Wednesday, 24 October 2018 12:12

REVIEW: Warriors Orochi 4 (Xbox One)

Written by Melekharn
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I don’t think there is a single person on the planet who has never dreamed of being some sort of warrior; butchering swathes of enemies with your chosen weapon and having some kind of special attack that obliterates the imaginary foe.

Developer Koei Tecmo have a long list of games that allow players to do just that. Warriors Orochi 4 is the latest game in a long list of hack and slash games that are undeniably, but also unexplainably, very popular. Featuring characters from both the Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi franchises, Warriors Orochi 4 has the player set in a fantasy feudal Japan fighting to recover stolen bracelets.

In a true anime-style fashion, characters are grossly over exaggerated, with males being monsters of muscle and armour, towering over the men they command; while female characters are portrayed as dainty little creatures with disproportionately large chests and very little in the way of armour that would actually protect them in a fight. You’ll start off the game with three characters; Tadakatsu Honda, a proud and fearless leader; Naomasa Li, a young headstrong officer eager to prove his worth; and Naotora Li, who apparently is Naomasa’s mother but looks like she is barely out of her teenage years.

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In game character models are not as detailed as you might expect from a game being released so late in 2018. Cloth items are static and don’t flow as your character moves around; armour panels appear flat with very little attention to detail. Opponents to the player characters have measurably less detail on them. The games one saving grace is that character portraits are quite beautiful to look at, with a “more serious” anime style of art placed on them.

Voice acting is entirely in Japanese and I am lucky enough to understand a little bit of it, but for the most part I was stuck reading subtitles. The male characters that I had the chance to play with all had strong powerful voices which further emphasized their command, while Naotora sounded like a younger teen girl. With her constantly saying “excuse me” and “I’m sorry!” prior to her unleashing her special attack, it is suggested she is too innocent to be running around the battlefield. This is further emphasized when you watch her traverse the map. While the male characters confidently strut across the field, she prances about like a prissy school girl; arms flicked out to the sides and legs only really moving at the knees.

Music within the game is a miss match of entirely inappropriate genres. Violins, drums and pianos sound off as you sit in the menus; upbeat techno with a guitar riff assault your ears as you prepare to choose which chapter you’ll play next and a seemingly modernised electric jazz ensemble plays smoothly as you fight the hordes arrayed against you. It wasn’t long before I turned off in game music completely and ran a set of in-ear headphones inside my headset – if they’re not going to give me something that suits the era the game is based, then I’d much prefer my own tunes.

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Gameplay itself consists of a lot of button mashing. Sure, you’ve got combination attacks you can spam as well, but the vast majority of enemies can be killed off by simply mashing the basic attack key and building up your special attack bar. You can seamlessly flick between your three active characters at any point and experience is generated with the more hits you land against your foes – my record being about eight thousand. You’ll want to make sure you’re spending enough time on each character as experience is not shared particularly well and you’ll be wanting to level them all up so that you can use the magical items you collect throughout the game.

In all, I found Warriors Orochi 4 to be quite a disappointment. Fans of the series will find that almost nothing has changed from the previous versions. Characters have seemingly forgotten what happened in the titles leading up to this instalment and the games story feels like it’s been forced. Unexciting game play, music unsuited to the games settings, graphics and a game engine that would be at home back in the early 2000’s left a lot to be desired.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 2.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo Games, Koei Tecmo, Omega Force
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games, Koei Tecmo, KOEI TECMO AMERICA Corporation
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Fighting, Action