Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate review for PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita

Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PS Vita, PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Medium: Blu-ray / Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

Considering I found Warriors Orochi 3 to be one of the best Dynasty Warriors / Musou titles yet when it originally released, you?d be right to assume that I enjoyed the heck out of this port for new-gen, last-gen, and PS Vita. Dubbed Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, this version features the content of the first release, and the subsequent Hyper release for Wii U. There?s a few more extras included as well, with new characters, modes, and a host of tweaks to improve the overall experience. As opposed to the paltry additions found in Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, this feels like well-rounded, fully-featured experience regardless of whether you?ve played the original.

We were provided review copies via digital code from publisher Koei Tecmo, and I played primarily through the PS4 version of the game. This allowed me to import my save from Warriors Orochi 3, provided I had updated the original game to its most recent patch. This way I could carry over my roster, experience, weapons and unlocked story mode chapters, allowing me to jump into the new content faster. Even with that initial boost, I spent a fair amount of time with all the additions here. And really, I could spend a lot more time with it still. There?s a hefty amount to see and do, so if you?re coming into this fresh, be prepared to sink some serious hours into Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate.

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For more impressions and general thoughts on the game, check out my original review here. The core of Warriors Orochi 3 hasn?t been altered in a way that makes my initial review feel out of date, so I see little need to repeat it. Instead, I?ll go over some of the changes and additions here, along with the performance boost given to the new-gen versions of the game.

While there are a number of relatively small changes between Warriors Orochi 3 and Ultimate, there are a number that feel more significant. Story Mode and Free Play still allow for three person teams, but you can now have all three warriors out on the field at once. You can still opt to switch between the warriors you control at any time on the battlefield, but having all three fighting together is a neat touch. The only drawback is that their health can be depleted while controlled by the A.I., but the added benefit of unleashing multiple musou attacks at once outweighs the negatives.

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There?s also the new ?Triple Rush? combination moves, which can vary depending on your teammates. A function labeled ?Midair Tie Up Action? is also new as an aerial move for every character that eats up a chunk of your musou gauge. Dynasty Warriors 8?s ?horst whistling? is present as well, allowing you to just tap up on the D-Pad to summon your horse, allowing for a quicker way of navigating large battlefields. There are new, more powerful weapon types available for various characters after certain conditions have been met. And there?s a color editing system allowing you some limited customization options for the diverse cast.

Story Mode features both a new epilogue and prologue for the existing story, with the prologue focusing on series villain Orochi, and the epilogue on a new character created for the game. Gauntlet Mode features a series of maps with a fog-of-war effect called miasma, shrouding the majority of the battlefield from view. Here you?ll take a team of five characters and move from one section of the map to the other, activating gates and uncovering treasure as you unlock additional levels. Gauntlet Mode is actually one of my favorite additions, providing a different sort of play style in comparison to the rest of the game.

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Duel Mode from Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper returns, allowing for 3 on 3 matchups between you and the A.I., or another player. It?s an interesting mode that allows for the use of special cards to provide bonus effects for attack and defense. Musou Battlefields is also featured again, allowing players to create their own maps, and swap out Generals and dialogue from existing maps. You can download and upload user created maps, and rate the maps other players have uploaded.

There?s a number of brand new characters, the two most recognizable being Sophitia from Soul Calibur, and Kasumi from Dead or Alive. Atelier fans will also recognize Sterkenburg Cranach from Atelier Meruru. The PlayStation 4 version of the game also features the interactive streaming chat that I?ve only experienced in the horror title Daylight, where players watching a stream can trigger items to appear through chat. I haven?t actually experienced this, but it?s a neat functionality with no negative impact on the game.

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As far as visuals go, this is certainly improved over the PS3 version of the original I had previously played. It?s clear that the improved lighting is present, and the on-screen enemy population seems higher as well. I won?t venture to say it?s the best looking game on the system, but it?s a clear step up from previous Warriors Orochi 3 ports.

All in all, this is an excellent, fully featured rendition of one of the best Dynasty Warriors games on the market. If you missed out on the original, you?ll be in for a real treat. And if you?re like me, and already devoted dozens and dozens of hours to Warriors Orochi 3, you?ll still find plenty of reasons to return in Ultimate. Definitely seek this out if you any affinity for the core Warriors formula, you won?t be disappointed.

Grade: A