Dynasty Warriors for Dummies
With Hyrule Warriors around the corner, I was surprised at the lack of experience of most of you with Koei’s flagship franchise. Well… given the relative limited mainstream success and critical acclaim and sheer number of sequels made despite this absence of popularity, it might be closer to the company’s paddleboat ( or pédalo if you will). In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized this series really embodies the spirit of a paddleboat. Navigating at a slow pace, unable to move faster no matter how fast you pedal/press “x.” Everywhere you look water/soldiers, barely hindering your progress. You can go co-op to have at least someone to talk to while you’re grinding away. Most of the paddleboats/characters you see do look kind of good in their goofy way, but I’m always surprised they’re viable choices to sail on a lake / fight on a battlefield. You see my point.
Anyway, the most important parallel between the Warriors games and a paddleboat remains the calm nature of the activity. You turn your brain off and enjoy the ride. That’s why I think most people will enjoy Hyrule Warriors. But I’m not here to talk about new games being released, am I? I’m here to give you a crash course of the Dynasty Warriors series so you know what to expect when you eventually give in to that Zelda game lust, like me… at a paddleboat show. Hmmm… paddleboats…
So, back to Dynasty Warriors. Originally released on the Playstation, this series didn’t see anyone (by anyone, I mean me) care until the third installment on the Playstation 2. The series takes place (Yes, all 8 games) in the ancient China era of… a while ago. At that time, 3 countries rose from the dust of their very prosperous noble rich background and, with the help of thousands of peasants who owned their asses to them, built an army, dividing the kingdom in three. That era was called the Three Kingdoms era. In fact, author Luo Guanzhong retold those tales in a romanticized way in the book “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.” Think of it as China’s historical Soap Opera. Betrayal, love and passion afoot! In the end, the three Kingdoms fought together and against each other and the winner was… well… whatever Kingdom you choose in the game.
Usually, the winner is the one who starts the fire.
As a quick gaming history fact, it’s important to note that this universe came before the Warriors games in the form of the strategy games: Romance of the Three Kingdoms. These games played out the actual wars using a gameplay mixed between Warcraft and Master of Orion. You know, the kind of games that play better on a PC solely because of the convoluted user interface. Playing these games with a controller will put you less at ease than Mallow at a campfire. In short, there’s really no reason to talk about them.
This UI just screams : “Port me on a PC!”
It’s clear that the main interest of the Dynasty Warriors series is the beat ’em up aspect anyway. Hence why Nintendo and Koei are using the Dynasty series as an influence in more ways than one. The Hyrule Warriors trailers showed a lot of elements reminiscent of Koei’s traditional approach. Here area few of them:
Tolerated Genocide: You can wipe out entire races off the map, but it’s okay because they’re the bad guys. The best part? You’re considered brave for doing so.
I admire your remorseless taste for blood!
12 year old girls fighting with ridiculous weapons: Because, once they marry someone strong, their “war” fans seem to possess a lot of magic. (Or everybody runs from them to avoid prison.)
Endless stages: By endless, I don’t mean new ones. Mostly the same scenarios and battles over and over again with different characters and ways to provoke aforementioned genocide.
The circle of repetitiveness
Two sides to every medal: With Ganondorf confirmed, you know you’ll be able to play as the “villain” in Hyrule Warriors. In the Dynasty Warriors series, the “villain” is often playable too. They may not all want world domination like Ganondorf, but one guy did kill his adoptive father…. twice. That counts for something, right?
Heh. Doesn’t look THAT evil.
And so forth. In fact, the only thing that won’t be making a comeback is horribly misplaced voice acting by voice actors who don’t deserve to represent such magnificent beards. In any case, for the 6 people still reading to get relevant information on the game, know that your playthrough, if strongly inspired by Dynasty Warriors, will most likely look and sound like the following description.
You start off in a typical stage, able to easily fight off normal difficulty enemies, but completely powerless against hard difficulty enemies. Nobody really gives you much of a challenge, but it’s good enough to learn the basics. Remember those basics, because you will more than likely redo this stage for every character. For a quick reminder on the basics, here’s a quick visual help.
As the stages progress, you’ll grab some better weapons and items that will enable a longer combo. This might prove the most useful upgrade as you will now be able to press “square-square-square-square” instead of “square-square-square.” Don’t forget it will also increase the length of your Musou or whatever they’ll call it. A Musou is a special attack you can do when a gauge is filled. It is quite useful against stronger enemies, but usually wasted to clear a group of weaker ones because it IS funnier that way.
I like seeing them fly away
Anyway, you’ll spend the next few fights gaining territory, fighting against enemy factions feeling mostly engaged in the story despite the lack of logic in it all (or skipping the story on your second playthrough). When people start dying instead of running away, that means the actual final battle is near. When completed, you will ask outloud: “Done already?” and you’ll start over 10 or so times depending on the value of x in the following code:
Character number = x
if (campaignComplete == true)
#Now we wait for people to call bullshit on most of my code being in mixed programming languages I can’t remember.
In the end, you’ll probably attack the Hard difficulty once or twice once you’ve gained enough items and power-ups for it to feel like Normal difficulty. Who likes challenge anyway? If you’re assuming that I dislike Dynasty Warriors style beat-em’ ups because of the way I described them, you’d be wrong. I love them. They’re repetitive, brainless, pointless and yet so relaxing. Exactly like paddleboats. It’s no speedboat or jetski. It’s not as exciting as surfing, parasailing or waveboarding. But it is smooth, and smooth is good. Think about it, you know I’m right.
Exclusive screenshot of Hyrule Warriors
See you guys in two weeks!