Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends is one of those game series that will never end and has changed quite a little over the years. Both mechanics and graphics-wise. I was growing up when the first one was released on the PlayStation 2. A friend of mine had a copy and it was fun. It’s the most video game a game can get. There is a very primal fun in murdering a horde of poorly trained Chinese peasants. To bad that a single one of those can still kill my warlord when I’m not watching. Every single Dynasty Warrior game in the series takes place in the romance of the three kingdoms era. Unless stated otherwise in the title. The time period was a turbulent one with civil unrest, power-hungry warlords, and wandering warriors. The series is a very broad strokes interpretation of the story, which is already taking artistic liberties with the source material. The conflict is turned into a red versus blue versus green and some random historical heroes in between. Plus an entourage of lesser officers that I have no idea where they found out about them.
As I mentioned earlier gameplay in Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends is simple, pick a side, a hero, and two weapons, then start the story. Alone or with a couch coop companion. Which works like a charm, since the screen is split horizontally. Way too often games divide it vertically, which is pointless when you can’t see upwards.
Anyhow, objectives are very basic, head to a location and kill things, usually the officer, then an event will trigger elsewhere, and proceed until the enemy leader can be beaten into submission. Every now and then a catapult can be used to destroy encampments. Besides the campaign, there is a challenge mode, that lives up to its name. Pick one of many and proceed to succeed, such as besting several thousand enemies. Every time I get the top rank a weapon is unlocked.
Weapons in Dynasty Warriors 8 come with three different elements, which work like rock beat scissors. If I have the upper hand, I can beat the officer until brutal flurry executes. Every now and then the enemy will glow blue. By switching weapons they’re flung into the air. If the weapon equipped is the officer’s favorite an extra bonus occurs as well, most of the gear comes with extra effects as well. Attacking chains up hits that fill the Musou bar, which makes me invulnerable until the quick burst end. Naturally, enemy officers do this as well, depending on difficulty. Aside from that there is a rage bar, which is perfect for room cleaning, I just click and hold until all the red dots vanish from my radar and my assertive gaze. To my knowledge enemies can’t do that though, since it’s roughly a minute-long brutal beatdown, that will be extended by collecting powerups. There is also mounted combat, but that’s a very lackluster affair, even when riding a bear into combat. All I can do is a normal attack and a charged-up attack. Musou simply makes the steed charge ahead.
Freemode allows me to repay missions I’ve beaten in the campaign, plus some extra ones, with a set of bodyguards, and three different extra objectives which will have an outcome on my rank. Bodyguards are somewhat competent and can be ordered to do various tasks, such as using fire attacks or catching a point. Extra mounts can be equipped here or have a vicious pet tiger tag along. Then there is ambition mode, where I build a castle, barracks, and a teahouse with loot from various missions, which can be chained for better rewards. Essentially it books down to, destroys crates, and beat the living daylight out of any enemy officer out there, gotta catch them all. It’s a very tacked-on excuse mode centered around taking over China unless it crashes on the pc version. The one I bought. So I have not been able to complete it, unfortunately, luckily it’s possible to save between each level. The only other bug I’ve found is the one where no one moves after loading a game during a mission. There is also a slew of different difficulties, being able to level up officers and enhance them with four different abilities from a list, that can be unlocked by besting officers under various conditions. Music is the normal heroic poodle rock spiel, with a lot of cheesy guitars, and songs from previous games. Pleasing but forgettable. Voice acting is passable and can be set to Japanese if needed. They can actually properly pronounce Chinese names. I can’t say much about the graphics aside from poor textures, a lot of clipping, and fairly decent facial animations. The in-engine cutscenes work, but they’re as simply made as possible, without resorting to moving portraits. But they get the job done and each hero has a very distinct design. All in all simple fun and engaging. Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends complete edition does exactly what it sets out to do. Pitch the player against a swarm of retarded enemies I can fling into the afterlife.
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