When most people hear the name Dynasty Warriors they think of a title where one warrior can easily slay over a thousand faceless enemies while taking down numerous named opponents in a single battle. Koei Tecmo wanted to change that up a bit this time around though as Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is something quite unexpected, a strategy-RPG that utilizes grid-based battles. Now that the game has been released, does this change to the formula make it worthwhile?
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is set during a fairly familiar time for fans of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms as the story picks up with Zhao Yun and his friend Lei Bin exploring a cave that is being occupied by members of the Yellow Turban rebellion. In an effort to keep their home village safe, the two went to investigate the cave only to find that a mysterious girl appears to be sealed within a mystical prison.
As luck would have it, Lei Bin manages to free the girl who they learn is named Lixia and while little is immediately known about the woman, it is clear she is far more capable than she would appear as she is capable of wielding strange powers. In an effort to learn more about Lixia as well as complete her quest to gather mystical orbs the pair find themselves mixed in with the events that follow the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Battle at Hulao Gate.
For the most part players will be experiencing the same standard storyline of Romance of the Three Kingdoms but only with a bit of a more mythical twist to it as various magical elements and different viewpoints are offered from the standard fair that fans have been presented with for quite some time. This inclusion of Lixia and the magic does make for an interesting storyline though don’t expect to be gripped too tightly by the plot as the visual novel style sections that fill time between battles unfortunately do a rather poor job of keeping the player interested or invested in most of the characters, especially since outside of the core trio many of the familiar faces from the series tend to vanish for multiple missions at a time.
As mentioned before, one of the key aspects of Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is the fact that it is a turn based strategy RPG rather than an action game. This means that as you begin battle players are presented with a battlefield grid where their units and the enemy units take turns moving around the field and attacking one another. While quite a change from controlling a single warrior charging around the battlefield, players will easily be able to grasp the aspects of moving around the map grid and figuring out proper unit placement.
This is because while Zhao Yun and Lei Bin are immediately available and come with a number of attacks available, various other generals and famous warriors from history will be unlocked over the course of the game. Many of these units are obtained through “Path of Destiny” side-stories that help give the story a little bit of extra breathing room while others are obtained through advancing the story, though these can be a bit fickle at times as they have the chance to disappear for story purposes or be available solely as AI controlled partners that, for the most part, work well in combat.
Various unit types are available with attackers being able to perform powerful melee blows that gain damage bonuses when attacking from the sides or back, ranged units that can attack from a distance or pierce through a unit’s high defense, heavy slow moving units that can absorb frontal attacks but are weak to side blows, and speedy units that tend to have low health and defense but can move through enemy units to gain advantageous positioning.
While many strategy games may seem like something difficult to pick up, Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is something of the opposite. Perhaps in an attempt to ease fans of the core series into the experience the difficulty curve for this game barely exists. Playing on normal will give basic players a small challenge from time to time but for those who are familiar with the genre playing on the hardest setting is the only way to see any real difficulty. This may be a boon for those who want something of a relaxing experience but disheartening for fans of the genre.
Outside of standard features such as positioning your characters to face certain directions to avoid back attacks, chaining together attacks in an effort to best target as many enemies as possible, and utilizing Musou attacks that are earned through a refillable gauge like always, players will also be able to lay waste to their foes using the Synchro mode. As you fight this gauge will fill at the top of the screen and can be triggered at any time during your turn. This system allows players to give all of their units who have already taken an action a chance to move and attack once more as well as unleash a powerful Synchro attack.
This attack targets a nine-square area of the map and deals a massive amount of damage to any foes in the area as the chosen units all go wild on the area with players being able to repeatedly press the X button to increase the percentage of damage done. As one would expect, this type of attack can easily tear through an entire enemy force in one swing, especially if you happen to find a grouped force or the enemy general available to be destroyed with little resistance.
When not in combat players will be able to swap between various pieces of equipment that they’ve obtained for characters, use accumulated points to unlock skills on a Skill Board that provides anything from passive bonuses to boosted skills, and more. Unfortunately thanks to the easy difficulty and repetitive gameplay styles, players will find it hard to really get invested in most of the characters or even most of the actual battles.
Visuals & Audio
Players know roughly what to expect when it comes to the graphics of a Dynasty Warriors title and you’ll find that same experience here. The characters all feature their same looks as previous games with the few new characters fitting in properly though one would have expected some improvement on the actual generic enemy designs considering the developer no longer has to try and fit hundreds of them on the screen at once anymore. The moves remain fairly flashy looking, especially during Synchro attacks, and attacks between actual named warriors look impressive enough.
Considering the digital only release of Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers the game only offers the Japanese voice track, which fits well enough with all of their familiar voice actors returning. The soundtrack features some brand new music as well as some classic tunes from the series.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is an odd title that takes characters from an action packed series that fans are familiar with and transitions them into an overly simplistic strategy RPG with a tweaked story that can be fairly interesting when it tries something new but still overly similar to what fans already know. The basic nature of the game makes it accessible for those unfamiliar with the genre though the lack of any real hook will leave players feeling disinterested in the easy SRPG and looking for of a challenge elsewhere.