Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dynasty Warriors 7 - YES. THIS IS WHAT I WANTED.

So, I got this today.  I tried thinking of something else to post about tonight, but damnit, I can't because I am entirely too excited to do anything else.  Besides, there's not a lot of news going on now, aside from a few people getting some bad 3DSes, which likely isn't enough to bring about cause for concern in anyone, but for anyone looking for just one more reason against dropping $250 on one, well, there you go.  Also, Free Realms, the PS3's very first free-to-play MMO came out today.  As much as I would like to get in on that (given that I have been known to frequent Home every now and again, just to sate my virtual decorator's urge or whatever), if I'm not going to spend the time to DL a gig of data so I can play Heavy Rain again, I'm not going to spend the same amount of time getting a MMO I'll likely not play too much.

Anyways!  None of that concerns slaughtering chinamen by the thousands, so let's drop those subjects.  Now, I'll have you all know, I own just about every single iteration of the Dynasty Warriors series.  2, 3, 3:XL, 4, 4:XL, 4:E, etc. etc.  I have played them thoroughly (aside from 2, just a little too dated to me.) and enjoyed them immensely.  But never have I been this surprised by any of them.  Let me paint a picture for you.

Up to now in the previous games, the layout of starting a level has been pretty simple.  Select the stage, get to the prep screen, equip your weapons, skills, items, steed, hit go.  It loads your level, and bam, you start. 

This?  Not so much.  Gone is the prep screen, for one; instead anything can be done on the fly.  Finally kill enough dudes for enough skill points to get a new thing?  Buy it.  Pick up a new weapon you want to try out?  Equip it.  Right there, right on the spot.

How missions start (at least in story mode so far) is that it loads and places you in the main camp.  You can walk around, talk to the NPCs (who all have voice acting), buy weapons from the vendor, and finally talk to whomever will start the mission.  Now, for any veteran, you would expect a loading screen at this point.  NOT SO.  Upon talking to the starter guy, the gates open and suddenly, shit has just gotten real.  The mission is -on-.  Dynamically.  It might not sound like a lot, but it's amazing in its effect.

Honestly, everything about the effect, the presentation, has been cranked up a notch.  You enter cutscenes seamlessly and leave them just as easily.  Gone is the black-screen sweep to play a little scene showing off something, somewhere or showing off a new enemy.  It just goes right into them, cinematically almost, now really keeping you into the whole thing.

They've also done some considerable tightening on the story; even though I imagine it will still do the normal splintering of "what really happened" towards the end of the kingdom's modes.  Still, I'm impressed that, instead of referring to Cao Cao as "Cow cow", they have gone with the actual "Tsao Tsao", and etc.  It takes a lot of effort to care about your presentation that much and it really helps getting the player to care about it.  (Of course, this may be the fanatical history nerd talking)

While I haven't put a lot of time into it, my first impression is overwhelmingly positive; I haven't been this excited since picking up Yakuza 4 for the first time, and with any luck, juggling between the two of them will be the best of gaming chores for weeks to come.  So if you've had even a cursory interest in the Dynasty Warriors series to this point, I would strongly implore you to seek out a copy at your preferred pricepoint.  It's a keeper.

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