The latest Warriors title from Tecmo Koei Europe is the newest edition of what is arguably their smallest series, Warriors Orochi. The third release to make it out of Japan, Warriors Orochi 3 is a title aimed at the core fans of the Warriors franchise and of Tecmo Koei’s output in general, of which there are many. The budget may have been limited but the demand for Warriors Orochi 3 is genuine, and many gamers hope that it can deliver the same compelling combination of action and strategy that the spin-off series has become known for.
Warriors Orochi 3 begins several years after the events of Warriors Orochi 2, with a decisive battle against a multi-headed serpent known as the Hydra. This giant phantom serpent has once again thrust the peaceful world back into chaos. Many warriors are killed, and the serpent appears to be unbeatable. However, the Moon Princess Kaguya appears and uses the power of time travel to send back the last remaining generals to the past to save their fallen comrades. While these heroes are the stars of the show, Warriors Orochi 3 isn’t about to limit you to three warriors. In fact, the development team at Omega Force has pulled out all the stops in this regard, delivering the largest quantity of playable characters from any Warriors title yet.
Over one hundred different characters are present in Warriors Orochi 3, with a staggering variety in combat styles, statistics and special manoeuvres. In addition to all of the character previously featured in Musou Orochi Z (the edition of the Warriors Orochi series that never made it out of Japan), Warriors Orochi 3 brings into play new characters from the Trinity and Ninja Gaiden franchises, as well as Warriors: Legends of Troy and the underappreciated Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War. Each crossover character is a true reflection of their original design, a remarkable feat and one which is arguably Warriors Orochi 3’s strongest aspect.
The core gameplay remains largely unchanged from Warriors Orochi 2. Players will take to the battlefield with a series of predetermined objectives, taking down literally thousands of enemies along the way. The biggest adjustments come in the form of the combat system, with huge combos are possible through chaining together dash attacks, charge attacks and character switches with strings of basic attacks between. This is in addition to the support attacks and True Triple Attacks available with your team of three, chosen prior to battle, which can eliminate huge numbers of enemies when the respective meter allows. Warriors Orochi 3 doesn’t travel too far from that which we’ve seen before, but there’s enough of a change here to force player to adjust their strategies between levels and character combinations in a team.
Sadly, there are many aspects in which Warriors Orochi 3 fails to live-up to the standard set by its peers. The visual quality of the videogame has been surpassed by other Warriors titles many times, with a poor draw distance and lifeless environment textures. What’s more, technical issues such as responsiveness, collision detection and invisible walls seem to have taken a step backwards. Electronic Theatre can understand the desire to further differentiate the Warriors Orochi series from Dynasty Warriors, but as far as Warriors Orochi 3 goes that just seems to be interpreted as ignoring all the stunning advances made in Omega Force’s core series over the past three years. Warriors Orochi 3 does arguably feel like a throwback to its predecessor and the poorly received Dynasty Warriors 6. To suggest that there’s not room for it in the current marketplace would be to miss the point, but it’s easy to see way Tecmo Koei Europe felt it necessary to make Warriors Orochi 3 available at a budget price.
The biggest addition Warriors Orochi 3 offers is the Musou Battlefield mode. Essentially a Warriors take on the Forge mode from Halo 3, players can customise battlefields in terms of officers, units and obstacles. These maps can then be played with one or two players, or uploaded and exchanged with friends. The creation suite may not be as comprehensive as the aforementioned Forge, but it does give players the opportunity to put their own mark on the landscapes of a Warriors title for the first time, and with any luck it won’t be the last.
With the great variety of characters and objectives within the levels, Warriors Orochi 3 does deliver strategy and action in abundance. However it is practically the exact same combination that we all experienced three years ago. Warriors Orochi has always been a product born of fan service, and Warriors Orochi 3 may not break any new ground in terms of gameplay it certainly takes this aspect of the series to new heights. In other words, Warriors Orochi 3 is just what the fans want from a crossover series.