Dynasty Warriors 2
|a game by||Omega Force|
|Editor Rating:||7/10, based on 2 reviews|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Koei has combined what they do best-military strategy--with the action and intensity of a fighting game for this sequel to Dynasty Warriors (Sangoku Musou).
When you begin, you choose to play as one of nine warriors, split between three kingdoms (Shu, Wei and Wu). More characters are unlockable, up to 28. You have three main attacks--Normal, Charge, Special and the Bow and Arrow--and two modes of play: Story (five levels) and Free (up to eight unlockable levels). Each has his or her own special weapon, but can pick up arrows to shoot at far-away or elevated enemies.
The levels are huge: 150 scale acres square (that's one square kilometer), with more than 2,000 warriors running around, all battling simultaneously. 30 to 40 enemies can be on-screen at the same time. You can't hit those on your side, and usually there's at least a color difference between you and your enemies. Levels have different geographical (and weather) characteristics, too, and occasionally you'll have to exploit them in order to win. As you play in one area of the map, your forces wage battles elsewhere. As victories are won around the map, you're alerted by the sound of cheering troops and a glowing icon on the overworld map. If the victory was big enough to do something like open a blocked passageway or discourage the enemy leader, you see a short cinema (all using the ingame engine with no loading).
Battles can take an hour or more to complete, and along the way you'll collect experience points and power-ups to aid your quest. Morale plays a large role in how battles turn out. Raising your troops' morale makes them fight better. That's where strategy comes into play. You decide which division to back up, and they each have their own morale meter. So you might find yourself running to the aid of a division with low morale.
One of the cooler options is using a horse to travel around the map. It's not always the best way to fight, since you're limited to swinging at enemies on either side of you, but it's a great way to get from one side of the map to the other in a hurry.
Download Dynasty Warriors 2
If nothing else, Dynasty Warriors 2 is a unique gaming experience presented within a stunning graphical shell. Its best and worst attributes can all be traced to the game's most prominent quality--its reluctance to fit into any one particular genre. On one hand, DW2 defies strategy game convention by putting full control of only one character into the player's hands. As a result, the game is dripping with action. When you're not slicing at enemies with one of several available weapons, you're riding a horse across the map to support units in trouble and boost your troop's morale. Watching two or three dozen warriors dash at once while the PS2 effortlessly keeps pace is impressive. On the other hand, rolling action, fighting and strategy elements into one package means making sacrifices in each area, so more particular gamers may long for greater depth. The strategy element is really limited to either attacking or not attacking a mass of enemies, and there is little need for planning before battle. As far as the action element is concerned, the attack moves look nice but there are very few of them, which means the same monotonous button-pressing over and over most of the time. And since single battles can last over an hour, all this repetition definitely hurts the overall experience. Nevertheless, DWa is fundamentally intriguing and a decent execution of a very original concept.
Imagine what any of Koei's strategy titles would be like as an action game and this is what you get. There are a few flaws once you get past the initial "wow" factor of the graphics (which are amazing). It feels like a first-generation game--like a PSi game with upgraded graphics. Control is tight, but the camera is too often not where you want to be looking. The biggest problem, though, is that the combat in the hour-plus battles gets monotonous. Hack, slash, look at the map, repeat. Each character has his/her own style, but you're stuck with his/her moves and weapon ail the way through. The combat's too simple for a game that professes to have more strategic elements.
With a good deal of action and pretty decent artwork, DW2 seems really appealing at first. I found the action to be reminiscent of the old Ninja Turtles arcade game-once you figure out which of the two or three moves to use when, you lose interest after a couple of levels. Although there are several different characters to play the game with, they're not going to make you want to start an hour-long battle over again. The sound, story and gameplay are pretty average, so there's not much to bump it up the chart. While fun for about the first half hour, DW2 gets too repetitive to really enjoy long-term, so you'll probably want to rent this one first.