Dynasty Warriors 9 review for PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, Xbox One
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

In one way, Dynasty Warriors 9 represents a huge step forward for the series. Gone are the discrete maps that marked each new level, replaced by a massive open world for you to explore and conquer. There?s also a stealth feature this time out…but let?s be honest, if you?re playing Dynasty Warriors 9 — or if you?re playing any other Warriors musou game, for that matter — you?re probably not playing because you want to skulk around in the shadows. You?re here because you want to hack and slash your way through thousands of enemies (and, possibly, learn about a skewed version of Chinese history, but I?m assuming that?s secondary for most people).

The good news is that, even with the changes, you can still hack and slash your way through thousands of enemies. Whether you?re battling your way through a castle or you?ve stumbled across one of the many, many enemy camps scattered around the map, you can hack and slash to your heart?s content. There are minor changes here and there as far as combos and boosts go, but, at its core, the game isn?t all that different from its predecessors.

That?s not entirely a good thing, mind you. Warriors games have always struggled with draw distances, and that issue is on full display here. It?s not uncommon for swarms of enemies to only appear at the very last second, when you?re almost literally right on top of them. In fact, if anything, the open world has only magnified the problem, since everywhere you turn, you can see the horizon popping onto the screen in the distance. In some ways, this makes navigation kind of difficult, since it makes it hard to tell what obstacles will be in your way in any given direction…though at the same time, I was able to ride my horse across a lake, so it?s not like environmental obstacles really impede your movement that much.

This isn?t the only problem that?s magnified by the open world, either. In fact, the open world also magnifies the whole franchise?s biggest problem: that it?s a little (okay, a lot) repetitive. It?s easy to overlook that fact when you?re going through the game one castle or battlefield at a time. When you?ve got a huge map where that?s all you do, with only sidequests (that, truth be told, aren?t all that different from the main quests), it?s easy for things to get boring kind of quickly.

Yet, even with these flaws, it?s hard to say that Dynasty Warriors 9 isn?t worth checking out, at least if you?re a fan of any of the Warriors games. It?s neat to see the franchise trying something new, even if it doesn?t totally succeed. More importantly, none of the new stuff takes away from what makes Warriors games fun in the first place: you still get to single-handedly mow down enemy army after enemy army. No matter what else may have changed, that core fact remains the same in Dynasty Warriors 9 — and as long as that?s true, that?s really all that matters.

Koei Tecmo provided us with a Dynasty Warriors 9 PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: B