When someone thinks Dynasty Warriors they often recall playing as a prominent figure in ancient Chinese history while mowing down countless enemies with devastating blows using various weapons. While this gameplay mechanic has proven to be successful for the long running series, it seemed developer Omega Force needed a change of pace. Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers turns the fast paced action franchise into a Strategy RPG with an interesting attempt to bring these two genres together.
By taking cues from past entry in the series Dynasty Warriors Tactics, Godseekers experiments with the SRPG format by speeding up the genre and merging it as closely as possible to the the series more recognizable gameplay. The risks that Omega Force takes with Godseekers seems to pay off as it helped me reclaim my appreciation for the series. In addition, it provided a more simplistic SRPG adventure which is a genre that can often lose gamers in complex menus and deep customization.
The game is set during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese History, series veteran Zhao Yun takes the lead as the main protagonist of the game’s campaign. However, the developers don’t rely solely on alumni characters as the story quickly introduces Yun’s childhood friend, Lei Bin. Bin seems to be Yun’s biggest fan since he’s often seen praising Yun’s skills and strength after battle. The story handles their friendship well and makes their relationship believable.
Another new character introduced at the beginning of the game is the mysterious Lixia. Our two heroes discover her frozen near their home and are forced to escort her on a huge journey. All these pieces seemed to conveniently fall into place too easily. This led me to question what actually motivated Yun and Bin to listen to Lixia’s demands. Evidently, the only reason they have to go on this journey is because they woke her up. However, Bin does seem believably interested in Lixia’s secrets while Yun comes off as just the muscle.
Godseekers boasts multiple types of battles offered at any point during gameplay. First off we have campaign battles that are necessary to gain access to new areas and move along the story. Each campaign battle begins with a story introduction to fill you in on what’s going on. Although these dialog scenes are brief, I was never confused with the victory conditions of each battle as they are pretty straight forward. However, campaign battles shake things up a bit by changing mission objectives mid-battle or including an unexpected enemy ambush.
Other battles are optional to the player and open after each area is completed. By returning to defeated battlefields, the player can choose additional missions to play through to increase their party’s level and get special loot. The victory conditions for these battles vary whereas some might ask the player to escort allies to a certain location, take out a target, or even stop an enemy from escaping. These battles offer a break from the story and by completing them almost guaranteed no enemy will stand in your way.
Like most games in the Warriors series, I felt extremely overpowered at times. This becomes clear during moments where I made obvious mistakes, but still achieved victory in battle. Coincidentally, the game doesn’t have a grading scale after battles. Instead, you are at the mercy of enemy drops and mission rewards to show your hard earned victory. Furthermore, you are ask to complete side objectives that require you to defeat a certain amount of units in a short amount of turns or obtain a high “Charge.”
During battles, if you thought you weren’t strong enough, the game allows you to perform a “Sync” ability. The synchro charge’s progress is displayed in the top of screen and increases after every turn. Once full, players get an extra turn to unleash a powerful attack with any characters who are linked in. During the attack, you’re even able to boost the power by pressing the X button. This is by far the cheapest way to win battles during the game and believe me when I say I often saved it for the more powerful enemies to wipe them out in one attack.
That being said, if the masochist in you wishes to test your strength there’s a difficulty option before every battle. However, the game does become a little more difficult as the campaign goes on which requires more strategic planning as opposed to me rushing into battle mindlessly during the first few hours of gameplay.
Even though the game focuses on the trio of heroes and their adventure, there are 60 other officers playable in the game. However, some of these officers might be your enemy at one point, but the developers implemented a unique way of adding each character you encounter into your party. After you progress to a certain point in the campaign, a new menu option opens called “Path of Destiny.” This is where players will have the option to participate in side-stories that don’t affect the make campaign. Completing a character’s Path of Destiny will unlock the character in battle. Certain requirements are needed to gain access to these characters so it’s a good idea to check on each objective.
Gameplay during battles requires characters to move their units around a grid based map. During the player’s phase, you are able to move, attack, defend, or use an item. Certain characters have different strengths, so it’s left up to the player to discover each unit’s proper place in battle. Sadly, the customization of characters won’t impress fans of the SRPG genre, but the game does well at being a good introduction to these mechanics. This simplistic model also allowed the game to limit the tutorial section and get the player straight into battle which is something the Warriors franchise has always been great at.
I spent time with both versions of the game on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Gameplay-wise each version provided an almost identical experience. However, the overall visual performance offered in the PS4 version cannot be reached by the Vita. Even with that obvious comparison, I found that I spent more time on the Vita as the game provides an easy on the go SRPG fix given that the battles can be completed in about ten minutes on average.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is a great attempt by developer Omega Force at merging classic Warriors style gameplay with SRPG mechanics. However, the game might be a bit too easy when compared to more hardcore tactics games like those found in the Fire Emblem series or Tactics Ogre: Let us Cling Together. Even so, Godseekers provides a great entry point for fans to be introduced to a new genre while keeping that over the top action gameplay. In the future, I hope to see Omega Force return to the SRPG genre with more entries in order to expand on this deep and intriguing universe — perhaps one starring Daqiao?