You won’t be disappointed by the brand new Dynasty Warriors 8. The basic story mode remains the same as before, but each of the stages now has more freedom for progression for the player.
Free mode is back for the first time since Dynasty Warriors 6, and players are allowed the option of playing as an opposing faction as with versions three and four, rather than being forced to play in a faction as in the last version Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends.
Also, in the new Ambition mode, players are tasked with creating a social base for peasants — the Tongquetai Tower — and must get Emperor Xian to visit it.
To raise the tower’s profile and status, players need to take part in three different forms of battle: raids to increase fame, skirmishes to get hold of the requisite materials to build the tower, and large-scale battles whereby players can recruit new partners. All players begin with the weapon shop as their only base facility, but additional facilities can be gained or increased as the town becomes ever more populated. These facilities include a menagerie, a food market and a trade shop.
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Dynasty Warriors 8 also comes with new mechanics for battle based on a new concept, Commander Affinity. One of these is Storm Rush, a multiple hit attack whereby you need to repeatedly press the attack buttons.
You can use Storm Rush when your affinity level is higher than your opponent’s, which is depicted via a blue gauge over the opponent’s head, and decreases when you attack. Storm Rush becomes initiated only when this gauge is fully depleted.
Switch Counter is another additional new mechanic to use when you’re playing the game. This is a counter attack mechanism allowing players to avoid an onslaught via a hard hitting attack from their opponents. It can be triggered when a player’s affinity is lower than the opponent’s and is depicted via a red exclamation mark. When your opponent does strong attack, a marker appears, which gives you a chance to counter with switch counter.
And finally, there’s another new mechanic called Rage Awakening, which is quite like the Rage system from version 5. This needs the awakening gauge to get to full, and this can be achieved only by attacking enemies. When the gauge is showing full, it can be used via R3, whereby your stats increase quickly while the gauge depletes. This function also merges players’ musou bars together. During this process, players can perform “awakening musou” — a strong move similar to musou from previous versions of Dynasty Warrior.
Love it or hate it?
Overall, the best new thing about Dynasty Warriors 8 is probably the aforementioned Ambition mode — building the base to get an emperor to come and visit you. Starting from your camp, you’ve got to make your way to the battlefield, then choose between scrounging materials, recruiting allies (by stabbing them) or getting fame (by stabbing people again). People who love the previous versions will love version eight; those who didn’t probably won’t.