It is becoming clear that Omega Force are looking to bid the last generation of consoles farewell, as they begin releasing their three major franchises: Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors and Warriors Orochi on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles. The recently released Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is one of those “console hopping” editions, with its main claim to fame being that is has been released on the new consoles albeit with a few extra goodies.
With many similarities between the Ultimate edition and earlier editions, the questions fans are left asking themselves is: “Is it worthwhile buying almost the same game a second time round?”. This review seeks to help answer that question.
Warriors Orochi 3 doesn’t have too many characters of its own, instead serving as a crossover game between the characters of Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors, with many familiar faces from both games earning themselves both playable and storyline roles. The story starts out with a battle against an evil being known as “Hydra”, which if not dealt with immediately could result in the extinction of mankind. Three of the world’s remaining heroes: Ma Chao, Sima Zhao and Hanbei Takenaka go up against it and almost perish at the might of this being. On the brink of death, they are rescued by Moon Princess Kaguya, who uses her powers to send them back in time. With time now on their side, the three are left to acquire allies, build their strength and gain resources which will eventually allow them to defeat Hydra once and for all.
The main storyline itself isn’t anything particularly special and doesn’t deviate from earlier Warriors Orochi 3 installments, but it does provide the same charm that most Warriors games have, enticing you to continue your playthrough. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate enhances the experience by significantly extending the storyline with a fairly long post-Hydra battle storyline with new events. These events purposefully and justifiably extend the gaming experience, and are not simply tacked on for the sake of extending gametime. This is the most significant addition in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, and I was left more than satisfied at the new addition.
Exclusively for the Ultimate Edition, they have also attempted to crossover characters from a few other Koei Tecmo franchises including Kasumi from Dead or Alive and Sterkenburg from Atelier Rorona. They are solid cameo appearances which will likely appeal to fans of their respective franchises. Yet with another hundred something playable characters in the mix, they can become drowned out by all the other characters vying for a gamers attention.
Design / Music / Voice Acting
While a change in consoles doesn’t change the fact that each stage involves plowing your way through 1,000’s of enemies that look like they could be clones of one another, the shift to the PlayStation 4 / Xbox One did have a positive affect in the design department. Character models and environment designs are of a slightly higher quality, and are simply more aesthetically pleasing to look at. The biggest improvement however is that the lag issues are reduced, and the screen can have even more peons on it at once with less pop-in. Similar to my thoughts on Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, there aren’t any major improvements, but Omega Force have provided an experience that looks like it has been developed for the PlayStation 4 / Xbox One rather than just an upscaled port of last generation editions.
Music has always been one of my personal highlights from almost any “Warriors” title, and Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is no exception – with a large assortment of fast-paced musical tracks to really help get you in the mood of button mashing your way through large crowds. In terms of voice acting, Koei Tecmo decided to retain the game’s original Japanese dub and rely on English subtitles to get the story across. While I always think an English dub is a smart move to help entice a wider market to check out your game, I have no personal qualms with the Japanese dub which was of a high standard overall.
Whether it is the upcoming Hyrule Warriors, Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors or Warriors Orochi; all “Warriors” games provide the same style of button mashing where it is your character and any allies you have versus thousands upon thousands of enemies. From capturing bases, defeating a certain enemy or a goal which shifts during your time on the battlefield, the objectives of battles also differ little from previous games. The main difference in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is that rather than taking control of one character, you can take control of up to three. Rather than having all on the battlefield at once which would be more realistic, these three can be switched in and out of battle at whim – providing opportunities to perform combo skills and cooperatively attack. To make way for this addition, it is not possible for each character to hold two different types of weapon.
While each stage provides you with a recommended trio of characters to work with, it is possible to go into most battles with any three characters of your choosing. Omega Force have obviously tried to make each character unique with different non-changeable weapons and four “Warrior” types (Power, Speed, Technique and Wonder). However with each character having their own individual experience gauge, you may find yourself sticking with three characters for most of the time rather than diversifying your choice of fighter.
While the core “Warriors” experience differs very little in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate when compared against other titles, there were a few new additions that made this instalment stand out from others. The most noticeable is the new “Gauntlet Mode”, which sees a five-man team make their way through a number of stages each comprised of multiple battlefields. Your quest in each battlefield is to activate Dragon Portals until you find one that allows you to escape (Others provide benefits such as healing and buffs). While increasing in challenge and ultimately leading to a major boss, the main perk of this mode is that it allows you to gather experience points and rare items that can be transitioned to other game modes. Overall this mode was highly enjoyable and offered plenty of post-game replayability outside the main story campaign.
The other new mode is “Duel Mode”, which are 3 vs 3 battles that incorporate a card battle element into it as well. Essentially this battle sees you going against other players while using the strategy cards to perform skills that fall under four categories (Attack, Impede, Support and Special). This mode ended up being lackluster in comparison to Gauntlet Mode, and was essentially the main battle system with a few card skills introduced to shake things up a bit.
Final Words on Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate
While there are some huge similarities between Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate and earlier instalments released between 2011 and now, this is far from a simple port and featured some genuinely enticing new content that improved the gaming experience considerably. The additional storyline chapters were a significant addition that ended up adding many hours to the main campaign, while the new “Gauntlet Mode” alone should provide fans with many hours of playtime. Those who enjoyed the earlier releases may find plenty of value in the Ultimate edition, but all newcomers should jump immediately to the current generation editions instead of any older ones.
That being said, I doubt many would have said no to Koei Tecmo and Omega Force dedicating the extra months to work on Warriors Orochi 4 instead.