Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Extreme Legends – Not Enough Guys

The Dynasty Warriors games have always had a loose, albeit more fun, interpretation of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. You’re the most important person on the battlefield because numbers don’t matter to you.  You welcome being surrounded because you can’t stopped.  You’re the reason the Yellow Turban Rebellion has been quelled every year to various rock music playing in the background since the late 90s. Dynasty Warrior 8: Xtreme Legends still keeps with the tradition we’ve come to know after all these years.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Extreme Legends is an expansion pack for Dynasty Warriors 8 which released last year, so I’ll talk more about the new additions rather than retread old ground.

Xtreme Legends highlights perennial bad-ass Lu Bu in his very own campaign. As a veteran Dynasty Warrior, Lu Bu was always the bane of my existence as he tore through my troops with relative ease. We finally get to see how powerful of a jerk he is.

Lu Bu is fantastic to play as with has mostly do to with his over the top move set consisting of giant sweeping attacks, grabbing dudes by the face and slamming them in the ground. Lu Bu has an overwhelming sense of power behind his attacks which easily convinces the player that one guy can literally take on an army on his own. His campaign is super short, clocking in at around 2 ½- 3 hours, though I would welcome an overall shorter campaign for everyone else.

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The formula for Xtreme Legends hasn’t changed in its 10+ years of existence. In fact, I’ve never seen a game devleoper stick to the “if it aint broke don’t fix it” as hard as the folks over at Omega Force. Your core experience will consist of hacking/slashing/sometimes trampling with a horse with a character whose name you can’t pronounce while wearing a flamboyant outfit not fit for a warrior.

I have to admit there is something quite cathartic about knocking out hundreds upon hundreds of  sword-fodder troops with my square-triangle combos for hours. Dynasty Warriors always seem to do a weirdly good job masking the monotony of fighting the same guys and doing the same attacks with positive reinforcement.

Xtreme Legends seems to always be impressed by your actions and all your allies will congratulate you every hundred kills or so. The compliments do end up feeling hollow after the first couple of hours of being told how amazing you are for really not doing much.  Dynamic events, like archers ambushing your troops, will occur and be easily resolved by getting to a certain spot and beating up everyone there.

Switching to a second weapon on the fly is seamless and adds some spice to your combos. Weapon Fusion is a feature that lets you boost the stats of your murder instruments, which is useful for the cash that you can grind for during your battles.

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With over 80 characters, I’ve noticed that Omega Force did a great job in making sure that every hero plays and feels differently, which isn’t to easy to pull off. Fan favorites like Cao Cao or Dian Wei are still great to watch in action.

I’ve always been a Gang Ning guy, even though I wasn’t too excited when they switch his main weapon from big sword (Dynasty Warriors 4) to this odd chain mace contraption in the last couple of games.

The strategy of choice for your enemies surrounding you 20 to 1, which boils down to them waiting around taking turns getting wrecked by your colorful weapon-trailed attacks, has been a staple of the franchise.

Unit Commanders and other “named” warriors are the only ones who actually can kill if you’re not paying attention to your health. It really comes down to your personal tolerance for repetitious combat scenarios to figure out if Xtreme Legends is for you.

Some other additions include extra episodes that act as “what-if” scenarios, as well as five new characters. Challenge mode is back with online leader boards along with some tweaks to Ambition mode. Fans can dive into literally 100s of hours of content unlocking weapons and passive skills or simply grinding out cash to buy cooler, more powerful goodies.

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Die-hard fans of the franchise will have a lot of content to sink their teeth into. If your on the outside looking in, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends’ rather shallow and repetitive gameplay isn’t rewarding enough to dive in.  It doesn’t really do much to push the franchise forward any meaningful way. Outside of a full on next-gen reboot, I’m not just how much Dynasty Warriors has left in it’s tank.

*Jorge Note* Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends has cross-save support for PS4, PS3 and Vita. I played the PS3 for the review  and was able to test out the cross-save feature on a friend’s PS4 which worked fined. There are virtually no gameplay differences between the two systems. The PS4 version obvious looks the best with more characters on-screen being rendered, better looking character models and improved facial animations. I did notice some framerate dips on the PS3 version. I tested this out by gathering as much enemies as possible on screen in the first Lu Bu mission and then fought them.

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