In 206 BC, the Han Dynasty took control of Imperial China. For the next 400 years, the country would see a time of peace and prosperity. This was a time of inventions and significant advances in Chinese culture including papermaking, negative numbers in mathematics, and even the nautical steering rudder. Through several revolts including the Yellow Turban Rebellion, the power of the Han Dynasty was slowly crumbling. Following the Death of Emperor Ling in 189 AD, members of the aristocracy and military governors became warlords each fighting for their share of the empire.
This time of turmoil is where the great book, Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三國演義) is based. The historical and mythological writings of Luo Guanzhong chronicled the lives of the feudal lords who tried to replace or restore the falling Han Dynasty.
The foundation of Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series is based on this book, and the events that transpired. In Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers, our protagonist Zhao Yun and his close companion Lei Bin are immediately confronted by members of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. While fending off the attackers, Zhao Yun discovers a mysterious young girl trapped within the cave. While the rebellion was short lived, the nation soon turns to chaos. This means that not only is Zhao Yun tasked with discovering her secret origins, but also with determining a side in the many battles which will determine the nation's next emperor.
This led me on a thirty-hour journey to complete all ten chapters. So far, I have completed half of the extra missions for new characters and only a handful of the side missions. On top of all that, the game offers a new game plus mode upon completion where you can retrace your journey while retaining your stats and levels. To do everything the game offers, I would be looking at another thirty hours or more, and that's not taking into account what's required for the Platinum Trophy.
For curious trophy hunters, this is not an easy platinum. While most of the trophies can be obtained with one run through, a couple of them are just flat out crazy. "Fully Loaded" is obtained after completing the Skill Board for each officer. "Grizzled Veteran" is for developing one unit to the maximum level. And, "Tested Under Fire" is for completing all of the Free Battles in the game. The last two are challenging but obtainable. "Fully Loaded" is just flat out crazy. Below is a picture of my Skill Board for Zhao Yun, my most used character, before heading into the final battle. As you can see, I am heading into this with only about half of the board complete. I have 24 characters unlocked at this point. While I plan on spending many more hours in the game, by its English description, this trophy seems almost unattainable. Keep me posted if you end up getting this trophy and how you did it.
Speaking of the Skill Board, this system really helps to shape the game, personalizing it to your play style. By obtaining skill points you choose exactly what you want to unlock. This provides each character with three skills from their board as well as increases to the units stats. Instead of loading up on smaller skills that use less points, I worked my way to the edge of the board as fast as possible with Zhao Yun and built from there. He has Recovery Ultra equipped, which restores fifteen percent of his health, as well as any allied units within one square, at the start of each turn. The other two skills equipped are Merciless, which occasionally defeats an enemy unit with a single attack, and Break Defense, which breaks through an enemy unit's guard. On top of that I have focused on upgrades to Spirit, Dexterity, Health, and Defense. He has become a monster on the battlefield, able to withstand attacks from all directions while taking down even the toughest bosses with ease on Normal difficultly.
The other major way to upgrade your character is with the weapons system. Each character has a unique weapon type that attacks in a particular pattern. While each character is locked into one weapon type, you can fuse abilities to that weapon from any other weapon in the game. Zhao Yun uses a spear that I have upgraded to include Shock, Strenth +23%, Defense +21%, and Dexterity +32% on top of its already powerful 149 Attack. As you can tell, I chose to go with a few of the stats I didn't concentrate on while building his Skill Board. The choice is yours for every character in the game!
If you have played a Dynasty Warriors game, then you will know that the sheer number of characters can be both a strength and weakness. With so many characters weaving in and out of the story as the tides of battle change, it can be complicated to remember exactly who is who. Of course, you will remember classics like Cao Cao and Lu Bu, but remembering the tertiary characters and the roles they play can be challenging. Granted, this doesn't even compare to the actual book, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which comes close to 1000 characters across its 120 chapters.
The game does have a system that helps alleviate some confusion with the mass amount of characters. Path of Destiny lets you look into conversations on both sides of the battle to see how different characters interact with each other. If you are into the characters, unlocking each of these is a must as you will discover witty banter and insights into why they support one leader over another. This is also how you will unlock new characters. As you reach a certain level and complete various missions your respect level with a character will rise. This will give you the opportunity to join them in a new battle. Complete this and they will join your side!
Outside of the series setting and iconic characters, Dynasty Warriors is most noted for its strategic hack and slash battle system. This is by far the biggest change with this entry. While you are still trying to eliminate enemy generals and take over certain territories to swing the battle in your favor, you are now doing this in a top-down approach tactically moving each character one by one. This surprisingly works really well for this series.
By the end of the game, you will have seven different types of attacks for each character. Each attack has a unit cost which starts at two and goes up to four. Typically you don't gain more until the start of the next round. As you defeat units you gain Musou, a series staple that allows your characters to perform special abilities.
For this game, they added a special type of attack called the Synchro Attack which gives each character teamed up for the group attack five more attack points and the ability to attack again. After the last character attacks, you then have a special finisher that multiplies the damage you have done with each attack before it. If you are able to do this with five characters at once you can do 100% more damage to an area you choose. While I absolutely love using this attack, it can feel over powered at times. That still didn't stop me from using it every chance I got, just to see the cool animation of my units laying waste to everything surrounding them.
Maybe it's the fact that I have played a lot of Strategy RPGs lately or the over powered nature of Synchro, but Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers felt surprisingly easy on the Normal difficulty setting. There were only a few maps that really challenged me. I can't imagine playing through the game on easy. When I start up new game plus, I'm definitely going to check out the harder difficulty. However, this never once hindered my enjoyment of the game or my desire to check out the next map often staying up way too late just to get another mission done.
This is the perfect game for the PlayStation Vita. Unlike a traditional warriors game, its slower pace allows you to stop the game at any point and pick it back up later without missing a beat. If you are looking for a game you can start on the morning commute, then finish up while you're watching Netflix at home, then look no further. You will most definitely find enough content to keep you engaged for hours if not months to come. Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers has earned a permanent home on my Vita.
While this is a different spin on the tried and true Dynasty Warriors format, it works splendidly. The tactical nature of each battle is well represented and perfect for Sony's portable system.
- Loaded With Content
- Synchro Mode
- Interesting Story
- Easier Than Expected