Oh great, Dynasty Warriors 7 is coming out next week! Wait, hang on. What about Dynasty Warriors 1 through 6? How come you haven’t heard of them?
Dynasty Warriors is, to put it bluntly, odd. It’s an Eastern phenomenon that Westerners don’t really get – like sniffing schoolgirls’ knickers, or getting aroused by the thought of tentacles. It’s like how Madden and Hunting/Fishing games are really popular in the states but barely even get sold over here. And much like Madden, every game from Dynasty Warriors 1 back on the original Playstation to this latest incarnation is basically the same.
Shoots nothin' but arms
The series is an over-the-top recreation of historical wars in China, where three kingdoms fought each other and various other, smaller clans in a battle for power. Helpfully, they colour-coded their uniforms to contrast nicely on the field, so there’s no confusion over which chaps are on your side and which chaps you’re supposed to kill.
The story is the same every time – big armies fighting over territory (except on the playstation, due to graphical limitations, where it was an uglier version of Soul Blade) – and the bad guy, Lu Bu, rocks up every time too. And people seem surprised. “It’s Lu Bu! Who knew?” said one chap when Mr Bu rocked up on his flaming horse and proceeded to mash our character into the ground.
Oh man, a sickly minister?! Can't wait to play as him
And the style of play, for all the adjustments that are made to the formula every time, doesn’t change either. You play a chap (or chappess, or in the case of one of the more androgynous characters we’re not sure) and run around killing hundreds upon hundreds of pretty rubbish enemy soldiers with an extremely limited repertoire of moves.
Sometimes you charge up and unleash a special move which kills some more people. Occasionally, you can ride a horse. Yeah. Somehow Dynasty Warriors makes the thought of mass murder boring, which is no mean feat.
In the past, wars were fought using only simple explosions of blue light
Maybe we just got confused because we’re not really good with Chinese names. At one point the game told us that “Wu Peng has been killed!” and we didn’t know if that was good because he was on the enemy’s side, or bad because he has a mate of ours. We never found out who poor old Wu Peng was fighting for. It didn’t seem to matter much, at the end of the day.
Some stuff has changed since the last game, sure, but it’s actually not all that important. If you like the thought of smashing apart a bunch of footsoldiers with a big weapon and trying (but probably failing!) to learn about ancient Chinese history while you play, give it a go.
Dynasty Warriors 7 will run screaming onto European consoles on 8 April 2011 and no-one will really notice