The killing fields.
Musou games are an interesting breed. I admit, I have never fancied myself a fan of the genre. I liked to refer to it as the “X-button pressing simulator”. However, I also never engulfed myself in one of these experiences quite like I have with Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate. This cleverly named iteration is actually not the first time it has been released. It came out for everything under the sun, including PS3, 360, Vita and even Wii U. The latest version however, comes packed with more content than I could possibly have time to unlock. There are well over 100 characters to play as, from all walks of gaming, including Dead or Alive 5, Soul Calibur, Ninja Gaiden and of course the plethora of other Musou games from the developer.
The most impressive thing about Warriors Orochi 3 is just how big it really is. The original releases were packed with content, but this new version adds even more. There are seemingly endless characters to play as, all with unique special moves. There are also tons of modes and items to unlock. I played for over 20 hours and barely scratched the surface of things to do. This game is packed with enough content to keep players occupied for months.
Platforms: PS4, PS3, Vita, XB1
Price I’d Pay: $49.99
Multiplayer: 1-2 online/offline co-op
Of course, all of that is useless if it is no fun to play. This is where the abundance of things to do helps the game. I spent a bulk of time playing story mode and unlocking characters, but when I grew tired of the grind, I could hop into Gauntlet mode and strategize how to best utilize my team. Then there is the Duel mode, where 3-on-3 battles spice up the combat. It is also worth noting that even though there are 100+ characters, each one feels somewhat unique thanks to their weapon style and special moves. I certainly had my favorites, but I took new teams on every mission just to try each one out.
Story mode was easily my favorite, simply because of the sense of progression. Characters all level up individually, which is daunting I know, but maxing them out is worthwhile because it unlocks new moves and abilities. This is also where I unlocked a lot of the characters, including the cameos from other games. The story is ridiculous, but that is part of its charm.
Bringing the game to the new consoles also brings some nice graphical touches. The frame rate was rock solid on the Xbox One. Even with flashy moves and hundreds of enemies onscreen, it never missed a beat. Sure this is still the same engine, and players have some stiff movements and attack animations, but the sheer amount of mayhem is impressive. Seeing games like Hyrule Warriors really makes me excited for what the first, built-for-these-consoles Musou game will look like.
That stuff in mind, it is worth noting that WO3 does have some drawbacks ,namely the repetition of the combat. While each character has a unique weapon and attack animations, they all rely on pretty much the same combo system. This is a game about mowing down thousands of enemies with little effort, so expecting a robust system for each one is a little much. Still, a more focused cast of characters with unique movesets would make for more interesting encounters.
The frame rate and clean presentation are also the only visual upgrades. Backgrounds still feel confined and archaic, while the stiff attack animations leave a lot to be desired when compared with other titles on these machines.
There is a lot to see and do in Warriors Orochi 3, and being one of my first in-depth experiences with the Musou titles, I came away impressed. Sure it falls short on some basic game mechanics, but it makes up for it with insane combat moves and tons of enemies to mow down. This is the definition of dumb fun, and WO3 packs more than most have the time to discover. If you love the genre, this is like an all-star package; and even for those a little cold on the idea of the games this is definitely worth a look.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.