Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition Review

Gaming

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Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: PlayStation 4, PS Vita (Reviewed)
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Price: $39.99 – Available Here

Overview
Despite the PlayStation Vita being around since early 2012, the only Dynasty Warriors game to be released on the handheld was Dynasty Warriors NEXT. With Tecmo Koei letting Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires and the original Dynasty Warriors 8 pass by, fans were concerned that they might not be seeing another Warriors game for the Vita. However that is not the case and now that Tecmo Koei has released Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is it worth picking up for the handheld?

Story
The reason this release is called the Complete Edition is because this title includes both the Xtreme Legends content as well as the original content found in Dynasty Warriors 8. This means that players have access to not only the entire storylines of the Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin kingdoms but also the newly added storyline following Lu Bu right off the bat.

Each of the kingdom’s storylines follow a certain path and players can witness various events occur as they make their way through each storyline, though additional “What If’ scenarios are unlocked if the player happens to complete certain secret objectives in stages and give players a different take on things which is a nice refreshing twist on the well-trodden Romance of the Three Kingdoms storyline.

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However the big highlight of Xtreme Legends is the fact that the company has chosen to focus on one of the most recognizable characters in the Dynasty Warriors series by giving him his own real storyline for the first time. I am talking of course about Lu Bu. He has been given his own storyline along with a few new characters to help expand his story and keep things fresh.

Along with Lu Bu’s story a few extra story segments have also been included for the other kingdoms, as well as a new character each, which means that despite this being mostly the same story for returning fans, there is hours of additional story battles waiting to be played through for those who might have simply picked up the Vita version for its additional content but countless hours for those who are just jumping in for the first time.

Gameplay
With an absolutely staggering number of characters to play as Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition takes advantage of all of the refinements made to the game’s combat system back when Dynasty Warriors 8 was first released. This means that the weapon affinity system where Heaven, Man, and Earth affinity weapons are played off of one another in a triangle system where weapons can be ineffective and do less damage, not knockback enemies, and leave players open for counterattacks or be powerful and do more damage and ensnare enemies into a whirlwind style attack called Storm Rush.

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The other returning improvements including a Rage meter that allows the player to, when the meter is full, enter a state that allows the player to move fast, deal strong damage with normal attacks, barely take any damage from enemies, and unleash a wave of Musou style attacks until their rage meter is emptied and the ability to call and mount your horse without breaking stride by holding the button remain in the game.

Interestingly enough, Rage can be activated by tapping the Rage meter, summoning your horse can be handled either through Select or touching the screen and holding it to mount, and you can even adjust the view of the map by tapping the map on the game’s touch screen. It is also worth noting that this release does not feature the gimmicks that were implemented in NEXT involving the touch screen for Musou attacks or for taking down ambushing enemies. In fact the touch screen can be completely forgone if the player wishes to do so in this release.

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Most of the new and refined gameplay in Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends comes from the new characters introduced to the game this time around, a couple of new battlegrounds, enhancements to other game modes, and the ability to bring up to three bodyguards into battle that can be managed to fit your playstyle. With this release we see Lu Linqi, Lu Bu’s daughter, Chen Gong, Fa Zheng, Zhu Ran, and Yu Jin enter the fray for the first time and with them come a few new weapons and some returning favorites.

Chen Gong uses a Tactic Scroll that is absurd in more than one way as its basic attacks see him attacking enemies with the unwinding scroll but these combos can be extended by summoning archers, lancers, and cavalry to attack enemies as well. Continuing with the odd weapons, Fa Zheng wields a cloth tapestry weapon that allows him to whip enemies with the cloth, tie them up with it and even throw it like a magic carpet at times. Moving away from the strange weaponry we have more conventional weapons such as Zhu Ran’s flame bow which is a more fast paced bow weapon, Yu Jin who uses a conventional trident that players have seen before, and a returning fan favorite with Lu Linqi wielding Lu Bu’s old cross-pike to great effect.

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Moving away from the new characters, some old characters have been given extra EX attacks, rare and difficult to obtain six star weaponry has been added into the title, and the game now features a level cap of 150 compared to 99 which is useful if you feel like challenging the “Ultimate” difficulty mode which takes the already ridiculous difficulty of Chaos to an indescribable level, though the ability to fuse weapons now also helps the player a bit since players can choose to fuse together weaponry to create their ultimate weapon with the best status effects and attached skills, though doing so will require a lot of grinding.

Said grinding is going to be done through the game’s Ambition mode which has remained the same to begin with but features an entirely new post-Tongqueitai section. While the player still needs to complete the same tasks in Ambition mode to build that building, once they do so they are able to take advantage of a stripped down conquest mode where they can battle it out to gain more territory in battles that are different from your standard fair and help change things up a bit.

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With these modes all wrapped up there is also the inclusion of a Challenge mode that allows the player to take on a number of fun little game types that see the player trying to compete for the best score and post it up on the leaderboards. Free Mode has also been touched up a bit to make playing through stages have additional goals besides simply completing the fight.

Visuals
Despite the fact that Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition has been released onto the Vita, the game’s graphics do not suffer all that much compared to the basic PlayStation 3 release of Xtreme Legends. In fact if you focus on the detail of the playable characters’ armor some of the armor appears more detailed on the Vita than on the PS3 release. This is especially true when it comes to the new characters.

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As for the actual battles and slowdown worries, it appears that although the Vita can manage to place a lot of enemies on the screen at any given time, there are quite a few times that enemies will pop up out of nowhere because of the handheld’s limitations and elements of slowdown are more common on this release than the basic PlayStation 3 release.

Audio
With the release of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition the English voice work for the characters in the game’s battles remain the same and similar to the past release, all of the story intro during the load screens does not feature any voice work which means players will need to be reading these events. The newly added characters voice actors are suitable for the game and fall into their roles well, which is good since Lu Bu’s group is focused on so heavily this time around.

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The game’s signature background music returns throughout Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends with countless pieces of background music that make it hard to actually pick a favorite. Each song has its own sound but they tend to fall to the wayside when everything sounds like fast paced background rock that is suitable for slaying thousands of soldiers.

Overall
If you haven’t picked up the original Dynasty Warriors 8 for whatever reason or simply want a great hack and slash action game to play on the Vita then Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is the game for you. This release contains an exceptional amount of content for newcomers to Dynasty Warriors 8 and even returning players will find a slew of new content waiting for them. Sure it might feel a bit repetitive at times but the portable nature of the Vita makes this game a great way to slay thousands of enemies on the go or sink countless hours into at home.

9-0-capsules-out-of-10
Capsule Computers review guidelines can be found here.

As a big fan of anime and games I'll be quick to cover anything that happens to be of interest.

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