Tecmo Koei Europe are becoming known as an avid supporter of new console hardware, releasing titles within the launch period of every major platform for nearly a decade. Nintendo’s Wii U is no exception, and arriving alongside the console is the publisher’s latest Warriors outing, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper.
Originally launched on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in April, Warriors Orochi 3 was warmly received by the core Warriors audience. While failing to redefine the franchise on current-generation hardware – that honour is reserved for Dynasty Warriors 7 – Warriors Orochi 3 was a welcome edition of the popular crossover series thanks to it’s abundance of content. Bringing Warriors Orochi 3 over to Wii U, developers Omega Force have obviously acknowledged these strengths and further built on these solid foundations for Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper.
The most noticeable addition brought about by the Wii U release is that of the four new characters. This may not seem a lot for any new Warriors title, and even less so when the Warriors Orochi 3 head count stands at well over one hundred anyway, but it’s the choice of new characters that makes it worthy of note. Ninja Gaiden’s Momiji makes her Warriors debut in Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, along with Rachel. Also included are Seimei and Shennong, two culturally significant additions in Japan but relatively meaning less here in Europe.
Just as is the case with their representation in other franchises, Momiji is swift and precise, landing heavy blows at medium range and taking down rows of foes as opposed to wide angles. Rachel on the other hand, is slower and heavier in all of her attacks with a wide splash damage for combo finishers. Both of these characters add something worthy of note to the videogame and will hopefully be present in the inevitable sequel from day one. However, in regards to Seimei and Shennong, we see familiar Warriors character archetypes given new animations and little else; still welcome, these latter two characters won’t offer the same sense of newness as Momiji and Rachel.
Another new feature brought to the videogame for its Wii U outing is the Duel Mode. A three-on-three versus mode that can be played online or locally, it’s an interesting if limited new gameplay component. Essentially a training mode to allow player to become accustomed with newly unlocked characters or a place in which players can vary their gameplay while still progressing through the videogame (players can still earn experience points and other rewards in Duel Mode, either on- or offline), there is also the Survival mode option providing a change of pace. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper benefits from the addition the new gameplay mode but it’s hardly enough reason to convince existing Warriors Orochi 3 owners to buy this new release.
The Story Mode returns as the core gameplay option for Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper and the Free Play and Musou Battlefield options are exactly the same here as they were in Warriors Orochi 3. Indeed, the full range of features and technical capabilities outside of the above are near-identical to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version: the visual quality is comfortable, if a little tired, the voice acting remains entirely in Japanese with English subtitles and the variety of levels is not quite the compliment to the large variety of characters and supplemental features.
In addition to the new gameplay modes and characters, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper brings the Wii U GamePad into the mix, although it’s not much of a renovation. Simply repeating the television image, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is hardly pushing the envelope for Wii U innovation, but it does allow for remote play with minimal fuss. Due to the lack of innovation some will consider Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper a simple port of a seven moth old videogame, and in many respects they’d be right, but Omega Force have taken the time to smooth out a few of those rough edges. While the new modes don’t add too much to the experience, the new characters are very much welcome, and the gameplay remains as solid now as it was at its initial release. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper isn’t a system seller by any means, but it is a welcome addition to the Wii U launch line-up.