Dynasty Warriors 7 is one of the longest running game series’ of the past decade. While the core series has only had 7 main titles, Tecmo Koei is notorious for releasing numerous games under different titles with the same basic gameplay. I’m not going to lie to you: I wasn’t eager to try Dynasty Warriors 7 as the series hasn’t made any progress in years, at times even regressing to prior problems. Where does Dynasty Warriors 7 stand?
God I hate this series.
The story has taken a decent step in the right direction this time, you can play as one of 4 different dynasties and live through historic Chinese battles. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in the field and try to tell you it’s accurate, but it feels a little better this time than just tacked on cut scenes at the end of each battle. In addition, before you actually enter the battlefield you can spend some time in your beginning camp upgrading your weapons and conversing with your comrades. It gives a feeling that there’s a reason behind the battles you’re fighting. Also, for the first time in the core series there’s online co-op. While it doesn’t apply to the main story mode, it’s nice to finally have it in the series.
The combat hasn’t made any real progress here. Enemy grunt units in general wont full on attack you at once, and your own army’s grunts AI is genuinely awful. While you’re allied heroes will attack enemy’s, your grunts generally still just stand there and wait to be killed. Your own character’s attack moves don’t really stray from very primitive button mashing. You’ll gain skill points along the way, just to really be able to button mash extra combo hits and stock additional special attacks. While weapons can be “upgraded” by applying seals for different effects, you don’t really feel any sense of improvement as you play through the game. You can switch to secondary weapons of your choice and play as different characters, but while there’s variety in weapon choice the actual gameplay is relatively the same amongst all of them. While it’s annoying that 7 titles into the core series the battle system and AI hasn’t evolved drastically, you almost come to expect no progress now.
The graphics engine, while slightly improved over previous titles in the core series, still doesn’t look like it’s PS3 or Xbox 360 quality. I’ll be generous and say it looks like original Xbox quality, and that’s it.
It’s rather difficult not to remain jaded or biased against Koei games now adays, given the fact that the majority of the games they release are actually the same exact game with a different title or series number. Dynasty Warriors 7 is just another Koei example of rinse and repeat gameplay and helps explain why I tend to bang my head whenever I see another Koei game. At best, this is a lateral move in the series that isn’t really going to attract any new fans. Dynasty Warriors 7 gets a D from Geeks of Gaming with a recommended buy price of $10, but really just rent this if you’ve played everything else and looking for something to pass an hour or two.