Koei's classic series is shaping up to be quite an awesome PSP launch title, and we get hands-on with it here!
Koei's Dynasty Warriors series has captured the imaginations and calloused the thumbs of millions of dedicated gamers, and now you'll experience the sword-slashing, staff-swinging, horse-riding beat-'em-up away from the TV in Dynasty Warriors for Sony PSP. Not only does this game look phenomenal, but it's been specifically designed with the portable gamer in mind, making it the perfect adventure to play on the go.
Dynasty Warriors is based on Luo Guanzhong's novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It tells the tale of Ancient China, of noble warriors that raged into battle against insurmountable odds. The PSP game puts you the shoes of some of these men and women and plunges you into an epic adventure full of quality hack-and-slash action, except the PSP version is a tad bit different than its PS2 and Xbox counterparts. While it fundamentally looks the same, Koei's done some interesting things with the level designs. Instead of exploring these enormous battlefields the game is divided into much smaller areas, allowing you to quickly hop in, take down numerous foes in no time flat, and go about your day.
Another neat aspect of the gameplay is the inclusion of lieutenant officers. While there are 42 playable characters from the Three Kingdoms, there are hundreds of secret characters that you can bring into battle, each with different skills. You can choose up to four, but you'll need to do some serious thinking as to who are the right people for the job. You'll have what Koei calls leadership points that are used when choosing officers - the catch being some characters cost more points than others, and as you may have already assumed, the most competent and skilled warriors are going to seriously set you back.
When you unlock these guys, either through beating levels or meeting certain objectives, you can store them on your memory stick and trade them with other people! This definitely gives the game some collectible flavor, especially if one of your friends has a rare warrior that you've been eyeing.
While the inclusion of these officers and the use of leadership points adds a bit of strategy to the mix, this PSP title is very much like its console counterparts. You're going to mindlessly beat the heck out of wave after wave of enemy soldiers with all sorts of ancient weapons, and you'll also be able to ride on horses and elephants. Also, in addition to Musou Mode (which appears to be the heart of the game), you can experience battles out of the normal gameplay order in Free Mode.
The PSP has no shortage of pretty games, and Dynasty Warriors is far from being the exception. Looking almost as slick as its PS2 big brothers, this PSP adventure title features dazzling special effects, detailed environments, and meticulously-crafted character models that accurately reflect the time period. Hopefully, there won't be extreme amounts of fog in this game, or the familiar Dynasty Warriors slowdown the plagues some of the other games in the series.
Thus far Dynasty Warriors looks amazing. Its streamlined design promises to keep things fresh and exciting, and its many levels, unlockable characters, and play modes should keep this one spinning in my PSP for quite some time. Sharpen your sword, saddle up, and ride into battle when the game releases on March 23.