Written by Brock Poulsen, brockst4r Saturday, 03 September 2011 11:00
Another day, another Dynasty Warriors. March 29, 2011 saw the release of Dynasty Warriors 7, the 79th entry in the long-running series (not necessarily an accurate count). On November 11, 2011 the gaming world will be graced with Dynasty Warriors 7: Extreme Legends. With every new entry, it becomes more apparent to me that a change -- nay, an outright coup -- is needed.
My younger brother (whose gaming neuroses I have previously mentioned) is a fan of the series, and faithfully purchases every new sequel and spinoff. I've often puzzled over this fact, and never received a satisfactory answer as to why. There are minor changes, but certainly not enough to warrant the absolute slew of games. The latest game is sitting at 57% on MetaCritic; clearly something needs to give. Realistically the franchise has too much momentum to be rebooted at this time, but on the off chance it happens, here's how it should go down.
First off, according to generally accepted reboot conventions (and taking a page from Tomb Raider), we'll call it Dynasty Warrior. Removing the pluralization is a reflection of the next big step for the reboot: scale it way back.
No more will the player swing a tree-trunk of a sword and destroy entire populations with every swing. I'd love it if every battle was more like the encounters in Demon's Souls or Bushido Blade. Yes, I realize Bushido is a uniquely Japanese concept and Dynasty Warriors takes place in the Chinese Romance of the Three Kingdoms storyline. But it's really the perfect vision of what would rejuvenate the franchise. And there's a Dynasty Warriors spinoff series called Samurai Warriors. So I'm not worried about cross-pollination.
The ancient Chinese setting is one of incredible potential and appeal, but the franchise has been milked to the point of exhaustion. Gamers sneer at each new entry, but the series actually started as a competent button-masher. It's now considered something of a joke (and the constant nearly identical entries don't help matters). Bushido Blade, on the other hand, is a franchise that hasn't been relevant in over a decade but about which many gamers have fond memories. I remember the tense one-hit-kill battles where a brief lapse in concentration spelled certain death. Some measure of this mechanic could be very favorably applied to the large-scale battles of Dynasty Warriors.
It could even go a step further and integrate motion controls. I'm specifically thinking of my experiences with Sports Champions, and what a joy it was to hack and slash with super accurate motion tracking.
So, Koei, perhaps instead of Dynasty Warriors 7: Legends Extreme Strikeforce Orochi, you'll take my advice and give this franchise a chance to redeem itself.