Dynasty Warriors 8 XL Definitive Edition has landed on the Switch, bringing with it all the DLC and expansion content previously released for the core title, but also some new content that made its way around with both the Empires and Legends versions of the game. However, does it work and does it give us a worthwhile experience?
+Stunning visuals that provide a delightful entertainment experience on the Switch
+A robust roster of characters from every dynasty, allowing fans hundreds of hours of fun
+Performs rather well, even in the most intensive moments
+Plays great in both docked and handheld modes.
-Eats through the Switch’s battery life
-Load times can take a good few seconds to get through after a mission
Since the release of Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors, I’ve never really felt much satisfaction from the ‘Musou’ genre in recent times. I’ve spent countless hours in Hyrule as various characters from the famed The Legend of Zelda franchise. I’ve smashed through Ganondork – I mean – Ganondorf’s forces countless times, and I’ve even had time to level up each character’s weapons, items, and unlocks time and time again.
The same goes for any Warriors game on the market. I love them and there’s no doubt that I’d play them until my fingers fall off. Well, all but Dynasty Warriors 9, we’ll pretend that little travesty never happened. Now, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force have returned to the core roots of the franchise with the release of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition that fits right at home on the Nintendo Switch.
A perfect Dynasty for the Nintendo Era
When it comes to Nintendo and the Warriors franchise, we have a lot of reason to be excited. The spin-off franchises have done rather well on Nintendo platforms, so-much-so that Hyrule Warriors got three different versions, two of which contain all the previously released content for fans to enjoy along with some long-desired bonus content. Much of the same can be said for Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition – man that’s a mouthful of things to say – and its release on the Nintendo Switch is more than we could ever ask for from Omega Force and Koei Tecmo.
For those of you that have your heads spinning, here’s what you need to know. This version takes the best aspects of all three versions of Dynasty Warriors 8, Empires, and Xtreme Legends and puts them into a single package. You’ll have the ability to choose from over 80 characters, each with their own unique weapons along with secondary weapons and styles they can equip in order to change up how combat is approached. Just like any other title, you’ll hack, you’ll slash, and you’ll plow your way through countless hordes of A.I. controlled enemies while fighting for through one of China’s most famed civil wars.
For those of you unfamiliar with the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms,” it may be a worthwhile experience to get to know some of histories most renowned Chinese leaders and their generals, but also the battles that will unfold right before your eyes. Granted, don’t expect complete historical accuracy, after all, this is a game. That doesn’t mean, however, the story isn’t rich, in-depth with some noteworthy historical, and filled to the brim with extra missions to experience; because it is. It’s an amazingly well-rounded game that encourages players to explore the world before them.
Because of how well the Switch works as an on-the-go device, Dynasty Warriors as a series is much the same. It’s a series that you can pick up and go if you wish. It’s a series that’ll allow you to play on an as-needed basis while entertaining the idea of prolonged missions that might take some time to complete. But it does make it a perfect fit as you smash, bash, and hack your way through all those that stand before you before stepping away from the game while on the go.
Graphics and Performance are admirable feats, Lu Bu will approve of this
When it comes to the Nintendo Switch, I’ve become hard to impress. As I mostly play mine in handheld mode, I don’t always get to see just how well games perform when the handheld becomes a console experience. Outside of reviews, I prefer to play while on the go. I like the idea of sitting in the car or at a cafe with my Switch in my hand, playing various titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or Xenoblade Chronicles 2.
Visually, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition looks rather good for what it is and runs extremely well rather docked or not. Animations, cutscenes, and even visuals aren’t all that bad. There are a few noticeable changes in order to ensure the game could get top-notch performances out of the way. One, visual fidelity won’t be easily compared to that of the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions of the game.
Compared to either, it’s cut a few corners in lighting effects, anti-aliasing, particle effects, shadow detail, and even environmental detail quality. All of been taken down a notch or two, allowing for buttery smooth framerates and even highly-responsive controls. But if you compare it to other handheld titles, even Dynasty Warriors Next on the PlayStation Vita; this one is light years ahead in both graphics and performance.
The only downside is the fact the battery life itself only lasts somewhere near two to three hours before having drained my battery completely before having forced to dock the Switch in order to charge it back up. Sadly, for those looking to play the game as much as possible, you may want to consider carrying your charger with you or even a portable charger if you can. That’s the only drawback with this game – battery drain while on the go.
There’s plenty of content to go around
Those of you who manage to hack ‘n’ slash your way through every campaign, you’ll find it doesn’t end with Story Mode or Free Mode by any means. Those of you looking to collect items can be guaranteed to enjoy the Ambition Mode, where you can build up your base while collecting your officers and your supplies.
In this mode, you build up your status as you run through various battles, each coming with their own loot chances, items, and even officers for your camp. As you progress, you’ll be able to earn enhanced abilities, weapons, and even buffs from your camps cook who will supply you with food buffs as you continue and upgrade your camp over time.
This mode, in honesty, is one of the best the game has to offer and it’s the one that has the most replayability for those looking for something a little less story driven and more combat-focused. If that’s something you enjoy, then, there’s a mode just for you that’ll keep you coming back, unlocking officers, finding new weapons, and even building your base up in order to become a formidable foe in the eyes of those that stand against you.
Whether you enjoyed Dynasty Warriors 8 when it initially launched or the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends, this version has a lot more to offer and it really feels that Koei Tecmo and Omega Force knew that going in with a dedicated Nintendo Switch launch.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release Date: Available Now
It’s a game that fits perfectly at home on the Nintendo Switch and surprisingly, feels like this is where it belonged the entire time. It’s a well-deserved launch and we can only hope that this means we’ll see even more titles make their way over such as Samurai Warriors 4 or even Warriors Orochi 4 in the future.
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: 8.5 out of 10
About the Writer(s):
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders 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.