Dynasty Warriors has been around for years, with the over the top take on the rise of the Chinese Empire famous for it’s over the top action and huge scale battles. Dynasty Warriors 9 is the first game in the series to make the jump to an open world setting and unfortunately, it’s a jump that just doesn’t work right with this entry. There’s a sliver of promise that it could be tweaked to be done correctly but DW9 feels sloppy, unfinished and most importantly, like an absolute chore to play.
For those of you who may not be as familiar with the Dynasty Warriors series as others, you can choose to play as one of multiple Chinese warriors, cutting through every enemy in their path on route to a show down with an equally overpowered boss. It’s a simple but satisfying premise, with the sheer feeling of taking on literally thousands of foes at a time being the hook to keep you going through the battles and through the chapters. DW9 removes this dynamic, as the open world creates a number of smaller battles around the map, which are little more than a slight reason to distract you from the horse ride between waypoints. Very shortly into the game, I actually stopped seeing any reason to get off of my horse for anything other than a boss fight, as there was just no requirement to do so. In a game that allows you to take on waves upon waves of minions at a time, a pocket of 10 enemies wasn’t anything more than a slight distraction.
Using your horse to ride between small battle to small battle isn’t fun and doesn’t feel in any way like Dynasty Warriors. The large battles and boss fights are good fun, but getting between them is just so mind numbingly boring. Small side missions and collecting herbs to craft potions feels like it’s been taken from other games and slotted in here and it makes what should be a frantic, arcade action experience turn into a lopsided, strangely paced slog. The horse riding doesn’t work very well at the best of times either. You can call your horse right to you, with it sometimes dropping out of thin air right in front of you. It moves like a carousel horse and as your cape rigidly sticks out from behind you, you can try hard to not run into some of the obstacles that dot around the environment. If you’re feeling especially brave, you can even engage auto-run, where you can, and will, crash into obstacles that you’d have no problem avoiding even if the draw distance in the game was somehow worse than it already is.
Dynasty Warriors is a simple enough premise for a game and what Dynasty Warriors 9 does is muddy that down by taking parts from Assassin’s Creed, The Witcher and other open worlds and doesn’t do any of them very well at all. This may be one of the most boring open world experiences I’ve ever had, in what has traditionally been one of the most crazy, action packed over the top gaming worlds. It’s dull, it’s ugly and even the crazily endearing parts of the series so far seem annoying. The guitar music doesn’t fit as well as it once did, the voice acting isn’t stupidly amusing any more, and apart from one big battle that falls about once every 40 minutes of gameplay there’s just nothing fun about this game.
Sadly, this is a short review for a game I should have been telling you was an over the top, non-stop action ride and in the best way, little more. On almost every level Dynasty Warriors 9 disappoints, from the graphics that would have been fantastic had they been in a game 8 years ago, to the open world setting that feels like so boringly empty. Graphics don’t make a game, but with nothing to write home about gameplay-wise either, Dynasty Warriors 9 is a shameful disappointment and is probably the worst game in the series to date.