Warriors Orochi 3 (WO3) serves as a sequel to the events following the previous installments in the series. It features characters from both Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors who have been forced into one world by a violent demon, Orochi. In combining the plethora of characters from both series, Warriors Orochi 3 allows for a fantastical dream battle where the main objective is to rid this new world of a terrible hydra that is wreaking havoc across the land. It is a shame that I have sworn off these types of games since a soured experience years ago. My jaded perspective remained fixated on the simple combat, falling into the common idea that the Warriors games were nothing more than ‘mash the attack button to win’. Warriors Orochi 3 is not reinventing the wheel in this case, but Tecmo Koei has taken years to iterate on their recipe and they have finally hit their stride and created the ultimate Warriors Orochi experience.
The game begins with a large cinematic battle that acts as the tutorial. At the climax of the battle, your three remaining heroes almost meet their doom, but are rescued mysterious new character Kaguya. She has the ability to travel through time, and presents the warriors with missions where they must relive the past and rescue the other one hundred Warriors that succumbed to death as their fate. Think Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but in Ancient China. The story sounds ridiculous, but I have to give them points for being original and actually pulling off an engaging story. The dialog is over the top, and the characters are both goofy and sincere in all the right places. As an added bonus there is no English voice acting in the game so you are left will a fully Japanese-voiced game. I found it difficult at times to follow the English subtitles due to the hectic nature of the battles, but it was worth the authentic experience of the original voice actors. The writing in Warriors Orochi 3 is not going to win any awards, but it is not throwaway either and I have to give it to Omega Force for creating a fun and unique story and amazing characters to back it up.
Expect to decimate thousands of enemies in every battle with special attacks.
The game is comprised of large scale battles that you teleport into using the time travelling techniques mentioned above. There are multiple chapters of the game that each contain their own set of individual battles. The main missions will keep the story going, but I was easily distracted by the different side missions that give you a chance to unlock other playable heroes. When you are dropped into a battle you may witness the death of one of your fellow generals and they will be unable to join your band of time travelling mercenaries. Select a side mission and you may have the opportunity to fight a battle that took place before the character died. The once-dead character will be able to join your team, given you actually go and save their life. In some instances, redux missions become available where you can play through the mission from another perspective. This version of the battle has different objectives and new unlockable characters will appear that you may have not seen when going through the first time.
The battles in Warriors Orochi 3 are hack and slash mayhem. However, the simplicity of the Warriors formula was perfect change of pace from every other game I was playing at the time. It is cathartic to single-handedly decimate entire armies with the press of a button (many, many times). Within each battle you are given various objectives; save a fellow general who is losing a skirmish, capture a strategic point to boost morale across the field, or kill an enemy general. This is all done with a team of three heroes, chosen before the battle. The heroes can be swapped at any time with the press of a button, which is critical to survival in the harder difficulties. I’m not going to lie, you do hit the attack button a lot - since every objective is completed by swathing through countless ranks of enemies.
Create your dream team of heroes from across all the Warriors games.
Between each battle you navigate a hub world where a number of activities can be performed. The formula I found to work was to make friends with other heroes by throwing parties. Once you have established a relationship with certain characters you can chat with them to unlock more missions. Finally, the blacksmith is always ready to help you craft new weapons. WO3 uses a fusion system to upgrade weapons where you can merge two items into one, selecting which attributes go into the progeny. It is an easy system to follow and I was able to create some very powerful weapons with attributes like elemental damage, speed increases, or higher item drop rates on the battlefield. The currency used to buy weapons and also level up characters is in the form of gems that are earned in each fight.
One of the most impressive aspects of Warriors Orochi 3 is the sheer amount of content that comes in the form of the unlockable characters. Boasting over 130 playable heroes, WO3 does not make it easy to select a consistent team. I was always trying out one of the six new characters I had rescued in the previous mission. Each of the characters has a weapon specific to them, as well as their own unique moveset. The majority of the characters come from the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors games, but there are a number of cameos from other franchises (Ryu from Ninja Gaiden) and Omega Force’s original created characters. The characters also come packed with a couple different costumes, adding to the variety. Needless to say, I never played with the same team twice unless I was forced to in order to complete a story mission.
Team up with a co-op partner to unleash fantastical attacks on the battlefield.
The co-op in Warriors Orochi 3 allows you and a friend to pair up and fight in a battle that the host player has previously completed. It is a little confusing at first, as you have to talk to a specific NPC in the hub world to invite a friend into your battle, but totally worth it. What is better than decimating whole armies with your favorite hero? Doing it with a friend! There are no major changes to the gameplay, other than the fact that you both get to share the satisfaction of killing double the amount of enemies per level. Omega Force has included another mode called the ‘Musou Battlefield’ that is a user generated content system. In this mode, you are able to create your own battles and share them with others. A cool addition, but something I foresee being used only by the most dedicated Orochi fans.
For fans of the series this will do nothing more than validate your purchase that you have already made. The amount of characters, stages, and unlockables will keep the hardcore fan engaged for months. The soundtrack is verbose and features both classic and original tracks, which fit so well with the fast paced nature of the game. This is the ultimate crossover of the Warriors franchises and it is truly amazing to see all the different heroes coming together across time to save the world. For those of you who wrote off the series a while ago, don’t fall into the same trap as I did and write off Warriors Orochi 3 because it is an excellent game that is full of content that any gamer can appreciate.
This review of Warriors of Orachi 3 is based on the PlayStation 3 version which was provided by the publisher.