Dynasty Warriors Next Vita

Dynasty Warriors Next: Now Playing

Picked up Dynasty Warriors Next last night for the PS Vita. Gotta say, I was a big fan of the series back in the day, but after a few iterations of the series the games started to get old for me. Think the last Dynasty Warriors game I actually played through was on the PS2….that’s been more than 10 years. So when I saw this game was being released for the vita, I was less than excited. Then the reviews started coming out singing the praises of Dynasty Warriors for actually using the vita controls in an inventive way. Thinking to myself that it has been sufficient time since my last encounter with the hack-n-slash franchise, I decided I’d give it a go.

After spending a little more than an hour with this game I knew that my purchase was a sound one. Without recounting what the series has done right or wrong, I’m just going to let you know what it is about this game that I’m enjoying thus far and why. I’ve only played the first few stages of Story Mode, but I already like the way their setting things up. The first battle is a retelling of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. You and a select few decide to overthrow the ruler of the territories causing strife for your people.

Dynasty Warriors Next Vita Territories

More Than Just Musou Mode

Things started off on a “Risk-like” battle field, with territories split up by their respective rulers/commanders. You have the option to choose strategies before the battle gets under way (up to 4) with each strategy costing some of your income that each territory brings in after battles are concluded. To further the strategy elements, you eventually get to choose a handful of officers you’d like to fight with you at the start of each battle as well. Add to that the ability to choose specific weapons and items to boost your players’ stats, and you have a fair amount of strategy that goes into your battles. I know I just breezed over a lot of things quickly so to recap: Income is gained from territories owned. Income is used to by strategies for tipping the scales in your favor prior to battle. As you collect officers, you can select your favorites to join you in battle. Collection of items and weapons greatly rewards your troops with more stat boosts. Take over territories Risk style to win the wars.

Dynasty Warriors NEXT is gorgeous! Cut scenes are well done, and it really is amazing how well the Vita handles so many characters on the screen at once, with no frame-rate issues at all. Now when it’s all boiled down, yea, those “strategies” aren’t all that strategically challenging. And yes, the core of the actual gameplay it’s still the hack-n-slash game we all remember. But some of these little additions do break up the non-stop button mashing, and add depth to the game. Moreover, when you’re actually in the thick of the battles, you usually have 2-4 key leaders that you’ve picked to assist you in battle.

Touch-Screen

By pulling the map down from its small corner spot, to a larger more detailed map (with the touchscreen) you can issue quick orders to those selected leaders by touching their blue diamond icon and dragging them to a base. Once you let go, you are then prompted to have them attack or defend, depending on whether it’s an enemy base or an allied one. Another simple, yet great feature is the touchscreen mini-games cleverly added. For example, from time to time you’ll be ambushed on your killing spree by a group of militia and you’ll be prompted to either cut them or their launched arrows down finger flicking touchscreen style. It doesn’t happen very frequently, so when it does happen, it actually accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is to throw you off your game…..and get AMBUSHED!

Dynasty Warriors Next Duel

Now I know some “professional reviewers” have said that this addition hurts the game because it breaks the flow of the hack-n-slash action. But I believe that was the whole intent of all these little additions to the norm. Breaking up the repetitive button mashing with all the above mentioned elements adds more depth to the game than it breaks up the flow. These simple additions to the already addictive fun of racking up a massive kill count go a long way to making the game more enjoyable. I will admit that the leader battles that are one on one fight scene that involve blocking, striking, and repeating may not be all the developers hoped for. I haven’t played enough yet to make a call on this.

Conclusion

While they are different and fun, more times than not they’re just frustrating. You don’t get to mash your way to victory, you have to wait, and recover, and attack, and wait, and recover, and so on. So unless things change as the game goes on, I’m not thrilled with this addition. But to add so many things, most of which work, it’s expected that some may not.

So far I’ve only focused on story mode, as that’s mainly all I’ve checked out. But I briefly looked at some of the other modes that include Conquest Mode and Coalition, that further extend the game and include online play. There seems to be plenty to unlock, and replay value galore. This game doesn’t change what make a Dynasty Warriors game, a Dynasty Warriors game (for better or worse). But to have a seriously fun DW game on my new Vita, with some attractive new uses of the controls, and tweaks to the strategy side of things that bring the gameplay up a notch from basic hack-n-slash….I’m one happy button mashing, touchscreen swiping Dynasty Warriors owner! Look for my full review of the game, once I’ve gotten a bit farther.

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