WARNING: DO NOT PURSUE LU BU.
You’d think after six main series entries and several spinoffs to the Dynasty Warriors series, Koei would grant us our PhDs in Asian History with a focus on the Later Han Dynasty, but alas, they’ve decided we need one more refresher course and thus, we have Dynasty Warriors 7.
Once again, you’re thrust back into a fantastical retelling of Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms and yes, you’ll once again put a stop to the troublesome Yellow Turban Rebellion along your path to glory. Each of the kingdoms (Wei, Wu, Shu and as a bonus: Jin) has its own campaign, telling their side of the story, though honestly, the only substantial difference beyond all the grandiose posturing and fortune-cookie dialogue is what characters you can play as.
Combat is still based around stringing together normal and strong attacks to build up your Musou gauge, which lets you unleash a powerful, army-destroying attack. Stringing together combos and using your Musou as a finisher is a necessity, especially once you become locked in combat with enemy officers.
"Behold! My ultimate attack! DREAMY GAZE: ACTIVATE!"
A new addition is the ability for your officers to carry a secondary weapon. Switching between your weapons triggers a special move or effect, such as an area-of-effect stun or even spawning a phantom clone of your character to fight alongside you for a few seconds. Weapon switching also allows you to extend your combos, building your Musou meter faster. Mastering this sytem will definitely make murdering (pardon me, “knocking out”) thousands of medieval Chinese soldiers an easy task.
Defeating enemy officers allows you to collect weapons as well as health, damage and defense upgrades. These stat increases are permanently attached to the character who picks them up, and are persistent through all of the game modes. By the time you clear a campaign and move on to Conquest mode, you’ll have a suite of high-power officers to choose from.
The big problem endemic to the Dynasty Warriors series is repetition. If you’ve played through one campaign, there’s little reason to go through the others unless you want to unlock officers or see the different sides of the story.