To The Max: Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Ported

Gnarly

Few games deserve the hyperbolic titles publishers bestow upon them, but with dozens of soldiers routinely being hurled into the air at once then whacked and zapped by a tiny lady with a giant four-bladed crossed-axe shuriken, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition can probably get away with it. Something about Omega Force’s mythological take on Chinese history has always put me off playing the series, perhaps as I’m less au fait with Japanese genres, but they’re a sort of silliness that I’ve enjoyed knowing exists with a big budget thrown behind it.

DW8XLCE is coming over to PC from PlayStations in May, publisher Koei quietly announced on Thursday shortly before we all skipped away to enjoy the long weekend.

So what’s this Complete Edition business about? Koei’s bundled together both Dynasty Warriors 8 and its standalone expansion, Xtreme Legends. Does it particularly matter what the expandalone added if we never saw the original game anyway? Stuff. New bits. Things.

While Koei regularly sprays Warriors sequels and spin-offs at consoles–everything from Gundam and Fist of the North Star to the Trojan War and The Legend of Zelda–it’s a lot more reserved on PC. The last game ported to PC was DW7 in 2012, but that was never officially released round our way.

Look, here’s a trailer from the PlayStation version showing off many of the game’s bright colours:

32 Comments

  1. dE says:

    Cow Cow.

  2. Erinduck says:

    Given the rather shakey history of Japanese console game ports, I think I’ll wait for some more details on how well it runs before even glancing at it.

    • Wedge says:

      Koei has a solid track record bringing their DW games to PC (though they have generally not seen wide release) and the ones I’ve played have all been excellent quality ports. It’s a big deal that they are finally releasing on Steam though, I had to find older PC versions through more dubious channels, as they were rarely readily sold in the US. Hopefully they’re porting the PS4 version of the game as well, with the extra shinies and wotnot.

  3. BrandeX says:

    They should pull a Final Fantasy, and change the numbers they are using on foreign (English) versions of the game back to the correct number.

  4. DrollRemark says:

    I’ve never been able to forgive Dynasty Warriors for the fact that I once watched a housemate play one of the early PS2 version a decade ago, and it looked like the dullest game imaginable. Identikit enemies, atrocious fog of war, and seemingly no challenge whatsoever.

    I’ve no idea what any of the other games in the series are like, but sorry DW, you’re already dead to me.

    • Sinkytown says:

      They are all exactly as you describe.

    • Rizlar says:

      I remember enjoying the crap out of one of the PS2 games. Must have borrowed it off a friend, since I don’t remember ever owning it.

      Charging around the battlefield while cheesy metal plays, smashing up people with a giant hammer. Suddenly the opponent’s general appears! Run through a raging battle, looking for your opponent… epic combat ensues! <3

      • Great Cthulhu says:

        I used to play the GBA version way too much during my daily commute by train. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why I found it entertaining, but I did. Something hypnotic about it, I suppose.

        As to this new one: do any of the enemies ever actually do anything besides just stand around? They seem more like zombies than soldiers.

        • Sinkytown says:

          They’re extremely polite. Dynasty Warriors is UTTERLY EVISCERATED by Spartan: Total Warrior.

        • Wret says:

          I’m not sure about the older games, (oldest I’ve played was 4) but in DW6 on PC, raising the difficulty raised the grunts aggressiveness. Like, to the point they were rather dangerous.

          And THEN I tried Chaos difficulty. I got slapped three times in the back by a private and then I was dead. Also raising the difficulty caused generals to hunt you down if you take out too many of theirs(“You are a wild beast, and I must cage you!”), which was neat.

          I think the DW games have more in them than people give it credit for but it’s kind of Koei’s fault for how they present the content. On Normal and Easy the enemies are dumb, on Hard and higher they get more interesting but you would never know that unless you enjoyed playing on Normal. And raising the difficulty also raises enemy health and damage so if you’re using a fresh character it’s frustrating as hell. There’s also a shit load of characters with unique weapons, but you typically stick with one at a time instead of diversifying since swapping character means, again, starting over at level 0. I’d say this is an example where a leveling progression system actively hurts the game it’s attached to. It’s neat in the Empires expandalones when everyone one on the map starts at level 0 and needs to accumulate levels over the course of the campaign, but otherwise it encourages you to burn yourself out on one or few characters.

    • malkav11 says:

      There’s a lot more nuance and challenge than there appears to be (do not fuck with Lu Bu), not to mention a lot more variation between entries in the overall Musou franchise. But it’s certainly true that there are a lot of clones running around because the idea is that you are an incredibly strong warrior plowing through hundreds of lesser men so there needs to be a lot of lesser men to plow through. The challenge, in my experience, tends to come from fighting other hero-level characters and trying to complete level objectives in a timely fashion (the degree to which objectives are emphasized depends on the game and the series – I’m most used to the Samurai Warriors version that’s about feudal Japan and has often had a very strong emphasis on the objectives including branching storylines).

      I dunno. I probably won’t buy this because I have more Musou games than I will ever play already for consoletoy, and the core Dynasty Warriors series hasn’t tended to engage me, in part because I don’t know the Three Kingdoms story they’re based on. But there’s a tendency to scoff at the series that I don’t think is fair.

      • Reapy says:

        Dynasty warriors is like a guilty pleasure of mine. I’ve only owned two versions spaced a few years apart, but I have thoroughly enjoyed them each time. It is relaxing to slash through hundreds of people, but as you said there is a pretty difficult element of completing the maps correctly.

        Despite your ability to hack through anything in front of you, there are so many things to hack through that if you don’t do it at the right time and right place and sometimes fast enough, you can lose out on secret objectives or just find your general’s overwhelmed and short on troops for the final push.

        But yes, mechanically you are AOE slashing through troops for an hour. Still, awesome games… I might be over due for a new one soon…hrmmmmmm

      • Philomelle says:

        “Do not fuck with Lu Bu” rule no longer works as of DW7. While he can be a challenge in the Conquest mode (but a lot of things are surprisingly challenging in the conquest mode), within the story mode, Guan Yu pretty much bends him over one knee and spanks him until he runs crying. I actually laughed at the way it happens, since suddenly the great and terrible Lu Bu is just another high-level mook.

        Although I suppose that doea mean “do not fuck with Lu Bu” has simply been replaced with “do not fuck with Guan Yu,” which is historically more accurate.

        On that note, they did expand the combat system considerably. Weapons are much more fluid, enemies are smarter, stronger and can actually kill you if you don’t develop a rhythm to your hack’n’slashing. It’s still pretty much a dumb “one against many” brawler, but I feel it’s been changing enough to stay fun from one sequel to another.

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    *Shrugs* Ok, bit unexpected. If the port is decent I’ll pick it up. Think the last one I played was Empires. It’s a fun series, practically a modern interpretation of side scrolling beat-em-ups.

  6. gravity_spoon says:

    *Lu Bu has entered the battlefield*
    *Player has quit the game*
    :D

    This is one of the best stress-busters out there. For anyone that hasn’t played, try Warriors Orochi too. Its kind of a mashup between DW and Samurai Warriors.

  7. Ansob says:

    I really, really want them to port the Gundam one over, but this will do in the meantime.

  8. Keyrock says:

    I feel the title just isn’t extreme enough. They should have gone with Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Hyper Ultimate Uber Legents Omega Platinum Diamond Edition Turbo Z.

    On a serious note, this game is likely not my cup of tea, but the general consensus around it seems to be that it’s pretty rad.

  9. boyspud says:

    Been playing Dynasty Warriors since 3. Played nearly every one since, including the Samurai Warrior and Orochi games (though the gundam one was strangely awful even though it was also the exact same).. I am irrationally excited for this.

    People applauded Blood Dragon for being a throwback to when games didn’t need a serious plot and were just games. Dynasty Warriors has never lost that. Its ridiculous fun, and that is all it is.
    Besides, check out the intro from the regular version of DW8 link to youtube.com

  10. Screwie says:

    I unapologetically love these games, and 8 has the best one in a few iterations now.

    Really excited to have the latest come to PC, hopefuly with online-capable co-op and even modding, but who knows? Steam integration is a good start, anyway.

  11. Barnox says:

    I played an earlier instalment on Xbox and really enjoyed it, been waiting for a port for a while.
    My favourite feature/mode on the older one was creating my own character, then doing missions and levelling up. I see the levelling feature is in, but is the character creation?

    • wilynumber13 says:

      Character creation mode is relegated to the Empires expansion only for the past few titles. It’s not in this one.

  12. wilynumber13 says:

    See, the trick with Dynasty Warriors is that you immediately need to set it to Hard difficulty. Once you do that, the biggest complaints I see from people about repetition and simplicity all vanish.

  13. SuicideKing says:

    The enemy looks dumb…and as if they’re just there as “cannon” fodder. Where “cannon” represents whatever the hell i just saw :D

    • Baines says:

      Generic troops are cannon fodder in the various Warriors games. You finish stages with KO counts in the hundreds, if not over a thousand. (Some games gave you a boost for getting 1000 KOs, and some even put it as a condition for certain unlocks.)

      Cannon fodder troops come in part from just being fun to overwhelm, and in part because it is based on a story where the best fighters were so much insanely better than the average farmer-given-a-weapon troops.

      What Koei could do to make the cannon fodder troops more interesting has been an issue though, and it seems like it is an issue that Koei eventually gave up on trying to solve. The problem is that if you make the cannon fodder troops even remotely capable and/or intelligent, the player gets annoyed and/or straight up murdered.

      One game tried to make enemy troops attack a little more intelligently. They did lunges one at a time. This nearly killed combat. The lunges knocked the player out of his own moves, which kept him from comboing, in a system where most of the utility moves required a combo to activate. (For example, basic AOE was the fourth move of a Normal-Normal-Normal-Charge combo, but it was difficult to actually reach that fourth move whenever there were enough enemies around to warrant your AOE.) Worse, you’d get stunned on hit. If you were fighting a general with a few escorts, that was time enough for the general to combo you. If you were in a crowd of faceless troops, then it was time enough for the next generic troop to lunge, locking you in hitstuns until they either very slowly chipped away your life, juggled you away, or built your meter enough for a musou.

      Another tried boosting the damage of arrows. Arrows were kind of meaningless before then, with players largely ignoring them. Boosting damage made players go after the archers…but only because archers were now capable of straight up murdering you. You might get hit by two or three volleys closing in on a group of archers. And if you were on horseback, you’d be knocked off. It was worse when there were multiple groups. Koei defanged arrows again in the game that followed.

      Samurai Warriors added specialty bodyguards, who also appeared as special enemy units. Not faceless troops and not generals, but the “best” could be as deadly as a general and more annoying, bouncing you around with hit after hit.

      Finding the right balance is either hard or outright impossible (particularly in a game that allows the player to level up to get stronger and which has selectable difficulty levels.) Koei eventually gave up trying to make generic troops interesting to fight.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Um. Wow. Quite a write up! But…isn’t the simplest solution to reduce their number, when they’re made tougher?

        I’m not familiar with these games at all, sorry if this sounds ignorant.

        • Baines says:

          I think the logic there is that if they reduce the numbers, then it won’t look like a Dynasty Warriors game any more.

          Dynasty Warriors stood out for its enemy counts, as well as the feeling that you were controlling a force of nature on a battlefield. Cutting the enemy count will reduce or remove that feeling. Warriors games can actually feel a bit sparsely populated as it is, though it is also bad when the existing enemies just stand around oblivious.

          Fewer but smarter enemies would also mean that Omega Force would likely have to redo the combat system. The system is built around the idea of knocking around hordes of weak enemies, and is already at best iffy when it comes to one-on-one battles.

          There is also the competition factor. Despite Capcom’s earliest claims, its Sengoku Basara franchise was clearly a Musou/Warriors clone.

          And the elephant in the room is that the various Warriors games make money for Koei, and Koei plans to milk them as long as possible. Major shake ups are risky, and Koei doesn’t want to risk the money flow.

          It doesn’t help that Omega Force hasn’t had the greatest track record on innovation. An old claim was that it took them two games to get something right, the first to introduce a new idea and the second to fix it. They’ve introduced various ideas that were only tried once, like DW5’s mini-stages. Then there were the horde of “seemed like a good idea at the time” balance adjustments, like the archers of death. Or the disconnect between offscreen and onscreen combat (which peaked around I believe DW5, where an ally AI general could be unstoppable and untouchable as long as you were looking at him, but simply turning your back could have him dead in about 30 seconds.) But their worst misstep may have been the short lived overhaul of the combat system in DW7. The Renbu system became fairly quickly loathed for removing what bit of thought there was in the combat system, truly turning it into mindless button mashing. Basically, if Omega Force tried to “fix” combat in the Warriors games, I’d expect them to botch it and Koei to tell them to go back to the old system for the next game.

  14. XCrusherX says:

    Sounds great! A totally underrated series in my opinion. I haven’t played every title, but I usually pick up every second or so and enjoy the heck out of it. I hope they don’t mix fiction with history too much since it sounds like it – I personally enjoyed the historical storylines much more since you even learn a little bit while playing. DW 7 has done that wonderfully with some exceptions that you can easily pinpoint.

    And never underestimate the tactical aspect of this game – Just set the difficulty high enough and you find yourself rushing through the battlefield to strategic positions to keep the troop morale up. It may not be comparable to pure strategy games, but it certainly is much more than mindlessly mashing a single button through weak units.

    Let’s hope for a good port.

  15. Jupiah says:

    Well, that was unexpected. I might actually buy one of these games now. I’ve looked into the series before but refused to buy any of them in protest of the fact that virtually all of them get expansion packs that are only added to ports and never released for the console it launched on, or which only come as standalone discs and are never just released as dlc or bundled together with the original game, or which never leave Japan at all.

    Oh and which consoles they release on seems completely random and arbitrary. For example, Samurai Warriors 1 and 2 released on the Xbox and Xbox 360 respectively in America, but Samurai Warriors 3 is a Wii exclusive. It’s freaking ridiculous, and as a game collector who always wants to buy the “best” version of a game and buy all the dlc if I like the game, these practices completely makes me lose interest in this series.

  16. green frog says:

    Neat. I’ve always wanted to learn more about Chinese history, so it’s great that such faithful historical simulators such as these exist to satiate that desire.