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Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition

Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (1)

“It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide.”

The opening lines of Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms encapsulate not only the cyclical destiny of a post-Han Dynasty China, but also the trajectory of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. A sprawling series which has spawned eight main iterations, a variety of spin-offs and tactically-rooted variants, as well as offshoots situated in the worlds of Gundam, One Piece, and Fist of the North Star, the Tecmo-Koei property has splintered into a mini-industry. Concurrently, the recent release of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita demonstrates unification- appending mislaid characters such as Chen Gong, Lü Lingqi into Dynasty Warriors 8’s already profuse cornucopia of content.

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Since the franchise’s musou-driven mechanics were first established in 2000’s Dynasty Warriors 2, developer Omega Force has offered increasingly loose interpretations of the source material. While each games’ overarching battles are drawn from literary context, the more personal undertaking of guiding a single character to dispose of hundreds of oft-inactive foes is pure power-fantasy. More recent Dynasty Warriors entries have enlarged the number “what if” scenarios, extended imagined challenges between the Wei, Wu, Shu and Jin clans. Xtreme Legends Complete Edition weaves even more of these into its plotlines, unlocking hypothetical scenarios when players complete certain actions during each kingdom’s story- as well as a concluding side-story mission that’s assured to amuse fans.

The infamous ‘invincible warrior, Lü Bu receives his own storyline- providing a bit of redemption for the formidable, pheasant tail-donned boss character. Although Lü Bu’s campaign might be short, his capability on the battlefield is unmatched- allowing players to use his legendary Sky Piercer to wreak havoc on encroaching opponents. Even more enjoyable is the incorporation of Chen Gong, one of the Complete Edition’s five additional characters. Armed with a scroll, the protagonist can summon phantom soldiers which lash out an enemies. In summary, the inclusion adds 52 additional missions to Dynasty Warriors 8’s already impressive collection of 88 assignments and 78 “Free Mode” scenarios, forging one of gaming largest time sinks.

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Ambition Mode was Dynasty Warriors 8’s attempt at incorporating some of the elements of the Empire titles. Players were tasked with building the Tongquetai Tower in an effort to convince the Emperor to visit their province. Here, the goal is extended, as gamers attempt to reunite the land by conquering wayward territories. New parameters are revealed- from the integration of a countdown timer for each mission to the ability to cultivate and command up to three bodyguards. Despite the changes, Ambition Mode’s attempt to incorporate role-playing-like elements into the franchise fall a bit short.

Although the accumulation of allies, materials, and fame might be enough of impetus to justify the frequent trips to the battlefield, the narrative-based rewards are a bit disappointing- with generic NPC’s providing perfunctory text-based praise and bland bits of exposition. The upside is that Ambition Mode bequeaths gems- the currency that grants gamers access to Weapon Fusion. Borrowed from the Warriors Orochi series, Fusion allows players to forge awe-inspiring arms by combining the abilities of owned weapons. In execution, players can craft offensive devices which regenerate heath or intensify damage with poison, fire, or lightning-based strikes.

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More than most games, Dynasty Warriors is a game best enjoyed at higher challenge levels. Drop the difficulty setting down, and the game functions as a cathartic, mindless brawler, allowing players to button mash their way through docile crowds. But raise the level of adversity, and the game changes drastically- not just altering the amount of damage the protagonist issues and incurs, but changing the way the game is played. Here, the game becomes far more strategic, requiring players to monitor and manage ally progress, to avoid a demoralizing defeat.

For score chasers, Challenge Mode makes a reappearance after an absence in Dynasty Warriors 8. This collection of five different tests present a collection of time-based challenges such as attempting to knock foes off a network of bridges or racing through a stage as quickly as possible. Beyond the posting of high scores to an online leaderboard, Challenge also spurs success with a collection of five exclusive weapons. The one blemish on this component is that trials only accommodate a single player. While the game’s other components support online play, these fleeting, often frantic deviations would have certainly been elevated by the presence of a partner.

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Visually, the PlayStation 4 version of Xtreme Legends Complete offers a substantial graphical enhancement over its predecessors. Beyond extended draw distances, improved lighting models and a framerate which habitually strives to stay in the thirty to sixty range, textures are often improved- with skin exhibiting an organic suppleness. Small curios such as interactive Twitch support and voice-work issued from the DualShock 4 offer a few superfluous incentives, as well. Naturally, the abilities of the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita can’t quite measure up- while these versions attempt a fluid framerate, heated battles can slow things down drastically. Regardless of platform, the game’s searing guitar licks will serenade every battle. While the inclusion is strikingly anachronistic- at this point Omega Force is unlikely to change tradition.

Nearly as labyrinthine as the tangled network of loyalties in the Three Kingdoms is the pricing structure for the three iterations. PlayStation 3 owners can purchase Xtreme Legends as a standalone disk which allow players to access to DW8’s Story and Free Mode content through a verification system which sporadically confirms ownership of either the original disk or the downloadable version. The upside is disk swapping- a common practice in previous Xtreme entries has been eliminated. Unfortunately, the version’s $39.99 price tag is a bit exorbitant. As PlayStation 4 and PS Vita owners didn’t receive DW8, Tecmo-Koei bundled all of the content in the Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, which costs $59.99 for the console version and $39.99 for the portable iteration. Although cross-save and cross-play functionality are a welcome addition in the West, loyal fans might bemoan the lack of any savings when both games are purchased.

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Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition
was played on the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita with review code provided by the publisher. Scoring reflects the PlayStation 4 version.

“It is a general truism of this world that anything long divided will surely unite, and anything long united will surely divide.” The opening lines of Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms encapsulate not only the cyclical destiny of a post-Han Dynasty China, but also the trajectory of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. A sprawling series which has spawned eight main iterations, a variety of spin-offs and tactically-rooted variants, as well as offshoots situated in the worlds of Gundam, One Piece, and Fist of the North Star, the Tecmo-Koei property has splintered into a mini-industry. Concurrently, the recent release of…

Review Overview

Gameplay - 80%
Control - 85%
Aesthetics - 80%
Content - 100%
Accessibility - 75%

84%

Good

Summary : Elevated by a substantial amount of content, Xtreme Legends Complete is the consummate musuo experience, building on Dynasty Warrior 8’s amended combat and weapons systems.

User Rating: 4.49 ( 5 votes)

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert ‘DesertEagle’ Allen is Tech-Gaming’s resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

24 comments

  1. I’ve been reading your DW review for years now- you’ve always seems to like the series, but most people dismissed it.

    I think there’s finally been a change and people turned the corner. Glad to see it getting some appreciation.

  2. Opening the review with a quote from Romance of the Three Kingdoms?

    Bravo, sir! Well done.

    The rest of the review is pretty damn good as well.

  3. So there’s no Xtreme Legends for the Xbox 360? Just PlayStation? Is that a Sony exclusive?

    • This games are much bigger in Japan. Over there Xbox has a very small market share, so the only way of a 360/X1 version would be if a Western company did a port.

    • No XBox version. Besides after the last port on 360, you don’t want to see another one.

  4. Mighty Bomberman

    Can someone tell me how low does the framerate get on the PS4 version? Also, I heard that the Vita version has a patch. What does it do?

  5. If this had cross-buy I’d buy it in a minute, but since it doesn’t I’ll probably sit on the fence for a price drop.

    I really feel that if Sony encouraged (meaning $$$) developers to make their games cross-buy they’d sell more Vitas.

  6. I see Japanese games seem to score pretty high here. From what I’ve seen of DW8XLCE, I’d give the game about a 75. Its fun but VERY repetitive.

  7. Same game as DW7,DW6,DW5,DW4…. You get the picture. Dynasty Warriors is like war, it never changes.

  8. I still play DW3 very once in a while. There’s satisfaction in pummeling people alright.

  9. ”But raise the level of adversity, and the game changes drastically- not just altering the amount of damage the protagonist issues and incurs, but changing the way the game is played. Here, the game becomes far more strategic, requiring players to monitor and manage ally progress, to avoid a demoralizing defeat.”

    I’m glad someone gets it. So sick of reviewers saying that DW is just a button masher.

  10. This reviewer is way too serious about Dynasty Warriors.

  11. So the Vita version has all of the content of the PS4 one? That’s pretty amazing. How big is the file size? I need to know if I need a new memory card.

  12. I heard some musings about a PC version? Has TK announced a date for it? I think my rig can smoke a PS4. If they code it right, I shouldn’t have slowdown troubles.

  13. a 84 for a Dynasty Warriors game is like an Oscar nomination for Dumb and Dumber.

  14. Great review, Robert. I can tell you really enjoyed reviewing this one.

  15. I haven’t played a DW game in AGES. Maybe it’s time to start swinging that sword again.

  16. I assume the screenshots are from the PS4 version, right?

  17. They really need to include Sha Moke into DW9.

  18. Would it kill Tecmo to put someone elese on the cover?

  19. This weekend mission is to find a Vita cart for DW8XL. I don’t like downloads, in case DW9 comes out and I want to trade the old one in.