Spring Break this year involved plenty of writing/research but also some much needed gaming. I recently acquire a copy of Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires for PlayStation 3 and I immediately jumped into the new create-a-warrior mode. My customized character’s story is the stuff of Mary Sue fan fiction – a European traveler turned mercenary during the Three Kingdoms Period of ancient China. Along with slaying, on average, about 900 peons per battle, she violates all kinds of historical gender and fashion norms – complete with charmingly anachronistic hipster glasses. I’ve been playing this series for over 10 years and I still enjoy the inevitable and increasingly ridiculous sequels.
As a veteran of the Dynasty Warriors series, it’s refreshing to play Empires mode with a customized character in a fairly open-ended narrative after playing the same story several times with the same cast of characters across the core games and the spin-offs. I haven’t actually played the core version of Dynasty Warriors 8 or Xtreme Legends – but honestly? I don’t feel like I have to because I’ve “been there, done that” since Dynasty Warriors 3. The last core Dynasty Warriors game that I played was DW7 and prior to playing DW8:E, I also tried DW4:E and DW6:E. I loved DW4:E but DW6 was lacking. I don’t think I ever finished it (thankfully, it was gift). Surprisingly, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires feels the most tactical the series has in a long time… perhaps, ever.
I particularly like that musou attacks are more varied, requiring different combinations of buttons to perform variations of the flashy but fatal attack. Evidently, Dynasty Warriors 8 took the best additions from all of the sequels and crammed them into one installment. Rage attacks from DW5; tomes a la DW6 are now strategems; and EX attacks from the seventh installment also return. Overall, the combat feels more dynamic then ever. I don’t think I want to play every single game in this series – but it’s certainly nostalgic returning to the Three Kingdoms era once again.
Even if I don’t understand why every one is praising me in Japanese.