Remember that time Chinese warlord Cao Cao teamed up with Zeus to beat up legendary ninja Hattori Hanzo and ten thousand other dudes? Well, Warriors Orochi 4 - released today - certainly does, and I'm starting to think that someone at Koei Tecmo may have fallen asleep in history class. The Warriors Orochi series are an official crossover between the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors games, mangling history nearly as badly as players treat its countless expendable soldiers. Below, the overwhelmingly anime launch trailer.
Musou games (as the sub-genre is known) are usually famed for their excess, but Warriors Orochi 4, being the fourth game in a crossover series, goes all-in. One hundred and seventy playable characters (five new), a new magic system allowing for even faster clearing of big swarms, plus the usual mountains of loot to hoover up in the aftermath of fights. I've previously argued that Dynasty Warriors is to the east as Diablo is to the west - it's popcorn gaming. Comfort food perfect for kicking back, switching off higher brain functions and just enjoying the PG-13 carnage.
For those who were turned off by the shuddering heap of jank that was Dynasty Warriors 9, don't worry. There's no misguided open world ambitions here, and reports are that the PC version runs nicely even when everything is exploding. You'll still ideally need a gamepad, but that's no huge surprise. Any controller that you can keep under a blanket as the days get colder is appreciated, especially for less demanding games like this.
While the little I've seen of Warriors Orochi 4 look perfectly serviceable (reviews for the console versions seem mostly positive, though some say it's simplified compared to Orochi Warriors 3 Ultimate), my twin recommendations within the genre remain unchanged. For pure cathartic 'I just beat up a thousand guys in one combo' fun, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 is a fine time, plus it contains cartoon pirates. For something a little more involved and technical with monster-summoning, complex boss battles a smaller body-count, Dragon Quest Heroes 2 is a lovely time, too.
Warriors Orochi 4 is out now on Steam and Humble for £49.49/53.99/$53.99. Players who buy within the first month get a handful of bonus character costumes, plus Pegasus and Unicorn mounts, although why you'd want those old clunkers when you could ride Red Hare is beyond me.