Looking at modern games, it’s easy to say that they all revolve around killing and the many different ways of killing a dude. But Warriors Orochi is a little different…
Whilst many games are you, an iron sight, and several hundred bullets pumping into endless axis forces – Tecmo Koei have made a career out of hack and slash titles, mostly under the Dynasty Warriors label. Me being introduced to Dynasty Warriors has been very recent and it’s been great to give me a whole new series of titles to dive into. One of it’s sub-series’, Warriors Orochi, was playable at this years’ MCM Expo, where we gave it a spin.
Warriors Orochi – a mix of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors titles. Rather than being the regular historical romp of famous battles from Ancient China, it involves time travel to save famous generals. It’s always a strange thing to see real people – from thousands of years ago – on your TV screen with a high pitched voice being used as a killing tool. I’m sure when battling Lu Bu in the year 198, none of them thought to themselves ‘I wonder if one day a magic box will show me doing this action, but being controlled by a slightly overweight guy from the middle of England’.
Warriors Orochi 3 is not new news though – the title was released on the PS3 and 360 this April in the UK. The title is having a re-release on the Wii U as a launch title, under the name Warriors Orochi 3: Hyper.
Among with two new characters – Shennong and Momji from the previously released PSP port – the title promises improved visuals over the PS3 and 360 release.
Graphically the game is extremely sharp. Even with crowds surrounding you, each individual model is very well defined, even if it soon becomes a clone army with each model looking the same – a quirk but one that has been there since the first Dynasty Warriors title and has no signs of stopping.
The demo began in a warp zone, where you can buy weapons and then choose what mission you want to try by stepping onto the warp pad. With the openness of the area and with characters you can talk to, it’s reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors Online – Aeria Games’ MMO of the series. Each mission is a regular affair, where a specific general is spotted for you to take down, and other generals around the area will be there to take down and increase your XP, or get in your way with obstructions such as a good old boulder pit.
The first mission in the demo – the one I tried – was hard. Not the difficulty I set, but just generally hard to complete. I took down 1000 foes but I was still half the map away from the main general as he was in a fortress, with a solid gate in the way of me and him. The gate couldn’t be slashed down as usual – instead a seemingly random event would make the gate open which, for me and others I saw play whilst queuing, happened about nine minutes into the ten minute limit. This limit could possibly be just for the demo, seeing how most levels have a 60 – 90 minute limit in retail versions, and if so that’d make a lot more sense.
It was previously reported in the press that even though the visuals were improved, the frame rate would be slower and fewer enemies would appear on the field in this edition because of the Wii U’s processor. Watching direct feed of the PS3 and 360 version, the differences are minimal. Whilst some of the models do seem a little sharper, the frame rate isn’t simply slower – it just suddenly crashes into low digits. With the crash slowing down the frame rate – the controls also lag. Here’s a test, are you in the middle of a combo? Then concentrate on what button you’ve pressed and then experience the move happening a good two to three seconds later.
On the controls, its important to note the Wii U Gamepad. First the screen’s usefulness. All it does during gameplay is show a map – something I’m sure many third party titles will end up doing thanks to a lack of ideas. With a Warriors title though, it seems a lot more useless because of how a map – which is bigger than the one on the gamepad’s screen – is already displayed in the top right corner of the game. Looking down to look at the screen on the controller is not intuitive, especially when you need to slash your way through crowds who are fast running to your point. The controller can play the game using the Wii U’s TV mode though, which is a cool feature, but the controls still seem as bad as when I played the Wii U at Gamescom. The Gamepad does not feel nice. Its hard plastic, bulging in your hands. You don’t feel in control of an ancient Chinese Warrior. You feel awkward controls spanning your arms wider than longer.
Whilst this is just a port of an already released title on the consoles release date, it does give a bad impression when the developers have already admitted to the title having to have less characters on screen with the frame rate still having hits throughout. With the lower processor, is this going to have a knock on effect for even original titles? We can only see when the Wii U releases on November 18th in the US and November 30th in Europe.