Friday, February 24, 2012

Okay, I Can't Resist

Dynasty Warriors and the Vita are two things that you know I can talk about for very extended periods of time so, despite me wanting to not just go on and on about the Vita this week, I'm going to have to.  It's launch week, so I guess that makes it okay, since, y'know, it is the thing to be talked about currently, so there is that.  Regardless, after a trek that involved leaving one GameStop to go to another GameStop entirely because the latter one had a copy that the clerk at the former convinced the clerk at the latter to hold for me, Dynasty Warriors Next was in my possession and, while it was a slightly long journey home then, it was well worth it.  For me, of course, because I am a Warriors whore and this sates the desire and then some, though I'm not sure it's in the way I expected.

I want to get the positive out first; the game is -really- good looking.  While I can see textures that just aren't as detailed as they are on the PS3 version for obvious reasons, I can barely tell that it is, in fact, not as awesome looking because it sure fakes it just as well.  And I think even more importantly, it has a really, really smooth frame-rate.  I haven't noticed really any chugging and the few times where I have questioned FPS, it was more like one of those "Did I imagine that, or did it slow down just a tad for a split-second" moments, so it could have honestly been a trick of my eye.  Basically what I'm saying is that it's slick, and I'm pretty amazed by that.  I guess I expected worse from KOEI for the simple fact that it was their first attempt at making a Vita game which generally leaves the door wide open for technical issues.

The controls are, more or less, untouched from DW7 which isn't too much of a surprise.  The big things here is that R1 no longer switches to your secondary weapon as there are no secondary weapons in Next.  There are also no secondary musous in the same sense as they existed in DW7.  Both of those are rather unfortunate, but I can understand them without too much grumbling.  Also gone from 7 is the ability to swim which, again, is understandable at this point.  I would certainly hope that future Vita installments has swimming back in it since it adds another level of navigating, but we'll just see.  Other than that, the movesets appear to be more or less the same and there are a few extra ones in the game even:  from what I've heard and can tell, there's four movesets in Next that were DLC in 7.  The Bomb, Giant Axe, The Mace or the Wolf's Fang (I believe that's what it's called.  It's the weapon Xiahou Dun had in Dynasty Warriors 6) and the 'Dagger-Axe' are all in Dynasty Warriors Next for Dong Zhuo, Xu Huang, Pang De and Yue Ying respectively to further declone the characters.

There are a few things I'm really a bit perturbed about though, unfortunately, so I have to point them out.  The picture at the top of the post is from my game (which, yessss, I love this screenshot feature!) and it shows off my number one complaint with the game:  the duels.  If you didn't watch the Giant Bomb Quick Look for the game in the first post of a few of the Quick Looks, then you're likely uninitiated into this style of the duels and for that, I apologize for breaking you into this insanity.  In a game all about slamming buttons rapidly, duels use no buttons at all, but instead defer to the touch controls in one of those ways that will make people prematurely hate touch controls because this is awful and stupid.  There are three things you can do in a duel:  slash, don't slash, or guard break, which are done by flicking the screen, not touching the screen, and pressing the screen respectively.  The enemy can do that and also guard and parry, which a parry counts as a hit and they always follow it up with a guard break which is a hit or two as well that you just cannot friggin' block or stop at all.  It's hard to condense into words how a duel works without saying "Flick the screen a lot until you win or die", so let's go with that.

If you want to pretend there's an element of strategy, however, and you will have to for the duels in later levels of the campaign or if conquest starts running long, thus necessitating a scaling difficulty, then you need to study your foe.  If they're just standing, you're suppose to slash them, if they're blocking, you're supposed to Guard break (NEVER SLASH, they will pary and guard break you while you're staggered which negates the point aside from doing big damage.  By the way, your guard breaks do no damage.) and if they're preparing a guard break, slash.  The problem is trying to figure out what the difference between idle stance and blocking is in the short few moments you have before they start smacking you if you don't swing.  I think the biggest damnation against the duel system is that KOEI must -know- it's terrible because once you get in one, you can't get out of it unless you quit the mission entirely or win.  Upon dying, it just gives you the option to retry or quit which might come across as merciful at first, but in my mind, it's a preventative measure to ensure nobody complains about losing an entire mission's progress because the dueling system sucks.  Unfortunately, it was already shown off and they had to stick with it, rather than axing it.

My other issue is that, despite there being a Campaign and Conquest mode, they are largely the same game, save for Campaign has a story attached to it.  Both modes have you use the regular Empires-style mode of play where you pick territories to invade in an attempt to gain a certain portion of China determined on whatever is open.  In the largest map of Conquest, it's the entirety of the land, whereas in everything else I've seen so far, it's...well, less than that.  Lack of variety aside, Conquest does have a rather next little thing that calls itself "Online" but is not, in fact Online and instead merely uses online elements.  When you generate your Conquest map, you can chose to have it populate with other 'players' which actually just takes the Created Warriors they've made and throws them in a province or two, where the creator of them will likely be the ruler of that faction you're up against, or at least located in the capital.  Beating them sends a challenge to them that, when they play the game next with online features activated, they'll receive it and play.  You don't really get to determine what is sent, nor do you get any feedback (did they beat your time/character), but it's interesting nonetheless.  Depending what stage of Conquest Mode you play in, you even have a chance to (temporarily) recruit someone else's CAW and can then take them for a spin which is a mere novelty at best, but still.

I could go far more in-depth in the game than this and I will almost assuredly do that some day, but for now that should be a good-sized peek at my experience.  It's..a few more paragraphs than I intended, even, so that's likely an indication of just how much I could say about the game.  Something to look forward to, I guess.  But for now, my experience has been largely positive, and I'm glad I have it.  Especially since I'll be able to participate in the 'launch campaign' that'll start next week I believe.  Thanks to the Dynasty Warriors Next LiveArea for that, since I likely wouldn't have known about it any other way. the point, I'm sure.

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