Review: Warriors Orochi 4 – The romance of franchises begins again

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Since the establishment of the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors games, the Warriors franchise remains one of the most renowned Musou franchises in the world. Bringing the best of both worlds together once again comes Warriors Orochi 4, a title that holds a Guinness World Record and aims to be the best the series has to offer yet. But does it accomplish the goal? Let’s find out in our review.

Pros:
+Sits as one of the strongest titles within the Warriors franchise thanks to its 170+ character roster
+Steps back away from the open-world approach and embraces the classic mission-focused missions
+Missions offer a variety of goals, requirements, and objectives to complete throughout the game
+The new Secret Treasure artifacts change up how one will approach combat altogether.

Cons:
-Enemies still pop-in and pop-out due to how many can be on screen at once
-Maintaining a party can be difficult due to the Scared Treasure system being locked to a specific style on each character


Since 1997 on the PlayStation console, I’ve become a fan, a critic and someone who finds the flagship Musou franchise to be one of the best on the market. There’s no doubt about it, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force have tried several things over the past 21 years their Musou franchises have existed. For the past 21 years, I’ve followed them along the way, diving into each new variation they have to offer.

These changes would come in the form of core gameplay elements including new side modes, new progression systems, new weapons systems, and even graphical enhancements along the way. Their Musou style gameplay would even see animes, manga’s, and even some of Nintendo’s most renowned franchises get a Warriors style makeover, but nothing really changed.

Sure, each of them tried new things. Some did better, some did worse and somehow, some just felt absolutely right in what they were trying to accomplish. But in recent years, I’ve had issues with some of the new tests that Omega Force and Koei Tecmo have tried to do. I wasn’t a fan of the tactical gameplay of Dynasty Warriors God Seekers on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. In turn, I thoroughly enjoyed what experiences I had in Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada.

But now, here we are once more. A brand new title, a brand new stage being set and a new story to be told that doesn’t hinge on semi-historical accuracy unlike Dynasty Warriors 9 or Samurai Warriors 4. Unlike Dynasty Warriors 9, our latest adventure in Warriors Orochi 4 takes a step back into what made the franchise great. They’ve mixed up new supernatural setting using over 170 characters that we’ve come to know and love and somehow, makes it work just as we knew all those years ago with Warriors Orochi 4.

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Warriors Orochi 4 feels like a fresh coat of paint for the franchise

One of the things I love about the Warriors Orochi franchise is clear as day; it has its own continuity, a story that travels back to the very first title that launched on PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation Portable. The story isn’t just something that ends when you finish a single title, but rather, it has continued on since the crossover series launched in 2007. While there are only four titles in the crossover series, a lot has happened and peace, as we once thought, had returned to the lands.

We killed the snake god Orochi, the one that combined both worlds of Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors and even managed to find peace once more in the lands. But some gods, mostly Zeus being the notorious meddler he is, has decided to take in Orochi’s steps. However, Zeus isn’t alone in what is going on. He has been accompanied by both Athena and Ares as they smash the two works back together and have since created a powerful set of bracelets that can grant humans – you already see where this is going don’t you? – the ability to have god-like powers under specific circumstances.

Known for his stance against Zeus and his meddling, Perseus isn’t a fan of what the elder gods have done and rebels against his family. Thus, we get a set of “Sacred Treasures” that our magnificent cast of characters will get to wield. Because they can’t use the bracelets to Deify themselves, our heroes are granted the ability to use spells alongside their combos and Musou abilities. Side note, if you thought clearing out entire waves of enemies was amazing using Musou attacks, wait until you use the Sacred Treasure abilities.

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The supporting cast is abso-freaking-lutely massive

The core element outside of combat is what Musou games are known for. Sure, we know them for their combat scenarios where you clear out entire maps of enemies, clearing random objectives and taking on other powerful warriors, but Warriors Orochi 4 has done something no other title within the franchise has ever done. It features a 170+ character roster and one that could quite possibly grow even larger thanks to many of the games Koei Tecmo and Omega Force have under their belts.

You’ll see famed characters such as Oda Nobunaga, San Zang, and Fu Xi make a return. Toss in the fact there are over 20+ new Warriors Orochi characters and the roster itself is almost mindblowing when you begin to think of the sheer scale of characters you can level, put in your parties and continue onward with. You even get a chance to unlock gods such as Zeus, Odin, Athena and the trickster god Loki.

Some of the characters are even highlighted as “Support Characters” in order to give you an idea of what their roles actually are. Unlocking new support and primary characters starts rather quick in Warriors Orochi 4 with a plethora of characters becoming readily available within the first half hour of the game. But you might be wondering the same question I did when I first got started: How does the game change up combat and keep each character unique? Do they all have different combos, spells, and items to unlock?

The short answer is a mixed bag of yes and no. Characters themselves do indeed have their own weapons, voiceovers, combos, musou abilities and levels that must be earned, however, there is a catch. Each of the characters shares a “Sacred Treasure” that enables them to access their god-like magic. You’ll notice some use Sacred Treasure while others. Well, others don’t, but they do share the same with a few of the other characters. While it’d been nice to see a large batch of variety, one can only wonder how much more work that would require to be done before the game had launched.

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You can still chain combos that exceed 1,000+ attacks landed

Warriors Orochi 4 hasn’t forgotten what it is. At its core, the latest entry returns to the very mechanics that made Samurai Warriors 4-II and Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends as strong as they were. Both games stood out because they returned to what made the franchise good back in the 90s and 2000s.

Missions are no longer chained together through an open world. They have once more gone back to a mission selection screen before you deploy to the field of combat. In these fields, you will find not much has changed. Your scale of destruction, however, has gotten even bigger thanks to the new approach on how Musou abilities are used. But you’ll also notice that items such as weapons, Musou gauge refills, and even curatives don’t drop as often as they had before.

This new balance is partially in effect due to your squad of three playable characters that you can switch between at any given point in time. Just like before, you can change between each of them in order to use their Musou gauge when you need or even unleash their powerful magic as you wish. Though there is a drawback to this method. Omega Force has made sure to not make your characters as overpowered as you would wish. You’re not simply going to hammer down on your spells as rapidly as you would like no will you be able to unleash their full power from the very start.

Switching characters takes this away as does using a spell on one character before switching to another. But as many of you know, the core element of a Musou title is its combat. Combat has always been a core element within the franchise and remains to be that very key element that keeps the series going. The only key to this element remains with the player who needs to chain all their abilities together alongside their combos.

As stated previously, the 170+ character roster does a lot to keep the gameplay loop fresh as you will be going through some of the missions multiple times and even switching up your party on an as-needed basis. You’ll find yourself pulling through the games various modes and even the core story in order to keep the experience fresh and unique. The real challenge is knowing what characters you want in your party, what characters you like to inherently use on past experiences and what of those god-like magics you wish your party to use.

But that’s almost the key to the entire game. You will spend your time farming for new weapons, upgrading pre-existing ones and ensuring your party is properly leveled as you move through the game and its various modes including a mock battle system that lets you test your unit while you play.

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The battle still rages on even as the conclusion is near

Warriors Orochi 4 isn’t just your average title within the Warriors franchise. Omega Force and Koei Tecmo have gone the extra mile to bring our latest adventure to life and even continue on with their crossover-themed series. Luckily for us, it still works and with it, the dynamic duo (publisher and developer) have proven that they have heard their fans concerns regarding Dynasty Warriors 9 and took a step back in order to keep this latest entry alive and well.

Warriors Orochi 4
Platforms: 
Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Version Reviewed: 
PlayStation 4
Developer:
Omega Force
Publisher:
Koei Tecmo
Release Date: 
Available Now
Cost: 
$59.99

At the end of the day, Warriors Orochi 4 is a classic title that brings with it everything we knew and love about the older entries within the franchise. We still get upgraded graphics, steady framerate performances and even some of the most enjoyable encounters in the history of the series. Now if you’ll excuse me, I still have plenty of leveling to do and unlocking to yet complete.


Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 8 out of 10


About the Writer(s):

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

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