Dynasty Warriors 9 is the absolute epitome of “cool idea, terrible execution.” Dynasty Warriors is a series etched in history as being supremely over-the-top and action-packed while having a decent story. Decent enough to serve as a vessel for you to get to the next crazy action sequence, at the very least—nothing Oscar-worthy, but decent enough.
Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sonada and Warriors All-Stars came out last year, and I was fortunate enough to review both of those games. I thought that they were both pretty decent, good enough to recommend to anyone who appreciates action games. Dynasty Warriors 9 is the opposite of those games because I can’t recommend it to a single person. I was so excited to play this game because it was taking the tried and true formula for these games and putting an open-world spin on it. I know that open world games do not always work depending on the game; it’s just not the kind of formula that melds well with everything. I thought that, somehow, the speedy zipping around different maps would translate well to a big open map, but the big open map basically sucked all of the character from the game.
The map in this game is the blandest, most boring thing I have ever seen. It’s so incredibly empty and devoid of fun. It’s like they took a big square and just kind of pushed and pulled some spots for peaks and valleys, slapped some textures on them, shotgunned the same three or four tree models all over it, and…that was it. The same copy-and-pasted garrison can be found about 200 times throughout the map, as well, some with friendly troops and some with enemy troops.
There are also towns, and they somehow managed to make almost every single one of these towns and castles in ancient China look exactly the same. This game feels like they spent a really long time doing absolutely nothing because the game has so little substance that it hurts to play for an extended period of time. Dynasty Warriors 9 touts over playable 80 characters and they all feel exactly the same because every character can use every weapon. Yeah, granted, they all have their couple of special attacks, but none of them really stand out.
They hit in a wide area and do a fair amount of damage. That’s it.
That’s basically every single special move.
There are a few other things added to the game to accommodate its open world, such as roaming parties and hunting. Both of these things are completely dull and no fun at all. You have a bow that you can use for hunting various animals, and you can also use it in combat (but why the hell would you use such a slow weapon in this game?). The roaming parties are either just completely bland (or three times your level), making them impossible to care about. I just ride right past them. Speaking of riding, you’ll be doing a whole lot of that in this game in case there are no fast-travel points between you and your next objective. You’ll (likely) spend more than half of your game just going places and doing nothing, a quarter of your time in cutscenes (or skipping dialogue), and a quarter actually fighting.
By the way, the fighting isn’t actually fun. I don’t know if it’s because I’m only using the regular PS4 instead of the Pro, but this game runs like ungodly horse shit. They know what kind of game they’re making, they know what people want, so why wouldn’t you spend time and effort making sure that it runs well? Whatever it was that went through the heads of the developers as they were making this game, I imagine that it was really good for like two months, and the rest of the development time was just white noise.
Nothing is exciting about this game. The fighting system isn’t any fun—it’s different, slightly, from the usual formula, but it’s not fun. The open world is entirely pointless and makes the game awful. So much of the shittiness that comes from this game stems from the open world aspect. Traveling is either instantaneous and makes big fights feel completely worthless, or you have to spend ten (or more) minutes riding there, only to bum-rush the boss and kill them in thirty seconds.
Dynasty Warriors 9 feels so completely pointless to play, it’s the least rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced. You’ll be able to see exactly what I’m talking about with our accompanying video (below), where I’ll show you a whole bunch of the awful shit in this game. Beyond the boring, pointless gameplay, there’s tons of weird buggy shit that happens all the time and… well, you’ll see.
Don’t buy this shit ever.
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