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Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper review

Unfortunately, this particular edition is anything but special

There's always been a certain boldness to the Warriors games. We say "boldness", because "cynicism" sounds too harsh to those of us on the ONM team who are as content playing the series 15 years down the line as we were at the start. Luckily, lots of people feel the same way.

The formula of simple, repetitive hack 'n' history has been successful enough in Japan that not only has the developer never changed a major element in the core games, it's also released multiple versions of almost every one. Ever heard the phrase, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Well, plenty of people think the Warriors games are broken and we still don't want them meddled with.

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That said, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is a particularly blatant case of what Omega Force has been pilloried for. Not only is it this entry's third outing, but it even throws in a giant metaphor for the benefits of iteration. The bulk of the campaign, unironically, revolves around fighting in huge battles and then going back in time to do it all again, but with slightly better results. Unfortunately, as every half-decent time travel movie tells us, when you change past events, there will almost always be unwanted repercussions, and this Wii U exclusive edition certainly hasn't benefitted from the retrofit.

Foe be gone

The problem, which manages to tarnish the entire experience, will hit you immediately. The Warriors games have always suffered for trying to introduce a sense of scale, with tiny draw distances and trundling slowdown a common complaint, but something's gone terribly wrong here. You'll load your first battle, watch the first squad of enemy soldiers appear and then, as you charge them for your first swing of a comically oversized sword, they'll disappear for no reason.

It's the strangest problem we've seen in a Wii U port. We're aware that games designed for other consoles long before Wii U dev kits were sent out might manifest some issues, but this makes no sense. Draw distances change at a moment's notice, meaning one small movement can make an army appear, or suddenly render attacks by the gigantic Hydra boss (who appears at the beginning and end of the game) invisible. The entire joy of the game can be summed up in spinning a double-ended spear through a sea of identikit soldiers, but the end effect's dampened somewhat when it just looks like your character's gone mad alone in a field.

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Even worse, this could have been the best Orochi yet. The benefit of having one or two new games every year is that you learn exactly what needs fine tuning, and Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is nothing if not tuned up. The biggest criticism of the series is how repetitive fighting can become - each character has only four attacks and some combos to their name - but this game addresses this by ensuring there are more characters than most people would think of using.

With the addition of two new characters in this edition (Ninja Gaiden's Momiji and mythical Chinese leader, Shennong), the full roster is increased to 136. Add in the fact that every battle sees you choosing three characters who can be swapped mid-combo - experimenting to find the most fluid, situation-specific set becomes its own meta-game of sorts - and you could play the entire game without ever using the same characters. Omega Force has made repetition your fault.

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  1. KH81314 Sunday 20th Jan 2013 at 13:31

    Was kinda of looking forward to this but i wont lose any sleep over it.

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