I can comfortably refer to Warriors Orochi 3 as the most accessible Warriors game since Dynasty Warriors 7 was released in March of 2011. While Omega Force has not released a considerable amount of games in that time, consider that DW7 was widely hailed as the best successor to the series since Dynasty Warriors 4. If you live under a rock, or simply never ventured into the hack and slash masterpiece which is a “Warriors” title then consider WO3 one of the best ways to venture forth into this kind of territory.
For various reasons, WO3 could easily appeal to a different sub-category of gamer than the flagship Dynasty Warriors titles do. The first obvious reasoning would be the story and plot: Warriors Orochi 3 is absolutely flooded with theoretical concepts and magic. Whereas DW titles generally follow The Romance of the Three Kingdoms text. Both allow you to massacre hundreds of enemy troops in a few minutes, but one holds a more symbolic stance versus literal interpretation. It is stereotypically assumed that enjoying one Warriors game means you’ll enjoy every iteration. This is certainly not the case, and given the amount of options I don’t really recommend it.
The Warriors Orochi spinoff series has taken characters from Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, as well as completely new and unique characters to form a third canon of sorts. Warriors Orochi 3 has amplified this by including almost every character from DW1-7 and SW1-3, as well as a handful of cameos from other KOEI franchises; most notably Ryu Hayabusa of Ninja Gaiden lore. This equates to over a hundred playable characters, each with their own combat style. Three characters can be chosen at a time per stage, giving the player the ability to swap between them at any time.
This large focus on character content is WO3′s greatest quality and weakness. While the sheer numerical value is staggering, especially considering characters all level up independently; this blatantly takes away from the amount of map and scenario content. Though not nearly as obvious as DW: Gundam 3, there simply are not enough stages to keep the core gameplay varied enough for the 80+ hours you can easily spend within this game. It seems ironic, as one of the biggest complaints against the Warriors franchise is the repetition that comes with the series’ relatively simplistic combo system. For advanced players, there are numerous ways to mix up attacks and combos to at least limit what some may see as monotonous. Sadly, even the most hardcore gamer can not create new backdrops, scenery and geographic content.
All of this builds up to the ultimate contrast between the two: quantity versus quality. Someone wanting a well-rounded game should stick with the main series. Gamers preferring mass amounts of characters and unlockables might prefer Warriors Orochi 3. There are of course more specific difference amongst the two games, and all Omega Force games for that matter; but explaining it all is either unnecessary or simply overkill. Yet one concept which is rarely brought up is the meta-game of the series.
Sure, most every gamer knows that Warriors is about pressing buttons a lot until all of the bad guys are dead. It’s basic, but it supports a larger clause. There are essentially two types of enemies in the game: troops and officers. Troops are easily dispatched in a small number of swipes, largely dependent on the difficulty and character’s experience level. Officers are blatantly the bosses and minibosses you encounter while playing through a stage. On high levels of difficulty (like the wonderfully named “CHAOS” mode), officers can kill the player in less than a minute. What eventually occurs is the farming of troops, in order to build up enough Musuo (Special Attack gauge) to quickly kill officers before they provide any real threat. Likewise, Warriors games all contain a hefty amount of “RPG-esque” systems. Primarily the experience levels, and more recently the relationships amongst characters.
Graphics wise, WO3 is running off of the Dynasty Warriors 7 engine. This is pretty for longtime players, but may seem dated to those new to this kind of game. Audio however is a beast, with around 70 tracks comprised of remixes and original tunes from the many Warriors games in existence. Even if you have no interest in this game, you owe it to yourself to listen to “Ryu’s Determination.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jaIUlz-wNU)
Whatever may draw you to Warriors Orochi 3, you’re bound to enjoy at least a few of the many aspects it has to offer. It can serve as a good launchpad into some other Warriors titles, or will allow you to skip over others you had little interest in. Samurai Warriors 3 for instance, only saw a release on the Wii in the United States. Warriors Orochi 3 has every character from that game, and even Achilles from Warriors: Legends of Troy. Also be on the lookout for newly added Downloadable Content, if you’re the kind of gamer that likes extra costumes and missions KOEI has plenty to offer.
- Over 100 Characters
- First Warriors Orochi with a “legitimate” plot
- Solid Soundtrack
- Admittedly Dated Graphics Engine
- Disproportionate Number of Stages
- “Same Old Song and Dance”