Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate review

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"Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is another superb hack n’ slash entry packed with what seems an endless amount of content."

Despite being a lifelong Dynasty Warriors fan, Warriors Orochi went completely under my radar when it first released back in 2007. The first two releases were critically panned, so I never bothered with the third installment. When I heard Koei Tecmo was re-releasing an “Ultimate” edition of WO3 I was a bit confused, but considering their superb DW 8: Extreme Legends Complete Edition from a few months ago, I tried putting all skepticism aside. I am glad I stayed optimistic. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is another superb hack n’ slash entry packed with what seems an endless amount of content and the same smooth action seen in Tecmo’s DW HD upgrade earlier this year. While the gameplay remains largely unchanged and does little to attract newcomers, this is an absolute must for franchise devotees and those looking for chaotic wuxia action.

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is a re-release and sequel to Warriors Orochi 3. The story mode opens with a gargantuan eight-headed serpent beast massacring through the warriors. With Moon Princess Kaguya’s help, it’s up to the three remaining heroes: Ma Chao, Sima Zhao and Hanbei Takenaka to travel back in time and defeat the monstrous Hydra. The game assumes you’re familiar with the series and does little to introduce its characters and lore. This is not a problem for long time fans, but newcomers are likely to feel lost and confused. Luckily, these games have never been about the narrative or complex character developments. Once you’re let loose on the battlefield, the story just becomes background noise. 


"I didn’t experience any slowdown regardless of how many enemies filled the screen."

One of the main complaints with previous Warriors Orochi entries was the abysmal framerate. I’m happy to report that Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate runs like a dream. I didn’t experience any slowdown regardless of how many enemies filled the screen. There were a few times when the frame rate slightly chugged, but this only happened during moments of complete chaos when the entire screen filled with explosions and NPCs. One of the most exciting additions is the ability to switch between team members during a fight by tapping the shoulder button. With each character also given a second personal skill that contributes to the team’s stats, the missions feel more diverse and allow for more gameplay flexibility. 

My personal favorite has to be the addition of the Gauntlet Mode. Characters are tasked with surviving various trials while trying to escape a multi-leveled dungeon. Saves are disabled until a level is cleared and the difficulty gradually increases based on progression. Additionally, the Story Mode has new added chapters highlighting two major story arcs: The Tale of the Latter Day and The tae of the Former Day. The second story line is set before the events of the first game and delves deeper into Orochi’s crimes. Free Mode also makes a comeback and allows players to side with the enemy during certain stages, which vastly shifts the battlefield dynamic. 


"Dynasty Warriors fans will find tremendous value here and Tecmo continues to improve on its successful formula."

Added modes and tweaked gameplay elements aren’t the only changes in Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate. The game is not only technically smoother, but is graphically light years ahead of its predecessors. While the visuals aren’t pushing the PS4 hardware by any means, they are quite impressive considering how much is happening onscreen at all times. Sure, the enemies look repetitive and the landscapes aren’t particularly detailed, but the overall look and feel of the game is a nice step in the right direction. 

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about the series. If you didn’t like these types of games before, you’re not going to like this one either. However…Dynasty Warriors fans will find tremendous value here and Tecmo continues to improve on its successful formula. Considering how strong their recent HD remakes are, I would give anything if they could bring back the beloved Kessen series. But I guess that’s not happening anytime soon. In the meantime, both Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate and Dynasty Warriors 8: Extreme Legends Complete Edition are two of the best Tecmo brawlers to date and serve as a great example of how to make a real “Ultimate” edition of a game. 

Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Playstation 4

8.5

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