Dynasty Warriors Next|
It's inevitable and quite possibly destined that you will find a Dynasty Warriors title or spin-off on every PlayStation console and handheld device at some time or another. Owners of the newly released PlayStation Vita won't have to wait long with the launch-day release of Dynasty Warriors Next. The series that has come to be known for "the same old thing" has been given new life on the Vita with a few new features.
Dynasty Warriors Next follows the story of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms set at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty. Players get to assume the role of some of the greatest generals in China's history, such as my personal favorites Cao Cao and Liu Bei, through several campaigns levels. That is only the beginning of the fun that you will have as you cut down your foes by the thousands in the Campaign Mode. There are 4 other extensive modes of play that I will cover later on.
Now I know there are some of you out there that are probably saying that there is no way that Dynasty Warriors can get out of its mindless hack and slash rut and seemingly stale gameplay. I'm here to say otherwise. I fall in the "like the series anyways" category when it comes to Dynasty Warriors so I am kind of biased here, and I will admit that the core combat mechanics are much the same for you returning fans, but for the first time users, Dynasty Warriors Next features a pretty easy combat system that has you utilizing the Triangle, O, X and Square buttons to string together attacks to cut, pummel and shot your way through more enemies than you can possibly imagine. The core objective of each mission is usually to take control of every key location on the battlefield while not failing to protect your own Allied Base. There are other stipulations that may come into effect such as characters not falling in battle as well but for the most part it's a matter of controlling the whole field and taking out a key "boss".
The thing that sets Next apart from all the others is the use of the Vita's motion sensor, front touchscreen and back touch pad. To break up the constant button mashing gameplay Next features Ambush instances that range from attacking enemies to thrown projectiles. To keep from being hit, the player must flick the touchscreen over the targets to deflect them. These moments come at random and not only incorporate the touch motions but often use the motion sensor to look around to hit targets just off screen. Its a brilliant way to mix up the gameplay, but not as brilliant as the use of the motion sensor, touchscreen and pad to pull off Duels, Direct Breaks, Speed Musou and Musou Attacks.
All of these attacks will differ depending on the character you are commanding but their activations are all the same. Duels happen when you come upon a major enemy player or mission boss. These fights are one-on-one bouts that require you to flick your finger across the screen in the shown Quick Time Events as well as tapping random spots on the screen to deflect damage. if your successful you get to lay into your foe with a barrage of flick-based attacks until their finished. Direct Breaks are used by tapping the front screen in the direction that you want to attack. This attack is extremely powerful and best of all will stop a base from being recaptured.
The Speed Musou and Musou Attacks however are my favorite attacks and feature of Dynasty Warriors Next. The Musou Attacks have two forms depending if you are playing alone or in Coalition mode. They are activated by tapping anywhere on the screen to trigger it. The truly cool attacks are the Speed Musou which use the front or back touch panels or the motion sensor depending on the character and are activated by tapping on the left and right side of the front touchscreen simultaneously. My favorite by far is Cao Cao's Musou which uses the rear touch pad to launch ice attacks from the ground by tapping the rear pad where you want them to rise. This is a perfect attack if you are surrounded by hordes of enemies.
Dynasty Warriors Next contains some seriously gameplay features but what ties everything together is the visuals and sound of ancient China warfare. I had my doubts at first on whether the Vita had the chops to render so many troops on the battlefield without some sort of lag. Happily I have to say that Omega Force used the Vita's vibrant OLED screen and processing power to great effect with no visible lag or hiccups as far as I could tell. The combat was just butter smooth and beautifully detailed. The special attack animations and cut scenes are also drop dead gorgeous for a handheld device.
The audio also complements the visuals nicely despite the usual constantly repeated catch phrases. The Vita boasts some pretty big sound from its speakers and Dynasty Warriors Next utilizes that with solid sounding attacks and the usual fast paced background audio. I'm also impressed with the undiminished audio when using my favorite pair of headphones when I'm on the go.
Dynasty Warriors is a series that usually doesn't disappoint on features and modes. As I mentioned there are several other modes that you can sink your teeth into such as the Conquest, Coalition, Gala and Edit mode. Conquest Mode allows you to try your chops at united a torn land by using your favorite forces or your own custom created one based on presets with level increasing territories. Coalition Mode allows you to play with other real players over local Ad-Hoc for some great combat and even powerful combos.
Gala Mode features a bunch of little modes that are unlocked as you play the main game. Starting off you have access to the Musou Snapshots which allows you create cool and unique pictures using both cameras and a slew of unlockable stamps. You allow have access to the Steeplechase mode that has you riding a horse to a designated area before your time runs out all the while maneuvering around obstacles and enemy troops. Edit mode is one of my favorite modes as it allows you to create your own officers using presets and dressing them in outfits that you unlock after completing missions. You can actually use these officers in the Coalition and Conquest modes to make you feel like your having a role in shaping Ancient China.
Dynasty Warriors Next was the second title that I got to experience on the Vita and I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed with this mobile offering. At its heart is the same old combat that fans love, but there is enough added Vita supported functions to make Dynasty Warriors Next the new evolution in large scale combat on the small screen. I only wish they could bring this kind of gameplay to a console. If you love the Dynasty Warrior franchise and own a Vita then this is an installment you don't want to miss.