With Koei’s flagship series, Dynasty Warriors, the company has done very little to change the formula they have used for years. For fans of the series, this usually works alright, but newcomers have had trouble finding enjoyment in the games. Dynasty Warriors 7 is definitely the most accessible in the series for those who aren’t fans, as well as being the best Dynasty Warriors yet.

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Dynasty Warriors is set in the true historical three kingdoms era of China, where great warriors and kingdoms all vied for power in the country. Before now, however, it was only the characters that were really developed. Characters all have their own distinct personalities, and one of the strengths of the series actually is the memorable characters. With the focus on the characters however, you never really got a feel for what was happening in the overall story, and events never held much weight. That all changes in Dynasty Warriors 7. In fact, the strongest point in 7’s favor, may in fact be the story. Like in usual Dynasty Warriors entries, you get the choice of playing through each of the 3 kingdoms stories, those of Wei, Wu, and Shu. Unlike past entries in the series, the story is presented amazingly well, the plot is developed on slowly, and characters die when they are appropriately supposed to. The new addition of the new Jin story, where the Jin dynasty ends the three kingdoms era, helps to flesh out the story even more. It all comes out to be a lengthy but rewarding story.

There is so much content packed into Dynasty Warriors 7 it’s not even funny. All four story modes took me about 30 hours in total to complete, and after you beat story mode there is another mode entirely called conquest mode to beat. This consists of a grid in the shape of China with a ton of small hex pieces, each of these pieces is a new battle or a characters historical battles. Unfortunately, even with this immense amount of content if you aren’t a fan of the game play it will definitely get monotonous.

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Like the rest of the series, Dynasty Warriors 7 is as hack and slash as you can get. Game play centers around your character running around giant battlefields and murdering hundreds of enemy troops as well as enemy generals. You have your basic combo move on the X button and charge attacks on the Y, you can chain these together in various sequences to perform different moves. In addition, your musuo attack, or super attack, is based upon a meter that builds up that you can unleash.

Unlike the previous entries though, not every character is completely different. In Dynasty Warriors 7, characters have shared move-sets with the exception of the difference of their musou attacks and 1 combo that turns into an EX attack. Characters can equip two weapons at a time, and can equip stat boosting “seals” into those weapons.  This doesn’t turn out to be much of a problem since there is a pretty wide variety of weapons to use, but you definitely do get tired of using sword wielders at some point. There is also a small level up tree system, with each enemy general you kill you get skill points and use those to buy none other than skills from a skill tree. Dynasty Warriors 7 uses the series tried and true game play formula, for some that’s a good thing for others it’s not.

Dynasty Warriors 7 truly feels like the first game in the series developed for next generation (or our generation) consoles. Characters and environments aren’t superbly detailed, but they do look pretty nice overall. In addition, the character and weapon designs are generally pretty cool looking.

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If you have played a Dynasty Warriors game before, you know not to expect much in the way of voice acting. Some characters do a good job, but for the most part voice acting is merely ‘alright’. The series usual heavy rock music returns, with one of the best soundtracks from Dynasty Warriors so far. Most of the songs fit well to rock out to as you play through the game and there are a couple of tracks that are just downright fantastic.

Being a fan of the Dynasty Warriors series hasn’t always been an easy process, and Koei hasn’t change much in the series even after almost ten years. Koei has helped to redeem itself by making the most enjoyable Dynasty Warriors game yet. With an engaging story, updated graphics, and fast paced battles there is a lot to like about Dynasty Warriors 7. Fans of the series will love it, while those who aren’t fans won’t find it winning them over, however it is an enjoyable experience packed to the brim with content, as well as an exciting update for the series.

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Title : Dynasty Warriors 7
Format : Xbox360/PS3
Developer : Omega Force/Koei
Publisher : Tecmo Koei
Release Date : 03/29/11

[starreviewmulti id=1 tpl=20]