Dynasty Warriors 7 Xtreme Legends review for PS3

Platform: PS3
Publisher: Tecmo KOEI
Developer: KOEI
Medium: Blu-ray Disc
Players: 1 – 2
Online: Yes

It?s not been too long since Dynasty Warriors 7 hit consoles, but Koei is back at it again with Dynasty Warriors 7 Xtreme Legends. This isn?t just a simple rehash of the first release though. In fact, you won?t even has access to Story or Conquest mode from DW7 unless you still own the disc. But you?ve still got a lot of Dynasty Warriors action to check out here.

The main mode here is the Legends mode, which puts you in control of a small town that needs to be upgraded. This is done by completing missions given to you through the City Guard menu of your town. These missions, like most aspects of Dynasty Warrior games, are told through stories involving historical events and people in ancient China. Of course, people probably weren?t wielding lightning infused weapons and magic back then, but you?ve got to expect some liberties taken in Dynasty Warriors.

The core battle stuff is pretty much like all DW games at this point. You?ll hack and slash your way through nameless hordes of enemies, and occasionally go toe to toe with a tougher, named enemy General. The Generals put up the biggest fight, have their own special Musou attacks, and are usually the guys you need to beat to finish out a level. You?ll also be accompanied by AI Generals for your side, and on occasion characters will switch sides in the middle of battles. Each mission starts with a specific goal that tends to change as the battle goes on and certain conditions are met. Battling against nameless goons is fun for a bit, but as a DW fan I?ll admit it can get a bit stale. The game does have a pretty wide range of difficulty settings to make it more challenging though, and if you choose to ramp it up you?ll find some of the battles can get a little ridiculous.

The biggest draw, also like most DW games, comes from unlocking a ton of stuff throughout. You?ll start off with a pretty big roster of characters to choose from, all of which can be maxed out with their various stats, have certain weapons to equip and find, and so on. Xtreme Legends doesn?t use a level up system found in other DW titles though, instead you?ll earn skill points for killing Generals and then dump those skills into character specific abilities. While in battle you can select a character to run your city while you?re out fighting, and that character will gain stat increases from doing so, essentially allowing you to level up two guys at once which is kind of nice.

You?ll pick up a variety of weapons in each fight, and these weapons have seals that need to be broken by your local blacksmith. The blacksmith can hold a certain number of weapons for you, and while you?re out in battle you?ll earn points that break open the seals. When a seal is broken, it unlocks a specific power like Attack Up or Defense Up. Then that seal can be fitted into any weapon you currently own. Weapons only have so many slots for seals to be inputted, so you?ll need to customize them to enhance your current character.

A complaint I have about the weapon system, the blacksmith, and discovering seals is that the menus for these things aren?t user friendly. When you go to the blacksmith and bring up your weapon selection screen, everything is divided into weapon type. You then need to select that weapon type to see your available weapons within it, and only then can you see if there are any seals available to level up. There are other elements of the in-game menu design I found to be a little clunky, and I really wish more thought was put into streamlining that side of the game. You?ll not spend a great deal of time bogged down in menus, so it?s not a huge deal, but still a bit annoying to contend with.

Besides the Legends mode, you?ll also be able to partake in a series of challenges with all available characters. Challenges consist of activities like Rampage, which gives you a time limit to kill as many enemies as possible, or Bridge Melee that has you knocking enemies off a bridge within a certain amount of time. These challenges are tied into online leaderboards, and can also be tackled with a second player in tow. I actually enjoyed most of these side activities, and wouldn?t mind seeing something similar pop up in other DW games in the future.

All in all I found Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends to be a fun side-game to the core version of 7 that released earlier this year. There?s a lot of content here if you enjoy the standard games and want to unlock everything, but not enough of a change here to sway non DW fans into checking this out. I find myself enjoying it quite a bit, but I also dropped 90 hours into Dynasty Warriors Gundam 3, so take from that what you will. This isn?t my favorite game in the series, but I do like upgrading my town and characters, and the challenge stuff has kept me interested past the Legends mode. I think it?s definitely worth checking out if you remotely enjoy Dynasty Warriors titles, and this provides enough of a fresh experience for those that are a little burned on the core series.

Grade: B-