Game Review: Dynasty Warriors 9 is Inept, Insipid and Tedious

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

Koei Tecmo’s flagship franchise for years now has been the Omega Force developed Dynasty Warriors. It is a series of games known for singularly powerful warriors battling large hordes of enemies. The main series titles have had players perpetually playing through conflicts based loosely on the Records of the Three Kingdoms while spin-off titles have brought other franchises to the Dynasty Warriors formula—from Dynasty Warriors: Gundam to the more recently released Hyrule WarriorsDynasty Warriors 9 had promised to take the series in a new direction, and I would like to say it had—but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

Dynasty Warriors 9, like the games before it, is a hack and slash game on massive scales. Instead of fighting one versus one, or even versus small groups of combatants, you can face hundreds at once. Each character of the over 80 you can eventually control is like a superhero capable of ridiculous feats of strength and wielding magic that can kill dozens of foes at once. This doesn’t necessarily make me feel powerful as I play. Instead, I feel more like a kid who’s activated a cheat code to play through a game beyond my skill level. This isn’t unique to Dynasty Warriors 9, as every game in the franchise is based around this concept, but Dynasty Warriors 9 has really highlighted to me just how dumb and passive the AI is, making most normal enemies non-threatening.

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

The biggest change to the series formula introduced in Dynasty Warriors 9 was supposed to be the introduction of an open world with battles raging all around in real-time. You can choose to explore this world, participate in battles scattered about, or complete quests to finish whichever chapter you’re trying to play through. This is a concept that sounds great on paper, but it is executed horribly. Dynasty Warriors 9 is divided into 13 chapters that are incredibly densely packed with activities. I spent almost four hours in the first chapter exploring, fighting, and doing side quests just to see what it offered.

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

Unfortunately, there’s not much there that we haven’t seen before—it just requires more travelling to get to the mindless action. There is fast travel, which helps getting across the surprisingly large open-world, but you will have to travel on foot eventually. That’s where your handy, appears-out-of-thin-air horse comes in. You can even set him to auto-run to your next waypoint. I suggest that you avoid doing that though, as your horse will often get stuck trying to run through walls and buildings with its mostly non-existent pathfinding.

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

There is a story that brings together this whole affair–unfortunately it is not one of Dynasty Warriors 9’s redeeming qualities. It follows the same Romance of the Three Kingdoms formula but is ultra-simplified. The voice acting is absolutely atrocious and easily ranks among the worst I’ve ever heard. Each ham-fisted line is delivered as over-the-top as possible, with ridiculous intonations and affectations that were extremely distracting.

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

There are role-playing game elements, like inventory management, and the ability to assign skill points among around 9 skills—like attack, defense, stamina, etc. These elements are implemented in a serviceable way, but the UI is an ugly, convoluted mess that looks like it’s from a bygone era. In addition, the exclusion of multiplayer really hurts Dynasty Warrior 9, as at least with friends the gameplay would be bearable.

Image Courtesy Koei Tecmo

As it is right now, Dynasty Warriors 9 is a barely playable mess. Don’t misunderstand me: you can literally play it (mostly) without technical issues, but it’s so mechanically inept–so incredibly insipid and tedious as to be an absolute chore and I hated almost every moment of my time with Dynasty Warriors 9. The entire package is irredeemably flawed, from the terrible voice acting to the lack of multiplayer and awful UI. Steer clear.

Dynasty Warriors 9 is available now on Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

1 reply »

  1. Yes I totally agree, I bought the game last week and I’ve been playing dw6 empires on 360 more. This game could have a shot with DLC, if that were possible id suggest the following DLC.
    -Complete Voice Overhaul
    -Complete Dialog Overhaul :p
    -Complete Horse Overhaul -.- like wtf, seriously? If they wont introduce new and more unique horses, atleast have the dam decency to give us all of the old ones.
    -More detailed stories, like seriously, how the hell they gonna overlook so much.
    Theres no way in hell someone hasn’t already suggested more playable nanman characters so I wont.
    -More ridable animals! -.-, here I am thinking I’m about to crush shit on an elephant, low and behold I could not ride it…..pathetic. I’ve played every dynasty warriors game and I was done when DW7 and 8 came out and their dumbasses done something as foolish as make it so everyone could use everyones moves o…o, ya, they actually done that. Never long before I forget what moves go to what people, terrible Idea, someone should smack themselves for taking some dummy up on a dumb Idea. ok.
    At one point on ps2 we were able to tame animals and find horses to keep and ride tigers and lets not forget character creation in DW4 which they tooketh away as well. What is with these people. I’m tired of always having faith in what their games could be, now that I realize they just been throwing me for loops, over and over they give then they take. next. and most important to many who play this franchise.

    -Character Creation! nuff said, looking forward to the next empires game though assuming they don’t mess it up.still why take it away from the main game? smoove move -.- Imagine how many stopped buying the normal DW games and just stuck to the xtreme legends and empires. Starting with myself my brother and two sisters, shit was the butter to the bread, now its just toast.

    -Ability to build your own army and conquer your own territories, now before one of them takes me up on what may seem to them like a genius Idea, how about not messing that up either, why not make it an infinite free mode where even if you conquer all the land there would be uprisings and new people trying to conquer. Which brings me to my next point, where the hell is online? Are you kidding me? I’ll stop right there. next…

    -Online Play -.- duhh, make it so people could not only play stories together but give people the ability to create their own armies colors banners and horses! and let them go out and try to conquer eachother building armies solo or with others kinda like how gta has crews, they could even do that on different servers that way people can choose the servers they want to try and conquer, which brings me to the next one.

    New map packs- The map is pretty big already but is it truly all of china? if so why not add some islands, or even a whole new world with the orochi dlc that they had better be coming out with -.-

    With all that said I must also say, the game isn’t bad, its actually a pretty good foundations for all the wonders that could be worked with dlc o.0, I haven’t been playing in hopes that they will do just that, work some wonders, because as of now I am pretty disappointed. And whoever did the dialog should have to pay for the new one smh. I heard About this game so I went and bought an xbox one x and this trash, and their both not quite in use as I have my 360 hooked back up, I avoided the next gen consoles until they made a game I wanted to play and this was what I got….im done

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