Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition Review — Romance of the Three Joy-Con
Koei Tecmo has brought a solid port of Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends to Nintendo Switch with all of the game's previously released DLC.
Now that the Nintendo Switch is home to Fire Emblem Warriors, Hyrule Warriors, and Warriors Orochi, it only seems proper that Koei Tecmo would bring the Dynasty Warriors series to the platform. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition (say that five times fast) has made its way onto the handheld-console hybrid with more content than ever before. I can confirm that the classic hack-and-slash gameplay fans of this series have come to love fits perfectly on the Switch.
Of course, we already knew this with all the previous Warriors spin-offs on the console. Many of these games exist, more specifically the Nintendo-based iterations, solely because of the original Dynasty Warriors series. With Definitive Edition, Switch owners have the chance to play one of the more enjoyable entries in the series to date, in my opinion. The game also contains a ton of downloadable content that has been released over the years including additional missions, costumes, music, and more. It’s a great game for longtime fans to go back to as well as newcomers who need to become acquainted with the warriors of the Three Kingdoms.
If you’re a newcomer to this series, Dynasty Warriors is an over-exaggerated retelling of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” — a warring period during the fall of the Han Dynasty in China. You’ll choose one of the game’s many officers and take on thousands of troops and enemy officers. Combos are basic but feel quite satisfying to pull off. It’s pretty mindless and can grow repetitive over time, but it’s also really just a lot of dumb fun.
Unsurprisingly, the storyline is almost exactly the same as almost every other game in the series. However, there are some additional scenarios that were brand new in this entry when it came out, so if you haven’t seen those for yourself yet they’ll be quite refreshing to run through for the first time. I can’t speak for all Switch owners who may have potentially played this game back in the day, but I found it quite refreshing to run through on the handheld-console hybrid a second time. Additionally, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends has many branching paths that’ll delve into “what if?” storylines.
On that note, this version seems to be more polished than the PS4 version I owned back in 2014. You’ll get 60 frames per second in most scenarios and I rarely noticed any considerable drops in both Handheld Mode and on the TV. While Dynasty Warriors 8 is a bit older than some of the other Warriors games on Switch, it’s nice to see this particular game run at a stable frame rate compared to a game like Fire Emblem Warriors, for example.
Visually, the game leaves more to be desired compared to the more colorful Fire Emblem Warriors and Hyrule Warriors. Again, this is an older title, but it looks pretty dated on the Nintendo Switch hardware. Character models themselves look fine, but environments are washed out and lack any visual appeal. It’s not a huge deal though considering I never really stopped to smell the roses while I countlessly cut down thousands of troops.
Gameplay-wise Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends could take you well over a hundred hours to see everything it has to offer. Collecting all of the weapons and skills, completing each campaign on Ultimate difficulty, Ambition Mode, Free Mode, and more. All these tasks have you completing in-game missions that never overstay their welcome. They’re perfect whether you plan on playing this title at home or on the go.
Ambition Mode is sort of a cut down version of what many games in the Empires spinoff series cover. Your goal is to unite all of Han China, and you do so by recruiting officers and overcoming other enemies to conquer the land. You’ll have a base of operations where you can interact with your officers, upgrade weapons, skills, and more. It’s a fun distraction, but I didn’t find myself too interested in this particular mode.
Challenge Mode has you take on a slew of different game modes that’ll have you test your skills with each character. Rampage has you defeating as many enemies as possible before a timer runs out. Bridge Melee sees you knocking enemies off a bridge until you’re knocked off. Speed Run has you moving to a goal on a map before time runs out, while Arena Mode has you take on every enemy officer in the game without dying. Finally, Inferno Mode requires you to defeat all the enemies on one map before time runs out. There’s a solid amount of variation in terms of challenges to tackle and leaderboards that’ll let you track your high scores with each character, but this mode definitely won’t be where you spend the bulk of your time.
Each one of the game’s many characters has their own specific level so playing with your preferred officers will net them their own experience points, and in return, make them more powerful. Furthermore, there are literally hundreds of weapon types to get in Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition and all of the officers have their own affinity to each. You can really mix and match to find your preferred play-style with each character. With every character being able to equip two weapons at a time, gameplay feels less repetitive than older entries in the series.
With Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition on Switch, players can finally play Koei’s flagship Warriors series on-the-go or at home. While the game does get repetitive at times, it’s immensely satisfying to quickly take on a couple of missions in Handheld Mode every now and again. Overall, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition is a great addition to the Switch library and sits well amongst the many other Warriors games already available on the platform. For fans that can’t get enough of titles like this one, definitely check this game out.