Jump Festa is a yearly event hosted by Shueisha, the publishers of Jump line of comics, where Jump-related paraphernalia and games are put on display as well as stage events and announcements. It's also a good event for companies that have Jump-related things out to display some of their own non-Jump-related things.
Tecmo Koei, developers of One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 were at the event with several games on display. Among them was the latest Dynasty Warriors game, Dynasty Warriors 7.
The Dynasty Warriors series has lasted for 12 years and is a formula that works; it's a genre unto itself. So much so that numerous spinoffs involving other IP have been released, like the aforementioned One Piece: Pirate Warriors series, the Dynasty Warriors: Gundam series, and the Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage series. The last game in the Dynasty Warriors series I'd touched was Dynasty Warriors 4 so I was interested in seeing how the game had evolved over the past 9 years.
The gameplay was as to be expected of a veteran series. The action was smooth and responded to the controls naturally -- and the difficulty was well balanced enough to give you the feeling of being a badass while not being so easy as to be boring. I believe there were new features compared with the previous game, but my only point of reference was from a game on the PS2, so I couldn't really tell if they were new, or just new to me. Overall, it was a solid game that will probably satisfy lovers of the genre.
One thing I noticed while I waited for my turn on the demo machine was the abundance of girls waiting in line to play. About half of the people there were female. Call me a chauvinist, but considering the nature of the game in question, (running through a 14th century battlefield and single-handedly killing hundreds of soldiers) it seems to be geared more for a male audience.
I suppose it could be due to the popularity of the Sengoku Basara series, a Dynasty Warrior-like game series from Capcom that is popular among women for its bishonen character designs. Looking at Dynasty Warriors 7 I could see that the character designs and poses were far more stylised than those I remember...
It may just be a marketing method to get girls to play the game. Whichever way they're doing it, I'm glad they're actively trying to make the game accessible to female gamers, instead of making it the standard male-dominant testosterone-filled rage-fest so many other games tend to be.
Dynasty Warriors 7 is scheduled for release on February 28, 2013 on the PlayStation 3.