I still remember the first time I ever laid eyes on a Dynasty Warriors game. It was a cold winter afternoon in 2000, and for whatever reason, one lone copy of Dynasty Warriors 2 was calling my name at a local Blockbuster. I picked it up and subsequently played for days on end -- I was hooked.
Now here we are fourteen years later with Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends (also branded the Complete Edition on the PS4 and Vita), with a brand new Lu Bu storyline, among other features. Like DW8 proper, fans will definitely want to pursue this one.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (PS3 [Non-"Complete"], PS4 [reviewed], Vita)
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Released: March 25, 2014
MSRP: $39.99 (PS3) / $59.99 (PS4) / $39.99 (Vita)
Just to be clear, the PS4 and Vita versions of the game are labeled the Complete Edition because you're getting the base Dynasty Warriors 8 experience combined with the new Xtreme Legends expansion. With the PS3 version you'll have to upgrade, but at a cheaper cost. Got it? Good!
In terms of new content, you're getting a storyline featuring Lu Bu, a Challenge Mode, a new difficulty (Ultimate), an extended Ambition Mode, some gameplay tweaks, and five new characters. Lu Bu's campaign is very brief, weighing in at around three hours or so, but nearly every battle is enjoyable, and his moveset in general is a blast to play, with moves that include amazing Dragon Ball Z-style electric choke-slams.
The new characters are all welcome additions as well, bringing up the total count to 82 -- ensuring that there's something for everyone. As was the case with Dynasty Warriors 8 vanilla, Omega Force has made a concerted effort to ease up on clones, and nearly every single fighter has a unique set of moves and weapon-set. My personal favorites are Fa Zheng and Chen Gong (who merely orders people to do his bidding), which both feel wholly unique to the franchise, while still fitting the (wacky) universe.
If you're so inclined you can use the new Weapon Fusion system to boost equipment as well as bring along a second weapon. It's a small concession that strengthens the roster even further, as you can customize them to your style of play -- albeit at a price, involving lots of grinding and continued play. This is the deepest game in the Dynasty Warriors series yet, as the elemental counters of each weapon are taken further down the rabbit hole with even more choices.
Challenge Mode is basically built for hardcore fans, adding in bonus levels that task you with fulfilling certain objectives like killing as many enemies as you can. These sport online leaderboards, which is the real draw for those who want to show that they're the best damn warrior around. For most players though they'll lose their allure after a few playthroughs, so don't expect much.
The new difficulty isn't anything to write home about as well, since the game was particularly well balanced from the get-go -- this is basically just a way for people to mess around with the extended level cap (now 150). Finally, new "What-if?" scenarios are unlocked, and with the Complete Edition in tow that has the core game inherently built-in, you'll have access to around 100 hours of content -- which makes this particularly appealing if you haven't picked up Dynasty Warriors 8.
For the purposes of this review I was able to test out the PS4 version of the game, and I'm pleased to say that it handles quite well. Although there are still a few minor hitches here and there, I didn't really encounter any noticeable slowdown, and the PS4 is capable of showing more soldiers on-screen than ever before.
It's not a graphical overhaul in the slightest (there's a weird filter in place, as well as the franchise's standard fog effect), but what really matters is that the engine doesn't feel limited and gameplay isn't compromised. There's also the ability to take advantage of Cross-Save features between the PS3 and Vita, and if you had the PS3 version of Dynasty Warriors 8 you can transfer in your save file to the PS4.
If you haven't played a Dynasty Warriors game in a long while, picking up Xtreme Legends on your shiny new PS4 isn't a bad idea. It doesn't offer up anything mind-blowing that demands the attention of casual fans, but as a complete package it's a wonderful entry point.
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