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Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends – Definitive Edition

Posted by GG Goblin On January - 21 - 2019

More Warriors for your Switch.

It is quite impressive how the variety of Musou games on the Nintendo Switch is growing. Fans of the “run around a battlefield and slay thousands of enemies like some kind of god” games, such as the Nintendo-centric Fire Emblem Warriors or Hyrule Warriors, have a lot to be pleased about, not least of which is the recent release of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends – Definitive Edition. This brings the daddy of the Warriors games to Switch with, although not the most recent entry, what is widely regarded as the best, and now most complete, Dynasty Warriors game so far.

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The Dynasty Warriors games, in fact all of the Warriors games, have a real Marmite effect on gamers. For a long time they have been considered by some to be a simple, button-mashing action game of constant repetition. Dynasty Warriors 8 is perhaps the most likely title in the series to counter that argument, with much more reliance on strategy and skill at the higher difficulty levels. For this reason, anyone who has found enjoyment in a spin-off Warriors game, of which there are many, would be well advised to dip their toes into Dynasty Warriors 8.

For the newcomers, the Dynasty Warriors games can be a bit foreboding. The games are set in a period of Chinese history that many players here in the West will know very little about, and they have a massive cast of strange and wonderful characters. In Dynasty Warriors 8 we are looking at more than 80 playable characters, which can be intimidating in itself, especially as they have different allegiances and abilities. It is a lot to take in to begin with.

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The core of the game will involve wandering around a large, open battlefield and laying waste to hundreds, if not thousands, of enemy soldiers. As a single character on the field, this feels pretty good. However, it can get confusing when the player starts to realise they have objectives, and little spots are lighting up or flashing on the mini map in the top corner, maybe representing enemy officers that need to be dealt with, or allies that are in trouble. It can be easy to get lost, or lose track of what you are supposed to be doing. Some missions will require even more concentration as they impose a time limit, or even require the player to escort and keep safe others. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you work everything out, the game really opens up.

At the lower difficulty, button-mashing will be plenty to see the player sweep across the battlefield and drop thousands of enemies with impressive and over-the-top moves. It is a real power trip to watch a character move across the battlefield, defeating rank and file soldiers alongside more notable enemies, all while the KO counter just keeps getting bigger. Turn up the difficulty however, and players will have to start thinking about their moves. The more “boss-like” fights become much more engaging, while even the lesser soldiers can eventually overwhelm the player. Adding more consideration to the play, while heading towards whatever the final objective may be, players will have to make careful use of their combos, combining light and heavy attacks, alongside their choice of weapon for one on one battle or crowd control, and the two gauges that dictate the super powerful Musou attacks and the empowering Rage ability. For those who want to invest and show skill in the game, there are certainly options beyond the button-mashing repetition.

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Being the Definitive Edition of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, there is way more than just the basic game here. Aside from the self-explanatory Story Mode, which will keep players occupied for many hours alone, Challenge Mode, which offers small scenarios to test the players’ skill, and Free Mode, in which the player chooses a character and has fun in a previously completed stage, there is the excellent Ambition Mode. This mode adds more to the game outside of the battlefield, with players having to build up a town and army. This gives a different purpose to all of the fighting, with rewards being the likes of materials for expanding the town, or more soldiers to take into battle. It gives the player a more focused and less historical time in the game, and is great fun. With all of the various stories, the Ambition Mode and all of the other content, those who really invest in the game could see their play time easily run past 100 hours.

Despite being an older game now, originally released in 2013, Dynasty Warriors 8 looks great on the Switch. The cut scenes are smooth and well polished, while the animations of all the different characters look varied and realistic, as much as they can. The only real place where the game shows its age is in the environments, which really are not all that exciting. Still, the game runs smoothly and looks nice on both the TV and the small screen.

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While the Warriors games as a genre are forever increasing in popularity, the Dynasty Warriors titles, with their Romance of the Three Kingdoms setting, remain niche titles. Dynasty Warriors 8 is the best and most accessible entry in the series, for those willing to try something new, and the Definitive Edition packs in so much extra content, including all of the DLC such as new costumes or side stories, that playing on the Switch is the obvious choice for those who can. With hours and hours of entertainment, and more than just button-mashing, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends – Definitive Edition is an easy recommended buy for Switch owners.




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