Developer: Omega Force
Release Date: November 18, 2008
I think a lot of people don't really understand the Dynasty Warriors franchise, and I'd say that up until the DW Gundam release, neither did I. However, when DW Gundam came out, I found myself hooked, despite the fact that the game still had all of the same stuff that I always complained about when it came to the series: repetitive levels, massive amounts of dumb enemies, and an overall grinding sense that felt like you were just trying to max out the numerous playable characters in the game. I'm not entirely sure what changed for me, but I found myself really addicted to the simple gameplay, and I ended up putting in quite a few hours with that title. Since then, I've gone back to a few of the Dynasty/Samurai/Orochi titles and found myself enjoying them a lot more than I ever did, but unfortunately, Dynasty Warriors 6 on the PS2 isn't one of those instances.
I've played this title on both the 360 and the PS2, and the PS2 version is definitely showing its age when compared to the next-gen upgrade. There are some graphical issues, glitches and other problems that indicate the PS2 isn't the lead platform this time out, and it definitely hurts this version. If you have the option to play on either system, definitely pick up the 360 version because the PS2 iteration is basically a mess. A lot of the gameplay carries over just fine, but it's definitely lacking in overall quality, and the 360 version of DW 6 is going to be your best bet.
If, for some reason, this is your first Dynasty Warriors title that you've taken an interest in, I'll try and break down the basics of what you can expect. DW features a variety of warriors spread out against different allegiances and sometimes countries, usually set in an early time period. Each character or group has its own story to see, but most of these tales intertwine a bit, so while they'll all have distinct beginnings and endings, the middle portion usually carries over a bit. Regardless, not a lot of people come to the Dynasty Warrior games for the story lines. It's difficult to follow all of the different characters, and the interpretation of history is obviously pretty fanciful. Still, I guess it provides enough motivation for moving from one level to the next, but the real draw for me is the leveling up and sense of power you get from mowing through wave after wave of soldiers.
Most of the enemies are pretty mindless and don't pose a giant threat to your character, but there are mini-boss like Generals, which are basically named enemies that will attempt to fight back. Defeating them will grant a bonus to your side, usually changing the ebb and flow of a particular fight. Some stages will have multiple General encounters, but most of the stages don't require you to simply defeat one person. Instead, they opt for multiple objectives that usually need to be completed before a certain event happens, and this is where the challenge of the series comes into play. When you begin a level, most often your goal is going to be something simple, either rescuing a comrade or destroying an enemy general. As the level progresses, your objectives will change as new friends or enemies join the fight, causing you to rush around the map trying to finish up smaller objectives before you can finish the main one. There's usually some unknown time limit involved with this as well, so you can't simply remain idle you'll forfeit the entire mission. These objectives really help to put a little variety into the gameplay, outside of the button-mashing combat that people tend to complain about.
For the most part, Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn't break that mold. It helps that it's from the main series and not the spin-offs, so it's really rooted in the standard formula as opposed to something like the three-man teams in the Orochi setting or the obvious departure of the fledgling Gundam series. This time out, there's a skill-based leveling system in place, which allows you to customize your chosen fighter by improving various stats however you see fit. In turn, this allows you to come up with some slightly different combinations than what were previously available. It's not a huge feature, but it's pretty new to the series at least.
However, while the core gameplay is certainly what fans of the series are going to expect, the horrible technical issues that plague this title mar the rest of the experience. Most of the Dynasty Warriors games have had some issues with frame rates and slowdown, but Dynasty Warriors 6 on the PS2 definitely takes the cake; I actually found it worse than what was in Warriors Orochi 2 before the patch on the 360. Even the smaller encounters will cause the game to pause and stutter, making any of the animations and fight sequences seem stunted and awkward. The textures don't always load properly, giving enemies and environments a flat and plain look, while certain objects will pop into view at the last second, creating small barriers that aren't always evident right away. Enemies will spawn and disappear at random, even without you causing any type of damage or initiating an attack. This is particularly frustrating if it happens to the enemy generals, and it definitely will a time or two. Combine all of this with the fact that it's not nearly as visually appealing as the 360 counterpart, and what you're left with is a shoddy port of a title that pretty much made its name on the PS2 at one point.
So yeah, if you have an option, skip the PS2 version for the 360 copy. And if you're stuck with a PS2 at the moment, you might consider skipping over this title anyway, especially if you've been a fan of the series for a while, as this might sour your experience with Dynasty Warriors altogether. It's definitely the shoddiest version out there, and it doesn't live up to any of the quality standards made by the other titles. Dynasty Warriors has always been a B-level franchise, but it deserves a better game than this PS2 version t. Give this one a pass, and go for the upgrade if you can.
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