Viewing posts tagged Dynasty Warriors

Thoughts on Dynasty Warriors 9: The Blue Dragon

In order to understand what Dynasty Warriors is really trying to tell us, let's first get back to basics. Why is a video game series adapting the history of the Three Kingdoms, and Romance of the Three Kingdoms in particular, called musō (“unrivaled”) in the first place, and why would this be the game to pioneer “1 vs. 1000” combat mechanic it is so (in)famous for?
 
The mascot character for Dynasty Warriors has always been Zhao Yun, and I do not believe this is either accidental or arbitrary. Zhao Yun is known as one of the Five Tiger Generals, who were famed as the most loyal and revered generals of Shu. It is Shu's emperor, Liu Bei, who is generally considered to be the actual protagonist of Romance of the Three Kingdoms (if you had to pick one) at it's his exploits and deeds that are depicted in the most positive and sympathetic light. However while Liu Bei is certainly not a supporting character in Dynasty Warriors (especially if you choose to play as him), it's Zhao Yun who appears on the box art of all the mainline entries and who is oftentimes used ...

Thoughts on Dynasty Warriors 9: Flavours of Musō

Each numbered Dynasty Warriors installment comes in a set of three games. This is also true of Samurai Warriors, and the collaboration games (Gundam Musō, One Piece Pirate Warriors, Hyrule Warriors, etc.) will often have a variation of it. The three versions of Dynasty Warriors are as follows:

The Base Game (e.g. Shin Sangoku Musō 7/Dynasty Warriors 8)

These are the core numbered releases, and the ones that tend to see all the major changes. They will often appear at the start of a new hardware cycle to take advantage of graphical and processing enhancements made since the last main entry, will offer significant gameplay changes (while the base combat of course always remains comparable, things like modes, story progression, RPG elements and other features can and do change quite frequently and dramatically). This is when the vast majority of new characters will be introduced and existing characters will be completely redesigned from the ground up, oftentimes both aesthetically and mechanically. Some characters will lose former signature weapons and gain new ones (or in the case of Dynasty Warriors 9, get shifted into a different weapon class).
 
You might see new areas of China rendered and new ...

Thoughts on Dynasty Warriors 9: Records of War

The latest entry in my favourite video game series is out this week in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea and will release in the United States and Europe next week. And I won't be buying it, at least not yet. Allow me to elabourate.
 
Some might say my taste is suspect for picking Dynasty Warriors as my favourite video game series, but that would be saying nothing as my taste has *always* been suspect. Furthermore, I believe Dynasty Warriors, and the larger musō genre it gave birth to, is frequently misunderstood and sadly underrated outside its core fanbase (at least in the West). It is a deceptively accessible series with what I find to be a profound amount of hidden depth and meaning at both a mechanical and symbolic level. Furthermore, at the stage of life I am now at, Dynasty Warriors and its ilk are basically everything I'm looking for in a video game. Consider this series, written in honour of the release of Shin Sangoku Musō 8/Dynasty Warriors 9, an attempt at putting some of that right...And perhaps explaining myself.
 
While a major series in the East, Dynasty Warriors has an unpleasant ...

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