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Dynasty Warriors 3 (Xbox) artwork

Dynasty Warriors 3 (Xbox) review


"After devoting countless hours to Dynasty Warriors 3 it is extremely easy to pick out flaws and annoyances. "



After devoting countless hours to Dynasty Warriors 3 it is extremely easy to pick out flaws and annoyances.

Iím not expecting there to be as many characters on screen as in Ninety-nine Nights, but at least let me see my enemies. There are several instances where I would be getting shot at by nearby archers that were off screen due to the terrible fog distance. This forced me to rely on guessing their location based on the arrows until I could get awfully close to them. This is especially annoying when Iím already dealing with countless soldiers and cannot bother to worry about locating arrows being fired at me.

Then there is the frustrating morale system. Your alliesí morale increases as you defeat enemy generals and high ranking officers, which boosts their battlefield performance. This is cool to have and definitely makes seeking out and defeating generals worth it, but there are so many accomplishments that go unrewarded. For instance, the game makes a big deal out of every fifty kills you get in a round. Some generals fighting alongside you might even throw in some encouraging words, such as ďYou are a powerful warrior!Ē and ďYou fight like the devil!Ē (Is this a compliment?). But regardless of how well I do, this does not inspire my allies to do any better. Sometimes this makes me wonder whether or not it is actually worth getting hundreds of KOís like Iím supposed to or just going straight for the generals to achieve victory.

This leads to another problem with the artificial intelligence. Iím not expecting a Kingdom Under Fire where I can control everything my allies do (although that option would be very nice), but if Iím not there saving their asses they are sitting ducks. Their morale will continue to drop more and more until they are defeated. I understand that itís not up to them to win alone while I sit back and enjoy the view of the battlefield, but when Iím trying to siege the freakiní He Fei Castle and my allies are trapped in the corner of the map under heavy attack it is frustrating. Once again the morale problem comes into play here. In order to make them fight better I either have to run from ally general to general and rid the enemy troops (it is fun to take your own path once in a while) or quickly defeat the enemy generals, which gets rid of the enjoyment of slaughtering hundreds, if not thousands of soldiers.

But luckily the size and intensity of battles is enough to keep oneís mind off of the gameís problems. For a game thatís labeled as nothing more than a button masher, there is a surprisingly deep fighting engine behind it. Each warrior has up to seven possible combos plus a devastating special attack thatís possible when their musou meter is full. Each characterís moves are unique and range from knock out moves to clearing attacks to much stronger attacks that take longer to pull off. This creates many possibilities and opens up several strategies in battle. The best part about all of this is itís all very simple to pull off; none of these moves involve the crazy button combos that are present in fighting games. Two buttons, a weaker and faster attack and a stronger but slower one control the vast majority of the moves. When fighting enemies at this scale this system works much better than a typical fighterís and turns the game into mindless fun. Thereís nothing better than coming home from a busy day of work or school and defeating soldier after soldier.

Although you arenít doing much more than slaughtering soldier after solder in every battle, the gameís locations always make it fun. There are a total of twenty maps with two or three sides per map, which opens up several possibilities with scenarios and objectives that play a major role in the missions. Nothing beats trying to stop the Shu forces before they launch their devastating fire attack (or using it if youíre playing on the Shu side), which is a huge morale blow to your troops, or defending a castle from invaders from every direction, or stampeding through a bunch of forces on top of a giant elephant. The scenarios and missions are varied enough to always keep the button mashing fun.

The game doesnít end after these battles. There are loads of characters to unlock as well as secret weapons to find and stats to increase. The best part is there are so many levels and alignments that playing the game over and over again to unlock everything is just as fun the tenth time as it is the first. After a while playing every battle from the Shu side might get boring, but thereís always the opportunity to play from the Wu or Wei, or any other side as well. Playing maps over and over again is infinitely rewarding due to the stat system. Although stats usually do not have a place in action games, here they work wonderfully. Increasing stats just adds more replay value. More stats makes harder difficulties easier, which leads to unlocking more weapons or items, which leads to new way to defeat your foes.

This exciting action and level of depth is how Dynasty Warriors 3 delivers. Not everything is smooth, but thereís plenty of battling and lots to do and unlock that will certainly please newcomers and keep the genre vets going for a long time. And thatís all one can ask for from a brawler.

Rating: 7/10

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Community review by Halon (August 23, 2007)

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