Dynasty Warriors 9 is a completely massive game, to put it lightly. There is an incredibly large amount of playable characters in the title, 90 to be exact, and a large number of missions to complete with all of them. The story is also very well fleshed out, and dialogue sequences between different characters are frequent. How does all of this work out though? How does the newest entry into the long-running Dynasty Warriors series fare? Let’s find out. Today, we’re reviewing Dynasty Warriors 9 for the original PS4. Be sure to watch the video review up above as well!
Let’s start with the bad, presentation. The presentation is one of the worst issues with the game. While apparently the game has better resolution and framerate on PC, PS4 Pro and Xbox One X, on the original PS4, the game seems to run below 30 FPS at most times, and chugs especially when a large number of enemies and effects is on screen, which can happen pretty often considering the game we’re playing here. In order to help the game run more smoothly, many textures look fine from afar but examining them closer shows they look straight off the PS2. While important characters have nice, detailed models, side characters and peasants literally look like they have a 12×12 pixel texture just thrown on their face, and are laughable when they’re close enough to see. Pop-in is also a bit jarring at times and is consistently present throughout the title. While many of these issues are bound to come with a game featuring so many animated models on screen at once, the absolutely ridiculous voice acting is inexcusable. The voice acting quality varies from character to character, being anywhere from shockingly awful, to just laughable, to pretty alright. It actually shocks me at how little care went into this portion of the game, with so much dialogue being present in the game. While it seems as if many entries in the Dynasty Warriors games suffer from this issue, you’d think that by the 9th entry they’d have enough capital to actually hire voice actors, and not just pull random people in from the street. To top it all off, the lip syncing of the characters is just awful, and literally never matches what they’re actually saying.
Now let’s get to the OK of it all, the story. Dynasty Warriors 9 has a very fleshed out story, that happens to be pretty interesting too. It’s enjoyable to hear about, to a point. While the actual story segments explaining what’s going on are usually not too long, oftentimes, many characters will stand there, unmoving, and all talk about what’s going on. And then they keep talking. And keep talking. And keep talking. They don’t stop. While I’d like to hear what they’re talking about and learn a bit more about the events occurring, I oftentimes find myself just skipping through it to get to the next gameplay segments, as they just go on for so long. If they were doing something else as they talked, perhaps it would be more interesting, but they just stand in front of the same backdrop, going on and on. While the story of Dynasty Warriors 9 is interesting, there’s honestly just too much of it.
And now, onto the good. The most important part of any game, the gameplay, is where Dynasty Warriors 9 excels. The gameplay of the long-running franchise has been tested and refined over time, and it shows in the newest entry. It simply feels good to ram through a crowd of enemies, and comboing and executing different moves is easy to learn for newcomers to the series and has deeper systems at play for veterans. While much of the gameplay is pretty similar, slash your way through your enemies until there aren’t any left to slash, the massive amount of playable characters and their different playstyles keep it all feeling fresh and new. The game rewards you with new characters frequently, so there’s always someone new to try out, that also offers a different take on the story to hear as well. Plus, there are a few different, smaller segments of gameplay that also mix things up in between the usual hack and slashing the series is known for. Plus, having your horse literally teleport to you at a moment’s notice is pretty cool. The aforementioned horse is fairly speedy and has a feature that allows you to let go of the controller while it gets you to your next waypoint. I only caught one hitch with this system, as my horse violently crashed into a wall and then just floated around a little. Fun. Dynasty Warriors 9 knows what it’s doing when it comes to gameplay. It executes it well, keeps things moving, and is just fun to play.
Overall, Dynasty Warrior 9 is a mixed bag. While the presentation is generally bad or laughable at points, and the story is a bit overwhelming at times, the game excels where it counts. It’s simply a fun game to play. It feels good, and it doesn’t often feel like it’s overstaying its welcome. When the gameplay starts to feel a bit repetitive, there’s always a new character to try out. If you’re a fan of the hack and slash genre, this is a game you’re going to love. If you’re looking to jump into the genre, it’s is a great place to start. Overall, while it has its flaws, Dynasty Warriors 9 provides a huge, enjoyable experience.
A PS4 copy of Dynasty Warriors was provided by Koei Tecmo for the purpose of this review.