Twice the players, twice the Musou!
While there’s no co-op in the campaign mode, the considerably lengthy Conquest mode allows for two players, both locally and online. Contrary to the set storylines in the campaigns, Conquest allows you to pick an officer of your choosing and play through hundreds of missions, either solo or with a friend. Missions come in several flavors, from defensive battles to pursuing an enemy officer, or even an all-out battle royale where every kingdom shows up at once, and you must defeat them without any aid. In addition to the standard missions, you may play “Legendary Battles” for a specific officer, which allow you to unlock that officer for play if you haven’t done so in the campaign already.
Co-op works exactly like single-player, though when you’re within a certain distance of your partner, you can combine your Musou attacks to multiply the damage effect. It’s an absolute blast to completely demolish the final boss of a mission with an insane dual-Musou combo. Many high-fives were exchanged after doing this in local co-op sessions.
Where I begin to question the sanity of Koei is in the completely backwards way your local co-op partner has to deal with half of their customization options being restricted to player one. You see, purchasing new weapons or setting guardian animals/sworn allies is done by going into various provincial towns, and only player one may do so. In my local sessions, any time we wanted to make such changes for the second player, we had to back out to the character select screen, and swap characters. We’d change the option and swap back, which was extremely tedious.
"Make fun of my hat, will you?!"
The weirdness doesn’t stop with local co-op: in order to play online, all players need to toggle their session into online mode (off by default), otherwise you cannot invite anyone to your game. Additionally, the game asks if you want to keep your current partner or boot them after each completed mission. Anyone mindlessly dismissing status messages could potentially kick their friends out. If the guest player heads into town, they’re also prompted to leave the party. It just doesn’t make sense.
Once you learn to deal with the odd limitations, rolling through Conquest mode with a buddy is extraordinarily, albeit mindless fun, and once you reach some of the later missions where things get extremely over-the-top, you’ll be glad to have a friend along. Again, the biggest problem here is repetition: though the missions themselves are plenty of fun, the sheer number of them combined with the fact you’ll repeat mission types so often really begins to wear on you after extended play.
Most well-versed gamers will know whether a Dynasty Warriors game is going to appeal to them, but for players new to the series, this is about as good an entry point as there has been in a very long time. Series veterans will enjoy the upgrades to the story presentation and the much-needed overhaul of the game engine, but unless you’re absolutely craving a game of this type, it’s hard to recommend to everyone.
The Co-Op Experience: The two player online co-op mode will feature greater challenges and tougher enemies - it's called Conquest .
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.