Omega Force
Koei
Action
1-2
09.26.02

Dynasty Warriors 3


One of the best action simulation series previously only available on the PS2 finally comes to Xbox. Dynasty Warriors 3 is a "war" game that involves the ancient Chinese. Taking on the role of a Chinese general, you must be heroic and battle your way through a plethora of enemies.

This game is packed with thousands of warriors, and it can be confusing sometimes. Once you understand what is actually going on, you will soon figure out how this game is set up and who's side you're actually on.

Gameplay

The game gives you a certain amount of minutes to complete each level, and there are 9 different warriors to pick from initially. As you progress through the game, more become playable as you unlock them. Once you pick your general though, you must learn his or her moves, because each has a different feel. You don't have to be out fighting for, let's say 90 minutes; if you go in with a plan and fight who you have to fight, it could end in 15 minutes.

There are a lot of messages coming up on the screen all the time. The messages range from your allied forces morale status, if someone is being attacked, to telling you someone has been defeated, etc. And to add to the confusion and chaos, all the names are in ancient Chinese. There are sometimes about 8 armies that are on your side, and all of them will have Chinese names. Each is hard to keep track of. There's a lot of on screen action going on, and half the time you don't know who your allies are. If you can understand the concept of Blue Vs. Red, then you'll have no trouble understanding the map. All of your allies are in blue, and the enemies are in red. What makes it even easier to distinguish who's who is if you press the white button, the enemies will have a red health bar above them. If there is 50 or so troops in a battle, most of the time you can just go in and attack, and you'll most likely hit an enemy. There are no friendly hits, so you don't need to worry about killing your own men.

In Dynasty Warriors 3, you're mostly going to be engaged in hand-to-hand combat, otherwise known as "hack 'n slash". You can shoot your bow for long distance range with three different types of arrows. New weapons and items are scattered out throughout the battlefields. If you defeat a general, then you will be rewarded with an item, such as health, or any other weapon. Items and such can also be found in boxes that can be slashed open.

The main mode of play is the Musou mode. Other modes of play are Free, Vs, and Challenge. The Musou mode is the story mode, and Free and Vs. speak for themselves. The Challenge mode is broken down into two parts: Endurance and Time Attack. The gameplay takes place in a third person view, with the exception of when you fire arrows, then it's first person. Before you jump into battle you must set up what type of weapon you want, what bodyguards you want, and what items you want to bring with you. During battles you can ride on horses and elephants, and attack while riding.

What an accomplishment it feels when the enemy finally falls, because these battle can take anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes to complete. Your not always fighting the same type of enemy, there are many different rankings from guards, gate guards, privates, majors, to the main generals. The main leaders have full health, and are much more difficult to kill then the regular troops. There can be on average about 5 allies on each side, so they are all over the place. One thing that I didn't think was realistic was the way the game shows the amount of troops for each squad. There is no exact number given, just an indicator bar.

Every battle has its set of "conditions", and it's a good idea to check those. Conditions are what must happen for you to be victorious, or what must happen for you to be defeated. An example to have "Victory" would be you must defeat Cao Cao. Morale is also very important in this game. While you could just stand around and watch the battles, you probably should do your best and fight along side your allies. Defeating generals will bring up your troops morale, and in turn help you become victorious.

The controls seemed very awkward because the right thumbstick is not used to control your character, just the left thumbstick. As your playing though, it soon becomes trouble-free, and you'll be on your way. Your regular attack is with X, A jumps, B does your Musou attack, and Y is a charge attack. The right trigger is to shoot with your bow and arrow. The left trigger resets the camera to be behind you, and also used to block.

Graphics

The graphics in DW3 are not optimized for Xbox. There is draw-in and plenty of "fog". But there is also a lot of action going on at the same time. The one thing in this game that they optimized is the slowdown. There is none. But at the same time enemies will often appear out of thin air and you sometimes never know where they can be coming from. The cut scenes are nicely done, as they are high quality. The actual in game graphics are decent when up close, and the animations are wonderfully done. You can't really see much of the background, which is disappointing. Let's hope Koei gives us Xbox gamers some real Xbox graphics for DW4.

The characters in each army all pretty much look the same. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part everyone looks like each other's twin. All the generals, however, are unique and have prominent looking get-up. The horses actually look like real horses, and flow smoothly, but the level design seems a bit boring.

Replay Value

DW3 is packed with non-stop action. With the multiplayer co-op mode built in, this game comes out strong. The only thing that is not fun is if one of you die, the whole game is over. The strong point for the replay value is that there are over 40 characters to unlock.

Sound

The voice acting is terrible because the warriors do not sound serious at all. It sounds like they are trying so hard to be serious that it's actually funny. This is the main thing that brings this game down. The voices are all pretty much in English. The music fits the game well enough, but is not mind-blowing.

Bottom Line:

Everything is great, except for the voice acting. If you ever wondered what this game was about, let me tell you it's really surprising that there is a great game like this available. This is a PS2 port, but you should definitely give it a chance, at least before the new Dynasty Warriors 4 comes out if you haven't already. The gameplay can be a tad repetitive, but if you like epic battles, this game is "the one".

-Steve Melanson




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