Dynasty Warriors is a series well ingrained with gaming culture as the mainstay for wide-scale beat ’em up musou action, but what happens when you strip all that out, and turn it into a tactical RPG that’s limited to a max of controlling five units? Well, you are about to find out in our review for Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Omega Force
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PS Vita
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Price: $59.99 (PS4), $39.99 (PS Vita)
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review above, or read the full review of the game below.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is a relatively pretty game.
Landscapes on maps, as well as the character units are highly detailed and visually pleasing. Even weapons you earn from battles over time have a distinct visual feel, which is nice because there is a whole lot of characters to unlock and multiple weapons to earn for each.
While it looks nice, the process in which units are animated, be it from walking to different parts of the map or attacking, is somewhat drawn out. Luckily, the game gives you the options to turn all those animations off, greatly increasing the speed at which you can complete missions.
Where the game really falls short is the core gameplay. This is actually a travesty because the surrounding gameplay mechanics that are in place to facilitate the core features are amazing.
Let’s start with what Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers does exceedingly well at: weapon and character customization.
Character customization operate on a sphere grid system, where every character has a layout for increasing skill power, passive buffs, and attribute points. This allows you to mold your character to your tactical style, without being overly complex. It’s a great way to bring out the best in your characters and it’s simple enough to where players with the most limited RPG knowledge can work their way into it.
When it comes to weapons, it slowly introduces you to tempering and reforging your weapons to become weapons of mass destruction. This is also simplified and not overly complex, making it easy to understand the state buffs you are adding to a weapon, up to 4, and what they do. Later on you will find yourself combining multiple similar states in an effort to max out your potential attributes for that character while adding things like fire and ice to the weapon.
Where it all falls apart, however, is the game has no sense of apparent danger whatsoever, making missions completely boring. Playing on any difficulty other than hard would be a waste of the players time, and even then, the game is still child’s play, becoming extremely boring extremely fast.
Even when going for the three challenges in each mission, they don’t feel like challenges at all, instead they feel like things you would normally do even if you were not trying to. An example of this would be for the player complete a synchronization attack with X number of party members and receive X synchronization score for that attack.
Outside of the game’s normal attacks and the moves characters have in a typical tactical RPG, this synchronization attack is pushed heavily throughout the game and leads to quickly destroying the entire map once you perform your first synchronization attack.
Synchronization attacks often give you enough points to perform another synchronization attack, which refills the energy of the characters performing the attack, giving them extra movement turns.
This can also lead to a ranged, ultra powerful attack that can hit multiple enemies in a three by three square, while not being limited to terrain and it even equals instant death to whoever is unlucky enough to be trapped in the attack.
The music and sound plays out in typical Dynasty Warriors fashion of mystic tones mixed with more traditional Chinese music incorporating instruments such as the Gu-zheng, Er-hu, and Gu-qin. The main menu theme is quite pleasant to listen to, which is fortunate as you will be hearing it quite a bit while navigating menus and looking at the mission select.
As for the general sound effects, they are fairly standard, to the point of being boring and un-engaging. This made the grind of going through levels even worse, as it builds on the mundane nature of the gameplay.
The story is an interesting spin on the typical Dynasty Warriors series, mixing historical information, people, and battles with magic and fantastical situations.
The new spin sees our main protagonists, Zhoa Yun and Lie Bin, releasing a mystical girl Lixia from a crystal enclosure. This sets them on a quest to recover her magic orbs of immense power, in the hopes of preventing them from falling into the wrong hands.
The game twists well into the historical nature of the series and source material, but is really brought to a halt via it’s stagnating and boring gameplay. It feels like there could have been a faster pace and a more interesting story, if the game was structured in a different way.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers was an interesting but ultimately mind numbingly boring attempt at doing something different with a series that has over a dozen games in its main series, not including the multitude of spin-offs.
The main problem is that the game ether assumes that the player is not competent enough to take on a tactical RPG, or that the creators don’t know how to make engaging tactical fights.
This could maybe include both, which is a shame because all the surrounding systems are fantastic and well done. Overall the game feels like it took an exciting leap toward greatness but ended up tripping up the landing, only to fall backward into the mediocrity hole right behind it.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers was reviewed on Playstation 4 using a download code provided by Koei Tecmo. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.
The Verdict: 5
- Beautiful maps and character models.
- Great skill and weapon system.
- Interesting Twist on the series.
- Boring and unengaging gameplay.
- Lackluster combat sound effects.
- Zero difficulty even on the hardest settings.