A HACK and slash adventure that has hidden depths
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4
Score: 8.6 / 10
AT a time of year when the triple A sequels are hitting shop shelves thick and fast, the latest incarnation of Tecmo Koei’s Warriors series has been overlooked by all but its most fervent fans. It is an unfair fate for a title which expands on the original Orochi 3 with a thoughtful welter of new modes and characters. To the uninitiated, the game consists of enormous hack ‘n’ slash melees, with the protagonists scything and battling their way through hordes of enemies. Play on, however, and its hidden depths become clear.
If there is a legitimate question of the Warriors games, it is that they are often too similar, offering up the same mechanics and structure every time. Orochi 3, however, presents a twist on the formula, asking the player choose from a vast army of characters from the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors worlds to deploy three warriors in the heat of the battle. This squad-based play - the protagonist can be switched easily with a single button press - adds dynamism and strategy to the time-honoured combo-heavy fighting
Various modes provide variety and creativity for fans of the series
Although the main campaign is gripping, the other modes on offer deserve just as much, if not more, attention. Gauntlet, for example, allows you to choose five characters to slay enemies, all the while trying to locate the exit. Each newly completed stage bolsters your entourage with XP and leads you to a new arena, where the process repeats. Other modes, meanwhile, allow you create and share your own stages, or play those sculpted by others, a feature that showcases the passion and inventiveness of Warriors fans.
Graphically, the game is not anything special, a perhaps unsurprising development given it originally featured on the last generation of consoles. The character models are robust, if repetitive, and the environments bland on occasion. However, quantity rules over quality, especially when you are faced with a marauding pack of hundreds of enemies on-screen at one. Similarly, the game’s mechanics are generally sound, but for one hindrance which tempers the quick-paced fun - the camera too easily loses track of the action, forcing you to readjust its viewpoint, which is frustrating when you are in the midst of a frenzied fight.
It is a title of verve and energy and the best yet in the series
Overall, though, Orochi 3 is a superb update on the Warriors formula, retaining the core gameplay elements and complementing them with new features. Its levelling up system, accessible while in-depth, adds value and purpose long after the main campaign is over. It is a title of tremendous verve and energy that is by far the best yet in a celebrated series. Even the industrious Tecmo Koei will have their work cut out to top this one any time soon.
TIPS AND TRICKS
1) The array of characters in Orochi 3 may be overwhelming at first - there are well over 100 to choose from - but it is worth experimenting with as many as possible to find those that match your preferred fighting style.
2) Don’t be deterred from playing some of the new modes in the Ultimate edition for fear you’re wasting time when you could be playing the campaign. The XP and skills gained in Gauntlet, for instance, is transferable to the story mode.
3) If you have played the original game on Playstation 3, it is worth upgrading to the Playstation 4 version, as the saved data will unlock new content on the Ultimate edition.