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Review: Warriors Orochi 3 HyperWarriors Orochi 3 Hyper Wii U Tecmo Koei Omega Force
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Platform: Wii U
Release Date: November 18, 2012
ESRB: T for Teen
A retail copy was supplied by the publisher for this review
Tecmo Koei sure loves its Warriors franchise, and whether you agree or not, it has its high points. Warriors Orochi 3 was the best game of the Orochi series – which brings characters from both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series together to fight hundreds of enemies who love to stand around while you kill them – and one of the best Warriors games in general, which surely number in the hundreds of thousands by now (even Koei has probably lost count). This port for the Wii U contains more content than previous releases … but at what cost?
A hydra has attacked the land, killing all of mankind’s forces except three generals, who decide to get even by socking science in the mouth and going back in time. In this way, they plan to rescue the fallen generals of the past, recruit them in their army, and launch a retaliation (or pretaliation?) against the opposing forces in the key battles that led to defeat.
If you feel like pretending you’ve never been exposed to the gameplay of a Warriors game, I’ll humor you: due to rampant fool overpopulation, it’s your job to eradicate fools in prodigious quantities, using one of a wide variety of characters, their weapons, and special moves. There's some tedium in this style of gameplay, to be sure, but the amount of unlockable generals keeps it from getting too bad.
In Orochi 3, the cast of playable characters is beyond massive; with over 130 to seek out and recruit, the roster can make you wonder if you’re playing a video game or reading War and Peace. Most of these characters are from previous Warriors titles, while some are borrowed from other Tecmo games, such as Dead or Alive, Ninja Gaiden, Bladestorm, and others.
The big addition to this installment is Duel Mode, a one-on-one fighter in which each player chooses three characters to switch out when needed. Players earn Battle Points as they land attacks, which can then be spent on activating special cards in story mode for added bonuses. Duel Mode is surprisingly fun, and feels like a throwback to two-player games of yore like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Golden Axe. Aside from this new mode, Hyper also contains two new characters (on top of the two included characters from the Japan-only PSP release): Ninja Gaiden’s Momiji, and Shennong, the legendary emperor of Chinese mythology.
Unfortunately, if you’ve already played Orochi Warriors 3, this is all the Wii U version has to get "hyper" about. This apparent rush job takes little advantage of the Wii U’s hardware capabilities; to prevent total processing failure during the times when the screen is packed, hordes of enemies and even some bosses will occasionally blink in and out as if they are victims of Spontaneous Ghost Syndrome. The framerate also takes a blow in this version, and although slowdown issues are nothing new in the Warriors games, it's particularly jarring in Hyper, and one gets the impression that this problem could be remedied if only more time was spent in the transition.
During the more sizable encounters, it’s like someone dropped this game's source code in a giant vat of peanut butter and molasses and then glued it onto a Wii U disc using that stuff they put on flypaper. These extreme cases of The Slows usually only last a few seconds, but it's enough to frustrate any gamers except those possessing the most Zen-like patience. The visuals are a tiny bit uglier than the original, as well, but they're adequate, and the cutscenes are still beautiful.
The Wii U controller’s button layout makes extended button-mashing a comfortable endeavor, but the gamepad’s screen does little to boost the experience; while it’s nice to be able to turn off the TV and play the game in bed, on a trampoline, or while practicing for a Rockettes audition, and although the gamepad can be used in local co-op instead of having two players jumbled together on the same screen, the mini-map is far too “mini” on the smaller screen and is rendered nearly useless.
While the game's still there and more-or-less as playable as the PS3 and 360 versions, there's not enough new material here to warrant purchasing Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper if you've already played those previous versions. Newcomers, however, will still be treated to one of the highlights of the Warriors series. Just keep in mind that it loses some of its luster in this hand-me-down version.
+ The core gameplay of the original remains intact
+ New Duel Mode is entertaining
- Slowdown gets particularly extreme in this version
- Characters blink in and out at a distracting rate
- There's a fairly lackluster amount of new content
Overall Score: 6.0 (Out of 10)
Although Duel Mode is a welcome addition to this version, slowdown mars the game and keeps it from being a must-purchase, especially for those who have played it on other consoles.
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