Monday, December 12, 2011
Progress is a Pile of Untouched Weapons
I'm sure it will surprise no one that I'm still stuck on Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends in terms of 'completing' the game (I.E. getting the Platinum for it because it's not -hard to do- just tedious as hell), but I am getting quite close to it. Of the top of my head, I can't think of only five more trophies to go before I have Platinum number Eighteen, but much like Dynasty Warriors 7 vanilla, it's making me really -earn- that trophy. Not that I mind it so much, of course, except I do a little bit, when the task at hand involving a trophy is entirely too long, convoluted and tedious to go over. And while I've already stated my thoughts on the game once, I think a reiteration/clarification is in order since I'm so much further in it now. I guess I should go over that one first, since it's good to get my whinging out of the way first.
Xtreme Legends claim to annoyance fame is the inclusion of the Hub City system which introduces city atmosphere, which isn't directly the cause for annoyance, but is sort of a major part of it. You see in Legend mode (basically all XL has to offer without a Remixing of it and DW7 vanilla), your 'task' is to rebuild a city that is in poor condition and bring it to such prominence that the Emperor seeks shelter within the walls of your castle. This occurs by, basically, beating the different tiers of the levels to unlock them to the final difficulty level (Levels are rated in stars from one to ten, one being easy, ten being hard) and then beating that. It's.....incredibly short. Like, you'll see the 'credits' in one sitting, basically, and the rest is more or less for your 'amusement' in general terms. Of course, you -should- be wanting to beat every stage at least once to see just what all they have to offer.
However, this is kind of where the issue is, in that your city is treated as more important than it is. It is, for all intents and purposes, a menu that you can walk around in, rather than just dumping you into a menu between every level that you play. You can walk around to the different service people (when they're unlocked) and buy stat-boosting items, weapons, unlock seals on them if you haven't already, tell a merchant where to buy and sell, talk to the City Guard to pick your next level, or talk to someone to change your Adjutant. In Legends eyes, whatever your character is is the "Ruler" of the city, and your Adjutant rules in your stead as you go out and gather glory for your banner. This is where City atmosphere comes into play, as it kind of relies on your Adjutant but...not really. It's a bit hard to explain.
The starting atmosphere, which you never see again after you upgrade it is "Desolate", where nobody is present but your Adjutant, the person who can change your Adjutant and the City guard more or less. Again, you win a couple levels and bam, you have a city and it'll be either Carefree or Orderly. If the city is Carefree, everything purchasable is half-price for....some reason, and if it's Orderly your attack and defense will be higher in the next stage you enter. After so many stages, provided you don't switch your Adjutant, said Adjutant will switch the City Atmosphere to "Friendly" which basically means your Adjutant gives you a gift and says their 'devotion line'. There is, to my knowledge, absolutely no way to guarantee a Friendly Atmosphere or at least no guaranteed way to a speedy one. It seems purely random, and of course, the devotion line is the thing you need.
For every character.
There's a separate trophy for hearing all the Female Devotion Lines, one for hearing all the Male Devotion Lines and one for hearing -all- of them (which means you'll get it at the same time as the second Gender-specific trophy you get) which, if you didn't get it before, is a terrible process since it can take forever for completely arbitrary reasons. I'm cooking up a theory about how it seems like your Adjutant (man, I'm getting tired of typing that word) raises their own stats while they're in the position, so I'm just wondering if there's a certain threshold where they have to get to before they're happy. But I haven't done any math to go with that at all to support it. Maybe I'll try with the next couple of people I throw up there. Regardless, this is the -thing-, much like Bond-grinding in DW7 that will pad out the game for entirely more hours than necessary.
The only other thing I could hold against the game is that I'm a little fussed at the amount of stages included in Legend mode. When you start, you see a lot of the lower star ranked levels, not to mention the inclusion of some 'classic' maps from older DWs (3, 5 and 6 specifically) from several perspectives (basically, multiple sides. You can play the Shu version, Wei version, -and- the Wu version of Fan Castle for instance) and you're like "Wow, this is a lot of content, awesome", and then, around the six star levels it just...drops. There's only three seven star levels which you will have to play over and over again God, to grind for titles for everyone since everyone inevitably requires you to beat a seven star ranked level apparently and only two each of Nine and Ten star levels. I imagine you can remedy this by remixing with DW7 to access the different levels of stages in Conquest but I can't be assed to try. Disk-swapping? Psh.
Regardless, every one of those stages has something to offer, namely the new tiers of weapons that you earn under certain circumstances that I'm calling 'Chaos' and 'Nightmare' weapons in a bout of sheer uncreativity. That's a word now. As implied with the title, if you want these tantalizing new and special weapons, you have to beat the stage on the required difficulty level (Chaos is harder than Hard, Nightmare is harder than Chaos) while completing a certain amount of objectives like "Defeat # of enemies in # minutes" or "Defeat # enemy generals in # minutes", or sometimes more specifically "Prevent Wei from establishing catapults and defeat every Wei officer while ensuring Zhuge Liang, Jiang Wei and Yue Ying are safe.". They're so-so difficult at best as even the dramatically specific ones like the latter example can be gamed fairly easily. (In this instance, by playing -as- Zhuge Liang, since the stage in question is Wu Zhang Plains which is, according to the novel, Zhuge Liang's last battle in which he actually dies during it. And he actually dies during the stage, which throws Jiang Wei into commander's position. Obviously, Zhuge Liang can't die if you're playing as him since that'd be bullshit.)
The Chaos weapons are nice, but the fact that I could basically accumulate every Nightmare weapon -after- getting all the Chaos weapons (by pretty much using the Chaos Sword and Chaos Halberd exclusively until I got the Nightmare version of each) makes them obsolete before they even hit the ground. While talking with Saki-Chan about it, I basically instanced it as my character getting this weapon, showing a mild amusement for it and then tossing it into a building that housed all the other weapons that went similarly unused. It's a delightful mental image but a terribly lacking gameplay mechanic, really. I -could- limit myself to using a specific character for a specific weapon and then using their Chaos weapon to get their Nightmare, but, look, I have a lot to look forward to already, I don't need to make more work for myself alright?
Still, I like having all these weapons. I like having all the characters DW7 Xtreme Legends has to offer, and I like all the stages it introduces (especially the old ones), but I can't help but just want more as I've expressed already. More substance, at least, not particularly more to do. Still, I've pretty much got Dynasty Warriors NEXT on my plate as well as the eventual DW7 Empires (hopefully), so it's not like my excursions with DW7 (or DW7-esque gameplay) are over with by a long shot. I'll get my -more- eventually for sure, so the only issue is biding my time until then. While racking up 1000 kills with siege weapons and getting those Adjutant (had to say it one more time) Devotion Lines accumulated, I'll sigh dreamily at the thought of making my own character to take with my on the go in my Vita, and wonder just what direction they'll take with this version of Empires. I have big hopes for it, but I dare not speak them since I had big hopes for Samurai Warriors 3 and, well, we all saw how that worked out.