My horse can swim!

We kind of asked for it. The Dynasty Warriors series has more or less been the same game since its inception. Sure, the original was a 1-on-1 fighter, but after that it created a genre that has stood the test of time, while also spawning countless clones and iterations. With Dynasty Warriors 9, Omega Force finally upped the ante by adding open-world mechanics to its typical hack and slash game play. The results are the perfect example of when to leave well-enough alone.

There is a lot to digest here so let’s just get down to it. Yes, the typical mowing down of hordes of enemies with standard idle animations is still here. However, instead of taking on maps, there is an entire world to traverse and conquer. So far sounds great right? Well the map is massive. This isn’t a knock in most respects, but this world is massive while also being mostly devoid of anything interesting. Large swaths of flat land and trees encompass most of the map.

MSRP: $59.99
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99

Moving from one mission to the next is both boring and mindless. There is a horse that can auto run to the next objective, but it makes Roach from Witcher 3 look like a genius. The horse only follows the main road and constantly runs into trees and fences along the way. Hey, at least it can swim. Still the idea of moving from point A to point B is one of the most mind-numbing experiences in a game built around mindless combat. That is saying a lot.

There are a ton of progression and crafting systems in the game as well. Sadly, they don’t mean a whole lot. I was mowing down enemies several levels above me constantly. The AI in the game is not suited to take advantage of the new systems. Instead, the formula of mashing buttons continues to bode good results. It also doesn’t help that the enormous variety of systems are overwhelming and confusing most of the time. There are dozens of characters, each with their own weapons and move sets, upgrade trees and so on. Sure there is hundreds of hours of content to see, but I only wanted to experience about a tenth of it.

Combine all that with the really glitchy experience and presentation and Dynasty Warriors 9 feels half-baked. The game has systems that seem out of place, such as stealth, while the climbing and arrow firing feel like shoddy side activities that should not be used in practice. Then comes the performance issues.

I was playing the game on an Xbox One X, which offers an action and movie mode – basically resolution versus frame rate. Neither mode performs well. The action mode has horrible screen tearing and the frame rate does not hold up. Movie mode increases the resolution, but the frame rate tanks. This is even more perplexing when viewing the game in motion. The animations are stiff, the world is barren, and everything just feels cheap. This game should run a heck of a lot better than it does in both modes, especially on these more powerful consoles.

There is a lot of content in Dynasty Warriors 9 and the ideas are sound, but the execution is just atrocious. I hope they continue to iterate and spruce up the genre. I love seeing new takes on familiar formulas. Sadly though this outing feels like a half-baked idea that no one on the team was really behind.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Tons and tons of content
  • Lots of characters
  • Frame rate issues
  • Boring open-world
  • Visually disappointing
  • Open-world adds nothing to the formula
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.