- Platform: PS4/PSVita
- Published By: Tecmo Koei
- Developed By: Omega Force
- Genre: Action, Hack-and-Slash
- ESRB Rating: T for Teen
- Number of Players: 1-2 Co-op, 1-2 Multiplayer
- Release Date: March 25, 2014
Released out west in July of last year, Dynasty Warriors 8 on PlayStation 3 emerged as the definitive game of the long-running hack-and-slash action series. Having played several games in the Dynasty Warriors series, especially this eighth installment, I can confidently say that the title surpassed its predecessors in terms of content and refined gameplay, the two usual focal points of the series. Now debuting on the PlayStation 4 (and PlayStation Vita), Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition seeks to further refine the Dynasty Warriors experience. Coming packed with the original game and the Xtreme Legends expansion pack, this edition of the game aims to refine the core experience while delivering even more new content, and, ultimately, it succeeds.
This version of the game, for the most part, carries over most of the original PlayStation 3 entry. The story mode focuses on a war for the control of China in which the player takes on the roles of various factions throughout the different campaigns. Each campaign consists of many hack-and-slash battles between the player, controlling one of many characters from one of the factions, and an incredible amount of enemy soldiers. The game takes a charmingly simple two-button approach to its combat system, and it’s up to the player to combine his or her strikes for the most effective combo attack. While the attacks themselves can take down enemies, the player also has to keep track of the exciting Musou and Rampage bars, which, when filled after successful combos, can unleash powerful special attacks on the opponent and allow for a period of increased speed/strength, respectively. When the player faces one of the games many bosses, though, it’s also necessary to take advantage of the game’s ability to switch back-and-forth between two weapons. These bosses have varying advantages or disadvantages in relation to the player, so finding the best weapon to finish off the job is must. Master these strategies, and you’ll be well on your way to defeating the opposing factions and winning all the enticing skill upgrades, weapons, and experience points that you can handle. This, of course, works rather well, given the game’s overwhelming roster of 80+ characters.
While Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition carries over and improves many of the strong points of the original game, it also brings with it some of its flaws. Unless you’re a hardcore fan and can overlook the super-cheesy voice acting, the story will still really do nothing to impress or intrigue you. It’s easy to ignore, and the flat, detached voice acting performances leave much to be desired. While the main problem exists in the game’s story and presentation, it also suffers some balancing issues in the combat system which are evident later on in the campaigns.
This new complete edition mostly features the content of the original game, but there are some obvious additions to the hours upon hours of content already included. Most obvious of these additions in the Xtreme Legends expansion is the creation of a new campaign for the mighty warrior himself, Lu Bu. This campaign isn’t as long as those of the original game but it features many memorable events which all focus on the choices that the player makes. There are some new characters and weapons for each clan, as well. In addition, Dynasty Warriors 8’s interesting Ambition Mode, a tactical mode in which you build and monitor a city with resources earned in battle, is back with a few smaller improvements, chief among them being the ability to earn leadership and use that to bring bodyguards with you into battle. The game’s Free Mode is still there for you to lose hours to leveling up your many characters, and there’s another new challenge mode which gives the player more-amusing, whimsical objectives (killing enemies in a certain way) to achieve a certain amount of points. Overall, these new additions to the original experience dutifully extend the many hours of content that make a Dynasty Warriors game so engrossing.
The content is still as impressive as ever, but Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition makes some equally impressive visual strides on PlayStation 4. Animations in battle and during cutscenes are much smoother, and I noticed very few stutters in frame rate while playing through the game’s many action-packed battles. These battles are really where the graphics stand out from the original PS3 version, as the PS4 version allows for hundreds of enemy characters to be seen on-screen at once. This only adds to the intensity of the battles and the awe that it leaves you in when you participate in them. There are many improvements in the lighting and combat-environment textures, as well.
The PS Vita version, expectedly, does not run as well as the PS4 Complete Edition. From the time I spent with this version, it’s clear that it is prone to frame-rate stutters that disrupt the flow of the gameplay. The overall visuals don’t compare to the PS4 or PS3 versions, and they don’t push the boundaries of the PlayStation Vita’s graphical capabilities by any means. That said, the game still ran well throughout most of the campaign sections I played. Ultimately, if you own a PS4 and you’re going to play Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, the PS4 version is your best bet, especially since Remote Play works so well with it. If you really need a portable Dynasty Warriors 8, though, the Vita version is a viable option, even with its hiccups.
After playing it for 20+ hours and still remaining intrigued by the wealth of content that this game offers, it’s clear that Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is the definitive Dynasty Warriors experience. If this genre of games has never appealed to you in the past, it’s likely that you won’t enjoy this new expansion edition. Yet, the game will still pull many new players in with its accessibility and content that also caters to the wants of hardcore fans. This edition is a huge graphical improvement (if you’re playing it on PS4, like you should) over its predecessor, and, despite its flaws in story and voice acting, is definitely worth a buy if you’re a fan of the series.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10
[Note: A free digital PS4 and PlayStation Vita copy of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition was provided for review. This copy represented the final product.]