Source: Koei Warriors
In the most exciting news I’ve heard since sliced bread was used to power that Haitian dirigible (oh, you didn’t hear? Pay attention…), a producer over at Koei made it officially known that Dynasty Warriors 8 (known as Shin Sangoku Musou 7 in Japan, because of…reasons that would take a bit of doing to explain) will be releasing here in the US and in Europe. And it’s sooner than I anticipated, coming to us on July 16th.
The game came out in Japan on February 28th, to strong reviews and great sales. Tecmoei had been oddly quiet on the whole topic for a while there, not giving any hint of the when or how of a overseas release. See, it wasn’t a matter of IF, since although the games aren’t million-sellers, they are quite strong, and financially secure little endeavors. It was if the company would stick to their budget-saving practices that they’ve been engaging with recently.
See, the past few titles have been released in sort of partially localized forms. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2 was released with no English voice track, sub only. Which isn’t a problem per se, except it limits it to download-only on the PS3 due to Sony’s “No physical release for non-english-dubbed games (for some fucking reason). Further, it stands out due to the usually EXTENSIVE voice work done for the Warriors games (even more noticeable, the first FOTNS game was NOTED in reviews for its rather high-quality VO). Last year, the same thing happened with Warriors Orochi 3, and this past Fall, One Piece: Pirate Warriors got it EVEN WORSE, releasing only on the PS3, in Japanese and as a download-only game.
Now, I get why. Pirate Warriors was untested, FOTNS:KR2 is relatively more niche around here, and WO3 had SO MANY CHARACTERS that it would have added a shit ton of time and money to dub it. But the DW mainline games have always drawn a fair amount of their personality from the enthusiastic, and sometimes downright cheesy voice acting. To lose that would have been kind of sad. As you recall from my breakdown of Dynasty Warriors 7, the voices of the series are kind of a draw for me…
Beyond all that, all the fun appears to be here. The cast has ballooned yet again, with the kingdoms each getting between two and five new officers. And although the weapon switching mechanic, in all its flawed glory, is returning, more unique skills and combat traits are being added, including counter attacks, additional musous, alliance-based powerups and more.
As for story mode, a fusion of old and new is in order, with the previously-used “storyline per kingdom” method now allowing you to choose from several officers at the beginning of a fight, eliminating a complaint from the first game. In addition, a unique storyline for the “other” characters (non-affiliated with any kingdom, but still important to the story) is being added, as well as a variety of “what-if?” scenarios. Delightfully for old motherfuckers like me, the soundtrack is a mix of brand new music and remixes of old themes going as far back as DW3, making this feel almost like an anniversary tour of the series.
I could get into all the modes and slighter gameplay changes and stylistic alterations, but the bottom line is that, from what I’ve seen, DW8 is shaping up to be everything I want in a Warriors game. Upgrades to the old formula I know and love, an extensive story mode in which to enjoy all the bombastically acted drama, and ungodly amounts of content to keep me entertained all the way into the Fall semester. Three and a half months can’t pass quick enough…