games / Reviews

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper (Wii U) Review

December 10, 2012 | Posted by Mark Salmela

Title: Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper
Publisher: Koei
Developer: Koei
Genre: Action
Players: 1 – 2
Rated: T for Teen

If I ever meet someone who’s beaten every game out of all the “Warriors” franchises, I will shake their hand, and then have them admitted to a mental ward. Koei’s Warriors games are some of the hardest games for a critic to review. They’re all essentially the same game. It’s hard to even call them poorly designed at this point, since clearly there’s an audience out there that likes it in order to justify the ridiculous number of Warriors titles. Every review of a Warriors title seems to break down to the same drain of thought: “If you like Dynasty Warriors, here’s another game that’s almost the exact same for you to enjoy. If you don’t like Dynasty Warriors, you won’t like this game.” With that said, that’s the exact same drain of thought I’m taking for this review… because it’s a completely accurate statement.

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is a port of the latest Warriors game from Koei which came out earlier this year on PS3 and Xbox 360. Like many of the other Wii U launch titles, this is essentially a port with a couple of new features to entice gamers to buy it again on the shiny new platform. The big new feature for Warriors Orochi 3 is the inclusion of an all new Duel Mode. Duel Mode is a 2 player versus mode, which plays like Marvel vs Capcom 3 in that you select a team of 3 players which you can swap between at any time. The gameplay itself is much closer to a Dead or Alive game in that it takes place in a 3D space, and mixing those 2 gameplay elements actually makes for a pretty fun mode. If there’s any reason for a non-Dynasty Warriors fan to check this game out, it’s definitely for the Duel Mode.

As for the main campaign, the Warriors Orochi series is actually kind of interesting compared to the other Warriors franchises. Dynasty Warriors is a somewhat accurate take on ancient Chinese history, while Samurai Warriors is a somewhere accurate take on ancient Japanese history. I’m not quite sure which ancient lore the Dynasty Warriors Gundam games are based off of, but if anyone knows please leave a message in the comments section. The Warriors Orochi games, however, take the characters and time frame of the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors games and mix them together in a completely bonkers alternate take on history. Part of the appeal is that it purposely isn’t taking itself seriously, instead pandering to the idea that one “general” is going to wipe out an army of around 10,000 warriors in about a half hour, and then do it 30 more times over the course of the game.

For the third entry in this young series, you’re out to stop a giant Hydra, because why the hell not? In all honestly, the main story actually deserves more credit than that. You take control of 3 different generals who just had their entire army wiped out by the giant Hydra, and now you must go back in time to stop important generals from dying in battle. Your job is to change history and stop these generals from dying, so you can recruit them into your party to eventually take on the Hydra.

As for the actual gameplay of Warriors Orochi 3, you already know what you’re going to get. You’re going to run across a giant battlefield mashing different combinations of the X and Y buttons to link together long, devastating combos. Hundreds of enemies will stand around waiting to be slaughtered by your mastery of mixing together quick attacks and heavy attacks, occasionally breaking up your combos by actually attacking you. In order to alleviate the pain of repetition you can now swap between any 3 different characters at any time. The total roster of playable characters is an extremely impressive 130, but when you take into account just how similar the majority of characters are the number isn’t nearly as impressive. There are some cool options such as Ryu from Dead or Alive, but for the most part you won’t grow much of an attachment to your character, that is assuming you’re not obsessed with ancient Asian history.

As any fan of the Warriors games will tell you, there is a certain amount of strategy to the game, especially for the later missions of the game. You’ll have to pre-plan your strategy, deciding when and where on the large battlefield you should go and which weapon or character you should use. The problem with these games though is that it doesn’t matter how much strategy you offer the player in the planning phase, because there’s no actual strategy in the combat. You simply mash the damn attack button while things stand around waiting for you to mash the attack button. I’m not trying to troll when I say I’ve played 3D action games from the N64/PS1 era that has better AI then these games. I’m being completely serious. It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of soldiers your game can poorly render on a screen, if they’re just going to stand around waiting to die, your game is broken on a fundamental level. I think I speak for the vast majority of the gaming universe when I say “Where’s the fun in that?”

Speaking of being poorly rendered, this game looks pretty awful. While I’ve heard the PS3 and 360 versions perform rather well, the Wii U version is a buggy mess. Entire armies, I’m talking over 50 people at a time, will just magically appear in front of you mid-mission. It’s not by design either. The game literally can’t handle how many enemies there are on screen and will just pick and choose what it wants to actually render in the game. At one point I was fighting a boss that appeared to have various body parts popping in and out of the game. Sometimes it’d lose a limb only for it to magically reappear seconds later. When you consider just how vital to the core gameplay the action is, it’s unacceptable to have the game perform this poorly during combat. The framerate is also a mess, so if you’re planning to show your family your brand new Wii U for Christmas, this is definitely not the system showpiece you’d want to try and impress them with.

Pros

– The new Duel Mode is a fun distraction.
– The story doesn’t take itself seriously, which leads to a more exciting game for people not interested in ancient history.
– Switching between 3 different characters on the battlefield makes the game slightly less repetitive.
– Adding guest appearances by familiar faces such as Dead or Alive’s Ryu Hayabusa makes the game slightly more interesting.
– Special moves look kind of cool.
– Playing split screen with one person using the Gamepad and one person using the whole TV is a cool way to avoid dividing up the screen between players.

Cons

– The framerate has horrible stuttering problems and enemies pop in and out of the battlefield all the time.
– Regardless of the character you select or the weapon you use, the gameplay will always break down to mashing the attack button over and over again until either your thumb gives out or the game decides you’ve committed enough genocide to move on.
– The music and dialogue seems so bland and uninspired. It feels like history class at certain points, with a bizarre twist regarding a Hydra to keep you from falling asleep.
– There’s absolutely no reason to become invested in this game.

The 411


He’s really good at expressing emotion.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you’re a fan of any of the Warriors games, any of them at all, then my review is not for you. This review is for the general public who either has never played a Warriors game or hasn’t played one in a long time because they didn’t like the gameplay of the old ones. And for those people, don’t play this game. While the PS3 and 360 versions of this game may be completely competent, the Wii U version is a mess. The framerate is poor, enemies pop-in right in front of you, and the graphics don’t look very good. Add-in what I’ve said about how boring the combat can be, and I don’t see any reason to pick this game up. There’s a fun distraction called Duel Mode tucked away that’s worth checking out, but not when you have to sort through the rest of this game to get to it.

Graphics5.0There’s nothing visually impressive about this game, yet it still has unforgivable issues with pop-in and an inconsistent framerate. 
Gameplay5.0You’ll mash the attack button over, and over, and over, and over, and over. I could go on, but I think you get the point. 
Sound5.0At some point the dialogue is narrated, at some points it’s not. Either way, the music and dialogue is boring and uninspired. 
Lasting Appeal5.0The Duel Mode is a fun distraction, but the campaign is a complete chore to finish. There’s no variety to the core gameplay. 
Fun Factor 5.0If you don’t already love Dynasty Warriors, this game won’t win you over. 
Overall5.0   [ Not So Good ]  legend

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Mark Salmela

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