Back in the day, I used to really enjoy the Dynasty Warriors series. There was something really appealing about overcoming many enemies in a seemingly impossible situation. As I played more and more on my Playstation 2, I began to grow bored of them. They all felt similar, recycling gameplay and stories to the point where I just stopped. I loved Hyrule Warriors (as a Zelda fan, of course), and dabbled in some of the spin-offs on Wii, but never really got into the games since the newer consoles launched. With Dynasty Warriors 9, the franchise is clearly trying to reinvent itself – and it certainly has.
Perhaps in a bid to appeal to the lapsed fan like myself, what you get when you first jump into China in Dynasty Warriors 9 is different for so many reasons. Now, you take your officer into an open world filled with all the bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from a game of this caliber. Massive map, heaps of missions, key landmarks and even a new hunting and fishing system that feeds directly into the new crafting mission. Previous Dynasty Warriors games felt like a disconnected set of battles you navigate to using numerous menus. Dynasty Warriors 9 feels like a bigger world that offers a lot more variety and offers a real sense of place and time.Dynasty Warriors 9 offers players multiple storylines across different timelines while giving them the opportunity to play from the viewpoint of different officers. In short, there’s a lot of content to plow through in Dynasty Warriors 9. You can finish a conflict as one character and then basically play through it again as the someone from another faction. I appreciated this as it gives Dynasty Warriors 9 immense replay value and the storylines feel fresh enough to warrant another playthrough. Some might get bored as the structure and content is largely similar, however, but they’re scenarios that Dynasty Warriors fans already know and love.
Most Dynasty Warriors games provide a hectic 1 v 1000 style battle experience, and Dynasty Warriors 9 is no different. While still making major changes to the structure, namely introducing an open world, the crux of the experience still feels like authentic Dynasty Warriors. Rather than navigate through menus and loading screens to get to the battle you want to fight, your officer and merely travel either by horse or fast travel to a location to complete either main quests or side quests. Providing more freedom than previous games, completing side quests before the main on lowers the level of enemies in the main quest. If you’re feeling brave, you can go straight there instead. The choice is yours.While this sounds like it might be padding the game unnecessarily, I find it has the opposite effect. Rather than play the same style of battles all the time through the old style of Dynasty Warriors, with 9 I felt like the distractions added to the experience rather than detracted from them. If I was tired of the same old battles I’d just go fishing, or do a few side missions, or go hunting to craft a new piece of equipment. The new open world design provides much more variety to the game than any other game in the series thus far – you can even scale most walls with the new grappling hook which is incredibly handy.