Koei Tecmo and Omega Force’s Dynasty Warriors series and all of its spin-offs have seen some exciting new developments in recent years. Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors added some Nintendo flair to the musou experience, and Dynasty Warriors 9 attempted to implement an open world to mixed results.
This year at E3, I met up with Producer Masaki Furusawa and was able to try out Warriors Orochi 4, the newest game in the long-running series. While I had never played the Warriors Orochi subseries before, I could tell from what I played that Warriors Orochi 4 offers a pure form of the fun action-heavy combat that the Warriors franchise as a whole is known for in a fairly traditional way.
That being said, this title does stand out by being a crossover between the Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and previous Warriors Orochi titles, bringing the playable character total up to 170 characters. Also, Warriors Orochi 4 brings Greek mythology into the mix with both the story and a brand new playable character Zeus, who I also was able to try out.
As I jumped into my first battle, Furusawa-san began to walk me through the game’s mechanics. For the most part, it functions similarly to previous Musou games, with players taking on hordes of enemies to take over forts and fight the stage’s boss. Warriors Orochi 4 features the same combo system as previous entries, though it does try to spice things up with brand new magic attacks.
When it comes to magic attacks, players have access to both standard and ranged magic, which both pull from the same gauge built up by attacking enemies. Normal and ranged magic attacks only use part of this energy, though there are some ultra-powerful attacks that use up most of the gauge. All of these attacks are flashier than usual and are great ways to start or end a massive combo.
The last Musou title, Dynasty Warriors 9, was very ambitious, featuring an open world alongside other changes; unfortunately, this left the core fan base feeling somewhat alienated and led to some noticeable technical problems. While Warriors Orochi 4 features a large playable cast of characters and tons of enemies on screen at once, the setup for missions and other game systems should feel familiar in a good way for hardcore fans.
After beating this first level, I move onto another one where I finally got to play as Zeus. The Greek god is slower than some other characters but packs a punch. Zeus even rewards skilled play by electrifying and powering up himself when he gets a massive combo. His magic attacks are also just as devastating, so I can see him being an essential part of any team setup.
Once I beat this level, Furusawsa-san and I tried out the game’s co-operative mode together. Playing with someone else allows one to manage battles better, and can make some fights a breeze. The most satisfying thing to do was string several magic attacks together a row.
As Zeus, I could use an attack that brings a bunch of enemies together so Furusawa-san could follow up with a powerful short range attack to kill all the enemies. While I don’t know how much I’ll play this mode when Warriors Orochi 4 releases, it ran well and seems like it will be an excellent addition for groups of friends that are into Musou games and would like to play together.
While I have not played the previous entries in this Musou sub-series, Warriors Orochi 4 was enjoyable, especially when playing with Furusawa-san, even if it wasn’t overly ambitious with new gameplay systems. That being said, the new magic system still brought out the personality of every playable character.
Warriors Orochi 4 is an ambitious crossover game with a ton of characters to juggle, so it remains to be seen how the story balances this many characters while also incorporating Greek gods. From a gameplay standpoint though, Warriors Orochi 4 definitely offered a fun, albeit a more traditional experience that should be a nice pallet cleanser for those who felt burned by recent titles like Dynasty Warriors 9.