux’ versions of stages you have already done, others, such as Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, have their own dedicated stages to play.
Story mode, the main focus here, starts you out with just three characters as you travel through time to save characters from the past so that you can build up enough of an army to take down the Hydra which wiped everything out of the Demon Realm. Warriors Orochi 3 includes a recap for the other two games if you haven’t played them. The storyline is not too forced upon the player, it’s a lot less structured than Dynasty Warriors but it does it’s job in having it’s moments, having great introductions and conversations with many of the series’ characters. I’m not going to spoil much, but there’s a cutscene where Lu Bu finally is provided with a decent challenge by a brand new character in the cast.
One disappointment, however, is the lack of an English dub. Following Dynasty Warriors 7’s excellent localization improvements such as fully English lipsynced cutscenes, it is pretty disappointing to be playing the game in full Japanese.
The game’s soundtrack is what you can expect from any Orochi game, a mix between the Techno sound of Samurai Warriors and the Hard Rock guitar sound of Dynasty Warriors, a mix that works surprisingly well and leads to it having one of the best soundtracks, in my books.
New to the introduction of the Orochi series is a feature which debuted in the Conquest mode of Dynasty Warriors 7: Online Co-op, the entire game is playable in splitscreen and online co-op with two people. I’ve tried out co-op and I can say that the netcode is stable and easily playable with friends but could be improved to make it easier to group with randoms. A disappointing part of only online co-op and not splitscreen is that you both have to go through the level before playing it online.
Warriors Orochi 3 is completely packed with content for fans, easily allowing people to play for hundreds of hours. This isn’t going to turn any haters of the series into lovers but if you have ever been interested in the series, Warriors Orochi 3 is easily the best that has been released, improving on the formula of the game by even beating my own expectations. I started playing the game with neutral expectations as I didn’t want to be biased in any way, but even after playing a small amount of the game I was already extremely impressed by how well Omega Force have made this game.
While Warriors Orochi 3 isn’t going to win any awards for it’s originality, it already has a cult following of dedicated fans and it shows, this game is easily one of the best in the Warriors series, Omega Force have expanded on a concept that worked and pushed it to a new level.