Warriors Orochi 4 Review – Warriors Another
Platforms: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Release: 19th October 2018
Oh, Warriors, I love you till this day and hate you more with every year. Especially since Dynasty Warriors 9, a majority of my respect got shattered into tiny pieces by its wide, empty world, mediocre combat and systems and much more. So hearing how Warriors Orochi 4 wanted to return to the well-proven formula of previous titles, I actually got excited again. Well, it´s not like anyone expected a masterpiece here but it actually delivered another solid annual entry.
Honestly, the story is pretty much what you would expect: After Warriors Orochi 3 the heroes are gathered once again by Zeus to Orochi´s world to find the eight bangles while battling themselves through thousands of soldiers and other heroes of past times. At the same time, there´s also a mysterious power going around, granting them magic power and devastating the world.
Naturally, the whole thing isn´t very engaging nor captivating, as it’s a mere decoy to bring those 170 together. While Omega Force tried to bring some sort of epicness into the mix by recreating iconic battles or fights in cutscenes, nothing really comes together to form anything close to something one would want to follow through the 70 missions. The big mystery of the demonic forces can´t hold up to the “expectation”. However, none of this is really relevant, the Warriors always had these boring tales with way too long dialogues and too few cool cutscenes, and Warriors Orochi 4 isn´t an exception, it just is another one of them.
This can be said about the core too, which is pretty much your typical Warriors combat system with one little new trick. Divided into classic arenas once again, lacking any kind of open world, the overall structure is pretty much unchanged this time and for the better. Every level is separated from short dialogues which aren´t worth following and serve mainly as excuses to throw you into more and more fights. During each level, the formula remained pretty untouched: Capture enemy bases and kill commanders until more and more of the level is opened. Each area is as big as in every modern Warriors game on the PS4 (maybe bigger here and there) and at least can mix up the repeated assets through the demonic auras and new objects, letting it feel fresher than most of Dynasty Warriors 9. Overall, it´s once again everything you would expect design-wise, this time it´s able to shine way brighter since we all saw what alternative could await us.
Battling plays the same too: You have your typical normal combos which can be finished with light or heavy attacks, your charge attack, Musou special moves and all that. It feels more “challenging” than the Dynasty system for sure but quickly becomes repetitive as well. However, the giant cast of characters is actually equipped with many of their iconic, crazy weapons able to mix things up and introduce the all-missed craziness back into the game with its thousands of soldiers who are killed by scroll soldiers and what not.
To top it off, the newly introduced magic attacks provide new ways to either finish or begin combos with unique special attacks for each character, controlled by a magic bar. Additionally, everyone now has a new special spell which practically works like Musou just with even flashier, dumber effects like rainbow explosions. I truly missed this more playful, crazier side of the franchise and Orochi 4 does a great job at delivering it.
The last thing that didn´t change were the visuals, presenting themselves with the same quality known from other linear titles of the franchise. Due to the tinier arenas, many of the mushy, horrible looking environments got exchanged for a more colourful style with a magical twist. As I previously said, the whole demonic power arc gives Warriors Orochi 4 a somehow unique colour variation since Omega Force utilized more playful designs and events.
For example cutscenes actually, make use of some quite impressive effects due to the added freedom in the universe. Generally speaking, while still not too daring to liven things up visually, Omega Force certainly added somewhat more flavour to the feeling, which was repeated so many times in previous titles. The occasional highlights actually look kinda cool again, since Warriors Orochi 4 truly feels like a new entry.
Warriors Orochi 4 might have been less exciting if it wasn´t for Dynasty Warriors 9, which wasn´t a really good entry into the series, to say the least. Omega Force returned to their prior game structure and added a few slight tweaks, delivering yet another fun, unsprising Warriors game.
[A Review Code was provided by Koei Tecmo Europe]