Dynasty Warriors 9 (XOne)

Dynasty Warriors 9 (XOne) - Review

by Patrick Day-Childs , posted on 13 February 2018 / 2,290 Views

Dynasty Warriors 9 takes place, like many of the previous games in the series, during the Battles of the Three Kingdoms - a 60+ year period in Chinese history when the country was divided into three competing states - Wei, Shu, and Wu. At the start of the game, the player can choose a character from one of these three main factions and then embark on their quest line (and later on into the game you can pick from a more diverse cast of characters as new ones are introduced).

Now, if you’re like me, then you’ve played at least a few of the Dynasty Warrior games and crushed that damn Yellow Turban Rebellion several times over already, so why would you return yet again to the fray? Well, arguably the biggest reason is that developer Omega Force has taken its own rule book and rewritten it, finally bringing the series up to the modern age. The stale formula that we've seen so many times has been re-examined and replaced with something the series has been crying out for - an open world.

Dynasty Warriors games have always been fairly open, but for the most part players have been channelled down a particular route. Dynasty Warriors 9 takes a proper open world approach instead, littering the world with side quests. These side quests are also stackable, so you can complete a series of them and then turn them in all at once, instead of running back and forth retreading old ground.

The open world is huge, and I mean huge. But not overwhelmingly so - it’s cleverly broken up with scenic areas, hideaways, and the like, and there are fortunately waypoints throughout the map that allow for fast travel (although some fast travel points require you to walk up to and click on them, which is slightly annoying when you’re charging through). 

The aforementioned scenic areas aren’t to be ignored either; after scaling up a mountain you get a real sense of achievement as you gaze over the world. These beauty spots are often off the beaten path and contain animals that can be hunted (some of which are pretty tough, leading to unexpected side battles). Meanwhile hideaways take the form of purchasable houses which can be decorated and filled up with all kinds of moderately useless stuff, although some furniture does have a benefit (for example, pots allow you to craft without the need of an NPC).

Speaking of crafting, that's another new addition to the series, and allows you to make useful items and boosters, as well as gems to add to your weapon, giving it elemental damage. Crafting materials can come from boxes lying around on the ground, from hunting, or even fishing. The fishing element is a little dull for my tastes; you don’t see shadows approaching from under the water or anything like that, you just wait for the line to pull. Perhaps Omega Force can take a few cues from Sega's work on fishing in the Yakuza series next time around.

For the most part the main story plays out like it did in previous instalments - you’re given an objective to complete and then set out to achieve it, but now you’re able to take on ‘linked missions’, which make the main missions easier to complete. What’s really rewarding about these, though, is seeing how they impact your main mission so clearly. For example, I saved someone in a linked mission and he later showed up to distract the guards in the main mission, so that when I approached the area I could see the guards wandering off.

For the very first time you're also able to approach the game using stealth. Everyone is now equipped with a grappling hook that you can use to scale walls, snipe down captains, and capture tactical areas. If you sneak up on an enemy you can also dash attack them, which deals a lot of damage and launches them away.

Combat on the whole feels fluid and you can use a multitude of extra attacks that stun, launch, or knock enemies down to give you an edge over the masses. Using these moves can be essential when taking on generals and captains. There are also counter attacks, and it makes you feel pretty bad-ass when a spear is less than a second away from you but you manage to counter it.

My biggest gripe with the combat is the same one I’ve had with previous instalments: you don’t get rewarded for going above and beyond. I was told to retreat from Lu Bu at one point and instead I took him down, hoping for a rare crafting material or even a new weapon, but sadly nothing at all was dropped. I didn’t even have someone say how awesome I am! Except myself, which didn’t feel so good.

Dynasty Warriors 9 includes over 90 characters, and as these begin to unlock you can play them in later chapters straight away. For example, if you unlock a character in chapter 3, you can start their story from chapter 3 - you don’t have to go all the way back to chapter 1 and start over again. Better yet, your level progression carries over, so there's no disincentive to trying out new characters.

Dynasty Warriors 9 stands tall in the series' library, only being let down by relatively minor issues that will hopefully be fixed in subsequent instalments. It’s clear that Omega Force is now really experimenting with the series, testing out things like stealth and hunting, and offering up a breathtaking open world that's a joy to explore, all of which makes me excited for the series' future.


VGChartz Verdict


7
Good

This review is based on a retail copy of Dynasty Warriors 9 for the XOne, provided by the publisher.

Read more about our Review Methodology here

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5 Comments

Ka-pi96 (on 13 February 2018)

Haven't been keen on the idea of DW9 since day 1 and this makes it sound even less like a game I'd enjoy. This one just doesn't seem like it's for me. Hopefully the series will go back to its roots with DW10.


Ka-pi96 (on 13 February 2018)

Also, the first review I've seen with scores back. I love that you guys have brought them back! :)


  • +9
Volterra_90 (on 13 February 2018)

I bought it because, well, I love every Warriors games I've played and I truly think this game is... a disaster. In any conceivable way. The open-world formula just doesn't work for me, it's basically... taking a Warriors level and spread it with huge big empty areas. Characters' weapons are just unimaginative and not fun at all to use.

I'd say that this game is baffingly bad. I respect reviewers' opinion, but I really can't enjoy this game a single bit.


  • +1
Ka-pi96 (on 13 February 2018)

Well that's encouraging :P
I do think the open world does still have potential for a DW Empires game at least. So maybe when they release that it will be worthwhile.

You mention the weapons being unimaginative, does that mean they include cloned movesets again, or are you mainly referring to the new characters? One of my biggest concerns about DW9 was that they'd have cloned movesets again after finally doing away with them in DW8.


  • +1
Volterra_90 (on 13 February 2018)

Cloned movesets is a really big mistake, yeah. It's baffling that they even thought about going back to that. I also find ridiculous that they ditched some weapons which were imaginative and felt different, like scrolls, for example. You might like them or not, but they really felt different to use. (Or they're waiting for DLC, you Koei bastards). Now they are just pretty generic. The movesets are hilariously bland.

I'm not going to talk about the battle system, which is as boring as it could get.

They basically took every criticism the Warriors' franchise has had... forever and amplify them. I'm not sure why it reviews similarly than the previous ones. I know for sure that fans won't be happy about it xD.

I'm a bit sad that people think this is the right way. If they going this way, I'm out.


  • +1
Ka-pi96 (on 13 February 2018)

aww, that's really disappointing to hear. I really liked that every character felt more unique than ever before in 8 and 8XL. I also liked the different weapons, even if some of them were crap. Sure I'd default to Zhong Hui's OP flying swords when grinding and stuff, but playing through the story I really liked that every character felt different and wasn't just a different character model.

I'll still be getting it somewhen, but it can wait. It's not as if there's a shortage of musou games for me to play at the moment anyway, there's so many of them! :D

Who knows though, maybe it will look better in retrospect. I was really disappointed with DW6 when it released, but I've got to admit it's kind of grown on me and when I replayed it last year I really enjoyed it.


  • +1
Volterra_90 (on 13 February 2018)

Yeah, I think DW8 was a fantastic game and they should have focused their effort and a more powerful hardware to "fill" the game with enemies, better graphics and an improved IA. Because DW8 was really, really good as a musou game. I think they screwed up hard with this one.

Still, I encourage you to see some LPs and I think that you could basically form a really good opinion on your own. I think the flaws are pretty clear. I still don't know why the game is open world for a start, can't find a single reason why this is happening. As you said, I get it in an Empires game. But not in this game.

Maybe I'll "get it" later, but right now I'm pretty dissapointed. I've played the franchise backwards, because I really wasn't aware of what a musou was until I've played Hyrule Warriors, which introduced me in this world. So I really feel bad that the first main game of the Dynasty Warriors franchise I bought on launch date felt that bad to me.


  • +1
Farsala (on 13 February 2018)

For me its pretty fun. A nice time consuming game. Their focus is on individual characters more as far as I can tell. I am 6 hours in with Cheng Pu alone. Cheng Pu makes DW9> DW8 automatically in my book, after all it was the reason I boycotted DW8 :P. Unless you speedrun to kill the boss each time, then there is a ton of content to be had. It would be impossible to play each character fully like I am doing with Cheng Pu without putting in over 400 hours into the game, so I don't find the cloned weapons as disconcerting as most people will not get through them all. Also DW7 was a fine game with a few cloned sets.

Of course if you really dislike grindy games then this game probably isn't for you. This game will probably be hated like DW6 but in a much different way DW6 for lack of content while DW9 too much content. Gameplay and plot are about the same as always, but DW9 has a lot more detail with individual stories instead of the recent kingdom approach. For example as Cheng Pu I just had a 1 on 1 conversation with Zhou Yu, which is different for Sun Jian and Sun Ce etc.

Also there were reports of performance issues and yet on regular PS4 I have only experienced it once...


  • 0
Nem (on 13 February 2018)

Exactly how i feel. I was worried the moment i saw how empty it was, how the battles didn't have a flow to them and those clones weapons. Very sad, but at one point i jumped out of the hype train. Seems like it was the right choice. The open-world design doesn't fit the series, it was a clutch to get sales because it's popular atm.


  • 0
malistix1985 (on 14 February 2018)

Screenshots used in this review look a lot better then this game looks on console, overall a nice attempt at an open world dynasty warrior but it falls short in some area's, At least they tried something different!


caffeinade (on 14 February 2018)

We really shouldn't be relying on media provided by the publishers.


  • +1
caffeinade (on 13 February 2018)

Seven out of ten, that is really good for a Warriors title. I guess I have to buy it then. Thanks VGC!


AngryLittleAlchemist (on 13 February 2018)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MY SON!


  • -3
AngryLittleAlchemist (on 13 February 2018)

JASSSSON!!?! JASSSSSSSSONNNN!??!?! JASSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOON!!!


  • -2

Comments below voting threshold

Azzanation (on 13 February 2018)

A 7/10? This is considered to be the worst DW game ever made by other journalists. Each to there own.


Nem (on 13 February 2018)

I dunno why you are being downvoted. That is the reality. Any Dynasty warriors fan can tell you that. Wich is why i didn't pre-order the game. Actually, will probably skip it entirely. I don't agree with this review either. The pacing, feel of the grand scale battles drama and combat is gone in this game. There is literally not one good thing. This game is more a 3/10.


  • 0
Ka-pi96 (on 13 February 2018)

Just saw Jim Sterling called it the worst as well. I like his reviews and he's always been a big DW fan so him thinking that poorly of it is really disconcerting.

I really hope Japanese reviews are similar, I expect that's the only ones they'll give a shit about, so if it gets a similar reception there then hopefully they'll get around to making DW10 great again.


  • 0
Azzanation (on 13 February 2018)

No idea why i got downvoted either. Guess those downvoters will have to try the game out and experience it themselves. Im just stating what others have said.


  • 0
Chazore (on 13 February 2018)

So this gets a 7 (good), yet Subnautica gets a 4(poor), despite the level of content that DW9 has (or lack thereof)?.


  • -10
xMetroid (on 13 February 2018)

A test is subjective. They finally have a rating score stop complaining before they remove it, thank you.


  • +5
Chazore (on 13 February 2018)

I like the new rating system. I'm just in disagreement with how both reviews panned out is all.


  • -1
Areym (on 13 February 2018)

While the rating is subjective and honestly irrelevant, a complaint or criticism should not be silenced just cause the writer/website would get triggered and take his '"toys" back home.


  • +1
Azzanation (on 13 February 2018)

These reviews should be swapped around. Oh well they are opinions i guess.


  • -3
Hynad (on 14 February 2018)

Those two games weren't reviewed by the same reviewer. -__-


  • 0