Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate Review – Ultimately Satisfying (PS4)
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is the second port of Warriors Orochi 3, which was first ported over to the Nintendo Wii U. Sporting a new game mode and even more new characters, is this truly the ultimate edition of a franchise that churns out new entries almost as frequently as Call of Duty?
Let’s get it out of the way — the game looks old. You can tell that the same game engine is being used as has been for the past few entries in the series. This results in a rock-solid frame rate, but disappointing graphics. Enemies pop-in far too frequently, and fade out at a fairly close distance. It makes you yearn for the first version of a Warriors game that was made from the ground-up for the new consoles. Still, graphics aren’t everything, and this is by no means a deal-breaker. It just doesn’t feel like a game that’s taking advantage of the PlayStation 4 to its fullest.
The audio is well done. With a series that is so heavily story-dependent, you wouldn’t be blamed if you didn’t expect all lines to be voiced. But surprisingly (or perhaps not, if you know the series well), every single line is fully voiced. While all the lines are delivered in Japanese, at least the story is pretty well translated. There are very few sentences that sound a bit off, and the gist of the storyline comes through. A massive hydra (that’s a dragon) has appeared seemingly out of nowhere. After wiping out most of humanity, three heroes are chosen by the mystical Kaguya to travel to the past and re-write events to change their future. The story isn’t particularly deep, but with 145(!) characters, it is at least entertaining.
The main new game mode is called Gauntlet Mode. You choose a team of five characters, and try to make it through increasingly challenging arenas. As each area gets cleared of enemies, a mist called miasma begins to surround you. The more miasma, the more difficult the enemies become to defeat. It does get challenging pretty quickly, and the rewards are just as good if not better than the Duel mode, which makes a return here from the Wii U port. This is a 3-vs-3 arena battle mode, where your goal is to try and defeat as many other teams of 3 as you can before running out of hit points. You can use strategic cards that you pick up elsewhere in the game to get on the offensive, such as disabling your opponent’s ability to swap characters, or defend yourself with extra buffs. It’s a surprisingly deep distraction, and you can easily rack up hundreds of knockouts and thousands of gems, which you can use to level-up your characters. Thankfully, any and all experience you gain in any of these game modes carries over to the other, so experience gained in the Gauntlet mode helps you in your main quest, and vice versa.
As with most Warriors games, combat is deceptively simple. You press Square for your main, quick attack, and Triangle for your heavy, slow attack. Pressing different combinations of these buttons can result in a special move, which is dependent on the character you are currently controlling. Every single character uses a different weapon, and plays differently. This is quite a feat, and lends to variety in what is ultimately a beat-em-up. Both taking and receiving damage build up your Musou gauge, and when you have enough you can press R1 to unleash a decently heavy attack. But when your Musou gauge is completely filled, you can press Circle to unleash a devastating Musou attack, which can and will obliterate any peons in your vicinity, as well as do terrible damage to any nearby officer or boss characters. Once again, every character has a unique special move, which is a respectable effort on Omega Force’s part.
This combat sounds good on paper, but in execution it still feels a bit stiff. Your moves are uninterruptable, so you cannot cancel a move if you see someone coming at you from the side. Blocking is cumbersome, as you have to first stop moving, and then hold L1. If the enemy hits you and you do not block in time, there is no chance to counter, and you have to hope that they knock you far enough away so that you can re-gain your bearings. There is also no tutorial system whatsoever for the main campaign, so you are on your own with discovering how the game’s many mechanics come into play.
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate takes the game fans enjoyed on the PlayStation 3, adds the Duel mode and other characters from the Wii U Hyper port, and then throws in a bunch of new content in the form of the rewarding Gauntlet mode. Group all of that in a shinier, faster, more action-filled package, and you have yourself a winning port and expansion in one. It may still be more or less the same combat as any Warriors game preceding it, but new tweaks here and there do help to change things up in fun ways. If you’re new to the series, this is as good a time as any to dive right into things (though you’ll want to stay at the Normal difficulty level or lower!). If you previously bought the game on the PS3 or Wii U, this upgrade will likely tide you over until a proper “next-gen” release, which should be here before you know it. Once again, I have been pleasantly surprised by Omega Force.
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