Thursday, October 13, 2011

Upcoming Purchases: Dynasty Warriors 7 Xtreme Legends

So, I'm not really planning on getting a whole lot for myself, game-wise, until the end of the year, which means the games I am getting are things that I obviously care for quite a bit, games that are important enough to me that I have to spend the money I barely have to obtain them.  Which means, if I care enough, if I want it enough to buy it, it's enough that I can also concisely explain my want as well, right?  So, hopefully here will be where I can mete out my reasons for my purchases when they're getting...well, slightly closer to release.  Also, just as a note, I apologize here because I am going to go History Nerd on this post.

November 15th is fairly close which is DW7:XL's announced release date, so, barring any issues around that day will be when I get my hands upon the latest installment of historical chinese genocide.  Although, as in the past, Xtreme Legends isn't a new installment so much as it's the equivalent to an expansion pack for PC games (or, as we know them now "DLC" apparently) since it's not a whole new game, but rather a bunch of additions added on to the main game.  For those out of the loop, there's been an Xtreme Legends version for every Main-Series Dynasty Warriors game since 3 (though they skipped 6, presumably because they'd just already started working on 7) and they've all been much the same as what we can expect from 7:XL, but with something semi-surprising:  New characters.

While hearing "New characters" and "Xtreme Legends" in the same sentence isn't in itself something out of the ordinary, hearing it for Dynasty Warriors is a bit different, since no Xtreme Legends has -added- new characters to the main game before.  Dynasty Warriors 3:  Xtreme Legends allowed you access to the stories of the seven "Other" characters, but they were included in the main game already.  The Empires series of games is normally where you can look for the new characters or real big changes (see:  Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires with new movesets for a gripload of characters), and hopefully this isn't telling of a doing-away with Empires, since that was really just hitting its stride.

There's quite a few oddities with the new characters being implemented with DW7:XL as well, which makes it, to me, that much more interesting.  When it was announced that three characters would be added, I instinctively turned to the Three Kingdoms aspect and anticipated one from each kingdom with Jin and the "Others" being unfortunately left to the wayside once more.  Guo Jia, announced at the same time, would have been the Wei installment, I dared hope of Zhu Ran being added in for Wu and I didn't even -know- who could be added for Shu, but I was assured that whoever it was would have been completely overblown and overplayed since that is how KOEI rolls with Shu.  (And, well, a lot of other sources, in all honesty.)  However, word later released that the other two characters were, drumroll please....also in Wei.

I was completely floored with this, as I assumed three characters being added to one faction would end up leaving it towering in the roster, but then I checked it out and, in all honesty, Wei -needed- the characters.  Numbering at 14 without Jin (What would eventually become Jin was, in essence started by Wei's top strategist, Sima Yi who was relegated to the Jin forces for roster purposes) and 13 with their existence, Wei became the kingdom to have the least officers out of the main three.  Wu numbered in at 16, and Shu at 17, so having it 16, 16, and 17 is much more even now.  Ironically, if you look at the historics of it all, Wei still has the largest pool of notable people they could 'General-ize' (DW Fan-Term, basically means make into a unique character) out of the others, so for them to have gone as the least-numbered in the roster?  That's....a little funny to me.

Anyways, the oddities with the roster don't end at that, as one of the characters in particular is fairly unique in that she is a woman who might have actually existed as a warrior in the time.  Wang Yi, wife of Zhao Ang, wasn't what you could call a prominent figure in the history of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms or the era it was based off of, but to be credited by name as a woman who may have fought in an actual battle, considering the time they were in, is actually kind of a big deal.  If we are to believe what we're told, during a conflict (and a prolonged one at that) with Ma Chao, Wang Yi took up a bow and arrow and actually fought alongside her husbands men as they attempted to repel Ma Chao's forces, raising their morale in doing so as a shining example of loyalty.  The long and short of it, unfortunately, looks like they didn't succeed in holding Ji Castle, but throughout the whole conflict (several different engagements, of course, since that's how battles used to be) Wang Yi fought and advised her husband on the best ways to succeed.  That they didn't, well....seems a bit unimportant in the face of the history here.

Of course, in DW:XL7, she'll fight with Sai, which completely negates just about everything.  That she's even a character kind of does that as well, since as I said, it appears that she only fought in one battle and then disappeared in the eyes of historians, but, well, details.  Joining her and Guo Jia (who will fight with an orb and scepter and, presumably by extension of that, magic which actually isn't a first) will be Pang De, who I believe I have complained about re: his Dynasty Warriors interpretation before and will have to do so again.  Introduced in Dynasty Warriors 5, Pang De was one of the several characters cut in the transition from 5 to 6, though personally that exclusion didn't really mean much.  In 5, his weapons were a pair of Halberds that he wielded rather slowly (I would call it "Matter-of-Factly", considering they were slow, but fairly precise) and said weapons were handed off to Zhang Liao (who previously used a, er...long Halberd) in the move to 6 who showed us all how a man wields twin halberds.

Unsurprisingly, his re-addition to the cast brings a particular stench of laziness as he will once again wield a pair of halberds (likely with the majority of Zhang Liao's moveset) rather than a new and, frankly more interesting weapon.  This is the part that I'm sure I've brought up before, but I'll re-tread it anyway, by the way.  Pang De was fairly known (in the novel, at least) for his several bouts with Guan Yu which resulted in a rather heated rivalry where De was concerned at least.  It was said that at one point (and this is where I'm finding discrepancies which unfortunately sullies my perfect vision) that he commissioned a coffin made to Guan Yu's specifications (as Guan Yu was a rather large man) and started to drag it into battle to show his determination of felling Yunchang (Guan Yu's style name).  The alternate account states that he simply had the coffin made to show that he would either win the next battle he met Guan Yu at or die.

This is my build-up, of course, into suggesting that his weapon should have been a coffin rather than anything else.  It's no more ridiculous than Twin Iron Fans or a fire-spewing magic staff, despite the visage of a giant man smacking other men with a large wooden box, so it's not that it would be too crazy or anything like that.  It would likely rely a lot on capture-combat, much like Ding Feng, a character added for 7 who fights with gauntlets, so it's not like it's that foreign a concept either.  Unfortunately, it seems that I'm really the only person who sees it this way, but oh well.  At least I can come on here and talk about how awesome my idea would be and never get proven wrong!

Character nerding out aside, Xtreme Legends 7 also looks to add the usual fare for Xtreme Legends games:  A Mode that sounds an awful lot like a blend of the Xtreme Mode from previous Xtreme Legends games and something out of Empires called the "Legend Scenario" where a player controls a character through more difficult versions of battles used throughout the campaign, can bring along another character of their choosing and furnish a castle as the progression goes.  I'm more than a little confused and intrigued by this mode based on the sole description I have to explain it, so I'll have to report back on how it is once I have the game.  Aside from that, there's also a "Hero Scenario" mode which sounds like a retread of something similar from DW4:XL which seems to be showing off specific battles (with specific characters) that a character may be known from.  Something like Gan Ning's flawless night raid, Zhang Fei's defense of Chang Ban bridge or, for something a bit larger scale, Lu Meng's participation at the battle of Fan Castle.

There's a score of other new things being added in, such as new weapons and the return of the disk-swapping to have the 'full' DW7+XL experience, but what I've touched on, I feel, is the important bits.  They're why I'm buying the game, in the end, really.  Well, them and the barebones destruction at a large scale that the game, as a base, provides constantly.

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