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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dynasty War

The Girl and I have been playing Dynasty Warriors 5 ... which is pretty much self-confirming that we are fans of the series. I'm not even sure why we're such fans since we've never gone to the lengths of trying to hunt down every weapon and herbal bag in the series. 5 removes two things I really liked about previous incarnations ... one being the Japanese voice acting to mask the truly god awful English ones. This was actually almost a deal breaker for us, because there is a lot of talking in Dynastry Warrriors. You kill a general, or get 100 kills, or walk across a bridge or finish a level ... seems like someone is always announcing something. The second is the Create An Officer, which I have no idea why they removed.

Still, the series manages to do what it does well. It's all about charging hoardes of poorly trained, slow to react soldiers with your musou dripping superhero, taking on the occasional general to make things interesting. It's buttonmashing refined as Koei has listened to complaints about archers, jumping attacks, combos, etc. to really fine tune your mindless experience.

The one thing I wish Koei would do is make a version of this game divorced from their beloved characters and their wife-swapping, backstabbing, egomaniacal ways. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms would be hard enough to follow in book form and it really doesn't always translate well to game cinematics (especially with horrid voices).

Just make a version where the player creates a soldier, picks an army and slowly moves up in the ranks. As the player gets more powerful, they could start to take part in strategy talks (if they wanted) until they grew into the hero of the battlefield. It would be cheaper to produce (fewer cutscenes and voice work), it would have more replay (as different kinds of soldiers for different armies) and the campaigns could be much longer (since they wouldn't be tied to a specific story).

Koei has tried to branch out with Dynasty Warriors in the past, without much success. It's a shame because there's some great core gameplay being buried by someone else's historical fiction.

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