Warriors Orochi is back, and this time with more characters than ever before. The game brings with it all that makes the Warriors series fun and expands on it. This includes a massive roster, a fun magic system, and some excellent optimization. However, the game still suffers from some incredibly stupid AI, repetitive mission design, and overcomplex character management.
Note: This review is only for the campaign, I did not get to play the battle arena as it was not available pre-release.
Massive amount of playable characters. Warriors Orochi 4 features the largest roster of playable characters I have ever seen in a hack-and-slash game, totaling 170 unique characters. In fact, it is the largest roster of playable characters in any hack-and-slash game, as it was presented the Guinness World Record for such. It seemed like every time I cleared a mission I was given access to three or four new characters, all the way up until the end of the game. It is not like each character is just recycled though, as each has its own distinct move set. Granted, I have not yet played every character in the game, but this seemed to be the case with those that I did play. With such a large roster, players should have no problem seeking out a character that fits their playstyle.
Accessible gameplay and story. It has been years since I last played a Dynasty Warriors game and I have never played a Warriors Orochi game before, yet despite this, I had no issues getting into the latest iteration in the series. The game’s brief tutorials do a good job in bringing new players up to speed with the different game mechanics. Even some of the more complex ones (like switch combos) were pretty easy to pick up. The same goes for the story, which, while it was not the best story in the world, it was at least accessible to newcomers. The game even provides plot summaries of the previous Orochi titles if one wants to get caught up that way. So while veterans may feel right at home with the game, newcomers to the series should have no issues jumping right in.
Fun magic system. In order to shake up the tried-and-true combat of its predecessors, Warriors Orochi 4 adds magic into the fray. The magic system comes in the form of unique moves for each character, from giant beams of deadly light to massive freezing attacks, there is a little bit of everything. In fact, one of my favorite moves from the game was a magic ability held by Honda Tadakatsu, allowing him to traverse the map by riding a giant wave, sweeping up any enemy caught in its path. Aside from being able to wipe large amounts of soldiers quickly, magic is also handy in taking down monsters, enemies that take little damage from regular attacks. Despite the more fantasy-esque look added by this magic system, it managed to fit right into the gameplay and was a lot of fun to play with.
Excellent optimization. On the technical front, Warriors Orochi 4 does a pretty solid job. Even when there seemed to be over a thousand enemies on-screen, the game would never stutter, instead keeping the action as smooth as possible. Graphically, it may not be the best-looking game, but it definitely does not look bad, especially when on its highest settings. Being able to mow down hordes of enemies without any sort of performance issues is essential for a game like this, so I am glad that Koei Tecmo has done such a good job in porting the game over.
Stupid AI. Perhaps the greatest flaw with Warriors Orochi 4 would be just how stupid the AI can be at times. It was not uncommon for a horde of enemies to just stare at me for several seconds before attacking, like they were in some trance. While I may have been playing some pretty intimidating characters, I find it hard to believe that the average soldier would just stand there while I cut them down. It really makes the combat feel less meaningful, like the soldiers are there simply to be there, rather than to actually pose a threat, even if the threat is minuscule. Even some of the officers display this behavior, letting me get right up next to them before attempting any sort of retaliation. Granted, I played most of the game on normal difficulty, but even then, the enemies should have at least some response.
Repetitive mission design. While the core gameplay here may be fun, it definitely grew tiring to see the same missions over and over. The majority of the missions in the game can be summed up as follows: go to the designated location, kill an officer or two to open up the gates, and repeat until the final boss shows up. This may not be the case with all of the missions, but it was definitely the standard, one that the player starts noticing very early on. The game could really use some more variety in that regard.
Overcomplex character management. One of the side effects of having so many characters is that it becomes increasingly more painful to manage them. This is because every new character unlocked starts at level 1 regardless of when the character was unlocked. The game attempts to remedy this through “growth points”, points that are earned by playing through the game and can be used to directly level up a character, but the game simply does not give enough of these points for the amount of characters unlocked. After playing through the entire campaign, I only earned enough growth points to max out the level on two characters, putting them at level 100. Considering that my party was around level 60 when I finished the game, I would only have enough to maybe sub in three or four characters and have them up to speed with the rest of the party. If I wanted to swap in any other character, I would have to grind for more of these growth points.
The same issue applies to each character’s skill tree, with every character starting at the bottom and having to level up in order to work up the skill tree. This means that if I were to ever swap in a new character to my party, I would either have to possess enough growth points or skill capsules to get them caught up with the rest, or just let them passively pick up levels as I play. I can still use the character, but they would be so weak compared to my other party members that it simply would not be worth it. For having such a large roster, it is a shame that the game basically discourages players from experimenting with new characters like this.
While the missions may grow repetitive, the core gameplay behind Warriors Orochi 4 is solid, with the added bonus of having a cool magic system and a large roster of characters to play around with. Even so, the enemy AI can be pretty stupid at times and the character management can be a bit overwhelming, but the game earns my recommendation regardless. Whether you are a veteran of the series or a complete newcomer, Warriors Orochi 4 is a solid choice for your hack-and-slash fix.
You can buy Warriors Orochi 4 on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.