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Platform

PSP

 

Genre

Action / Strategy

 

Publisher

Koei

 

Developer

Omega Force

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

October 24, 2006

 

 

- Mostly faithful gameplay to the console games

- Board game style movement adds strategic value

- Lots and lots of characters to play as

 

 

- Still the same old hack and slash at heart

- Plenty of pop-in

- Only minor improvements over Vol. 1

 

 

Review: Samurai Warriors 2 (360)

Review: Tomb Raider Legend (PSP)

Review: Kingdom of Paradise (PSP)

 

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Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

Koei seems pretty sure that we aren't all sick of  Dynasty Warriors games -- otherwise, why would they keep churning them out? The latest portable entry doesn't do a lot to change the repetitive hack and slashing, but it does break some new and different ground that make it substantially more interesting than its console-bound brethren.

 

dynasty warriors vol 2          dynasty warriors vol 2

 

Like the rest of the Dynasty Warriors games, you choose a general to play as, hop onto the battlefield, and begin hacking and slashing at everything in sight. However, instead of running around a huge unified map, each stage is broken up into several squares, similar to a board game. When you enter a square, assuming its occupied by the enemy, you'll enter combat. All you need to do is wail on enough enemies until the enemy morale meter hits zero, and then you take the square. This usually only takes a few minutes or so, depending on how

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strong the opposing forces are. Although many sections of the battlefield serve no strategic value, certain areas will boost ally morale or recharge your health meter. Considering that HP regeneration items are much less prevalent than in other games, guiding your character towards these square is pretty important.

 

While you'll also need to pay attention to the movement of other 

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enemy generals, the whole system makes it easier to track down your targeted foe and thus end matches quicker. You're also on a bit of a time limit, so you cant really dawdle towards your goals either. Since everything is broken down into easily consumed portions, the flow of the game is much less chaotic, and it actually feels like there's a little bit more strategy than your usual Dynasty Warriors outing. It also makes for excellent portable gaming, since you can save anytime in between fighting segments.

 

dynasty warriors vol 2          dynasty warriors vol 2

 

Naturally, there are a handful of technical issues that come with shrinking the game to run on the PSP. The landscapes in the Dynasty Warriors games have always looked pretty boring, and that sense of ennui is still replicated here. The character models have less polygons and the frame rate is lower, but otherwise, it replicates the experience of the console version almost perfectly. However, theres an extraordinary amount of pop-in. Sometimes you'll kill a handful of troops only to have several more appear right in front of you. Thankfully, the load times are pretty quick beyond the stage introduction.

 

The biggest change in Volume 2 is that the display now takes up the entire screen, instead of having the right side partitioned for a status bar. The rest of the additions aren't terribly exciting, unless you really find that collecting a stable of horses and elephants to be all that interesting. There's also a total of four quick multiplayer modes for up to four players, but unfortunately no co-op modes. As usual, there are more characters (a total of 48), more maps, and in general more stuff. While these additions definitely put it head and shoulders above the first game, though its probably not worth it if you already own the original. Otherwise, everything is as you'd expected with Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2. Same boneheaded AI soldiers, same mindless hack and slashing, same hair banging Chinese rock music. Its a bit more inspired than the rest of the series, but there's still little here that will appeal to anyone who isn't already sick of it all.

 

- Kurt Kalata

(December 5, 2006)

 

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