Defending The Game People Hate

While it was once one of the most popular and well received series in gaming, Dynasty Warriors seems to receive more and more negative feedback with each iteration. This is not due to radical shifts in gameplay and/or tone -- as many game sequels are accused of doing -- but rather the exact opposite: Negative comments centre around Tecmo Koei's insistence to stick to the formula that made it a well-known franchise. I'm not so sure, though, that this hate from gamers is justified.

It's true there are certain things you can expect from a Dynasty Warriors title -- namely slaughtering thousands of enemies in hand-to-hand combat. The gameplay cycle of Dynasty Warriors has been the same for over a decade: 1) lead your armies to a contested area, 2) kill "generals" in that immediate area to scatter their armies, and 3) repeat until no enemies remain. And of course, as the battle system and progression arc are the series' core game mechanics, all Dynasty Warriors titles play basically the same. So what changes if not the gameplay?

The answer is "the setting". While the series often returns to its roots in the Chinese epic "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" the Dynasty Warriors formula has spread to other historical settings as well. Feudal Japan, Ancient Greece, and even the European Hundred Years War have been visited at least once.

Moreover, this core gameplay has proven suitable for fictional worlds, as the most popular Dynasty Warriors games in recent memory have been adaptations of some of Japan's most famous anime. Whether it's giant robots, a man fighting across a post-apocalyptic wasteland, or a band of pirates adventuring across the seven seas, the Dynasty Warriors formula has been well suited to the task.

So perhaps it is time to stop looking at Dynasty Warriors as a series that has gone stale and more as the epitome of a genre. While many great games from Bayonetta to God of War have been listed as part of the hack-and-slash genre, no game more denotes the idea of what it means to be hack-and-slash than Dynasty Warriors.

And while it's perfectly acceptable to find hack-and-slash titles unappealing as a whole, criticising Dynasty Warriors for just staying true to its hack-and-slash roots is like complaining that the Street Fighter series continues to be only about people punching and kicking each other in one-on-one fights. Dynasty Warriors should be judged by what kind of game it is aiming to be and whether it succeeds at that goal, not on some abstract concept of what a good game should be or the way in which video games should evolve.


Comments

    while i may not like dynasty warriors as a game i do think it gets alot more negative feedback for not trying to improve its gameplay i mean look at COD its been the same game since the 1st modern warefare while it has added afew new features gameplay wise it is still the same so why should dynasty warriors be criticised for staying true to its roots?

      I'd say the main difference is the feel. While Call of Duty still feels responsive and kind of new, even if they're pumping out the same thing over and over again, they're still right at the top of the FPS industry, and FPS combat hasn't really evolved past the point it's currently at.

      For games like Dynasty Warriors though, we're spoiled by action games like Devil May Cry, God of War, Bayonetta, etc. The enemy AI is good, the combat is interesting, and the mechanics are all up to date and new. It is hard to achieve this with a game with as many characters as Dynasty Warriors, and to achieve the good AI feeling with such a large battlefield being simulated. Despite this, there are many things which could be readily improved to drastically increase the complexity and fun of the game.

      So while COD is still at the forefront of the industry, even if the games have all essentially been the same, Dynasty Warriors is falling behind, resulting in all the negative feedback.

        @Roninski: Your still kind of comparing apples to oranges there. While true that you may consider the Dynasty series as a brawler type game there's a fine difference between DN's one man general vs army scale and the multi opponent brawling involved in DMC, Bayonetta, GoW, etc.

        I would consider DN to be technically a genre of its own.. if you were going to compare different games the closest competition would be the Ninety Nine Nights games by Konami. Thats the only other 1 man general vs army game I've ever come across.

        Also "feel" is a rather subjective category to a fan of the series DN might still feel as great and crisp w/ new iterations... in the same opposite way that to a non FPS fan every game is pretty much you w/ a gun shooting things. Or how racing is always just pressing accelerate and turning a car again and again..

        If anything I would assume the only reason why the DN series really gets so much flak is the fact that as a genre of its own it's not as "popular" as the other more established/mainstream games like fighting, racing, fps, etc.

    I really enjoy all the Musou games, they deliver exactly what they promise and you know what you are in for from the very beginning. They don't make overly radical changes or try to pander to a "wider audience" which has been the downfall of many of my favourite series.

    I want to run around a large battlefield, mowing down thousands of enemies while having a fun time fighting each general, the casts are huge and the story is expanded upon with each new release. The combat is simple and rewarding, even more so if you take the time to learn and perfect the more advanced combos.

    Without the Dynasty Warrior games I'd most likely never have discovered and enjoyed the many films based on it, most noticeably the Battle of Red Cliff or the actual series of novels them self.

    One of my most anticipated games of this year is Musou Orochi 3. I'm also hoping that we eventually see a Highschool of the Dead Musou game which should fit perfectly into the series. D:

    It's like saying racing sim games are stale because the gameplay mechanics never change. Well duh, you're playing a game that focuses of racing cars, of course there're not gonna be much changes.

    Similar to musou/dynasty warrior games.

    There are changes, it is just not something that most people would notice. The balance of characters changes, usually they have a fully modified moveset.

    For example, Dynasty Warriors Next for the Vita introduces the chain link button that cancels hits and lets you do bigger combos. Okay, that is obvious. But it also had the more subtle change of extending the range of a lot of characters, presumably to make killing large groups of people easier to keep the pace of the game up.

    Etc etc etc.

    The changes are there, the way the story is presented changes every time, the way it plays feels different [particularly at a level higher than easy mode where the game gets super hard].

    The hate is the same hate people have for any pseudo sequals in games that only modify balance... Super Street Fighter, etc.

    Is it a valid argument? Personally I think not, but that said I must admit that every time I see a new COD of Battlefield game and notice it has not evolved much past the fps's I played 10 years ago I roll my eyes.

    I find people look at these games the wrong way. They play them as a brawler and then wonder why it gets repetitive. Y'know, they consider each indiviual enemy as, well, and individual enemy as opposed to each group being the enemy.

    The game itself is more about the ebb and flow of battles and controlling that and all that sort of gear instead of being a straight up brawler.

    Still, it's not exactly for everybody.

    Series was one of my favourite guilty pleasure games until the iteration where they removed unique weapon sets. Then it was totally unappealing.

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