Written by  :  DarkDove (70)
Written on  :  Oct 26, 2003
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars4.14 Stars

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The fight to control ancient China has never been this fun.

The Good

Dynasty Warriors 3 is a seemingly simple game. But whether or not you take notice of how brilliant this game really is, it will be fun either way, and really, what more could you ask for than that?

The first thing that should be pointed out is that the story (or stories) of Dynasty Warriors 3 is based on an actual time period. Well, loosely based anyway. The entire game takes place during the Three Kingdoms Era of the Han Dynasty. All of the characters in the game were real people, although, in the game they are deeply exaggerated...modernized for entertainment purposes. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining at all. It was actually fun to hear an ancient Chinese general say something like, "We'll teach them to mess with us!" And to be honest, the game wouldn't have worked nearly as well if the characters and events were historically accurate. The best thing is, you can play as forty-some characters (all but nine of which must be unlocked, but only a few you'll have to go out of your way to get). Each of these characters has seven levels, or seven battles. Your character will level up after each battle, according to the number of enemies defeated, the number of generals defeated, the time it took you to finish, and so on. You may be irritated to find yourself playing the same battles over and over again with all the different characters, but the thing is, you will always be playing it from a different point of view. And that's really what the game is about, because all the characters have the same goal, just for different reasons and on different sides. Though, this isn't to say there is shortage of battles, there are about twenty-five, give or take a few, but with forty characters, it is obvious that they will be used over and over again. Each of these battles progresses the character's story, and each battle is more difficult than the last.

So, you can play as forty different characters, but is the gameplay really good enough to make you want to play as all of them? Definitely. At first, you might think that the fighting is the simplest and most repetitive action you have ever seen. Trust me, if you feel this way at all, it won't be for long. Along with the simple 6-hit combo you will most often be executing, you also have to block enemy attacks, utilize charge attacks, and determine when to use your musou attack (special attack). Basically, each battle will consist of you fighting hordes of enemies, ranging from privates to guards. And when I say "hordes", I mean it...my record so far was somewhere around 1800 enemies defeated, which I'll admit required a little extra effort, but I'm sure there are those out there who have surpassed even that. All of these enemies will be under the command of generals, who are all under the command of the supreme commander, whose defeat is usually your primary objective to win the battle. Sometimes there will be parameters, or maybe there will be more than one supreme commander, but for the most part, it's just defeat the enemies...period. Of course, you won't be alone, because along with the numerous amounts of allies, you will have your very own personal bodyguards. Bodyguards advance along with you, and are ready to give their life in your protection. In doing all this though, you will have to consider your force morale, because your allies perform according to this. If your morale is high, your allies will perform well, if it's low, they will be defeated easily. Defeating a lot of enemies and defeating generals will raise your morale, so you have to be sure not to waste too much time goofing around, or the enemy will gain the advantage.

Besides the regular story mode (referred to as the musou mode), there are many different modes of play to choose from. You can do a free game, where you play as any character currently available, on any battlefield currently available. You can do one of the various challenge modes, or you can do the two player mode and test your warrior skills against a warrior friend. As I said, you can unlock characters and battlefields, but you can also unlock weapons and items. First of all, there are different kinds of weapons, ranging from swords to claws, and everything in between. For all the weapons, there are four different levels. The first three levels will be dropped by enemies when you are fighting. The fourth weapon is unique to the character you are playing as, and you must meet certain requirements, on a certain battle, and always on hard mode to get it. Most of the time, putting in the extra effort is undoubtedly worth it, with a few exceptions here and there where the weapons are just plain horrible. Items that you can pick up range from peacock urns, which raise life, to shell armor, which raises your defense against arrow attacks. You can equip five items at a time, and believe me, a good arrangement of items will be infinitely useful.

The Bad

By nature, I am not a violent person. I have never been in a fight, I don't feel it necessary to prove my masculinity by beating the living daylights out of another person, and I can usually suppress my anger by simply closing my eyes and calming myself down. Then along comes Dynasty Warriors 3. It has this amazing power that throws me into fits of rage, once even concluding in the destruction of one of my controllers. So what is it about this game that angers me so? Something so simple and plain that unless you have played the game, you couldn't possibly understand why it would be so irritating: the archers. You see, every time you get hit with an arrow, you are knocked back a little. Most of the time, the archers really aren't that bad, there may be a few here and there in a certain level, but nothing too bad. But then comes a level where there are fifteen archers scattered around you, and when one shoots an arrow, you get knocked back, then another shoots another arrow, and you get knocked back again immediately after the last time. If you're lucky, you might finally get rid of them, left with a tiny speck of life, sending you searching frantically for health. If you're unlucky, you get killed right there on the spot, and have to start the battle all over again.

A couple of other minor negative things are the voice acting and story. Personally, I enjoyed the concept of Dynasty Warriors 3, fight as real people, during a real time period. But the entire thing is so underplayed, you could easily pass through the entire game without paying any attention at all to the story. And to make matters worse, it would seem that the people in charge of casting just stood outside their building and offered random people free lunch if they'd read a few lines of dialogue. The voices were so repulsive, I wanted to hide in my closet anytime something was said out loud.

The Bottom Line

Despite the undeniable negative aspects of Dynasty Warriors 3, this game is fun and definitely unique. There are so many good things about it, that it can't possibly be weighed down by the few bad things. Koei, I applaud you, but you deserve a slap on the wrist for those archers.