I have a small confession to make: I am infinitely fascinated with Tecmo Koei's tactical hack n' slash series Dynasty Warriors. Constantly at the butt end of jokes from gamers who are not fans, the series is often panned for never evolving past mindless hack 'n slash action and never progressing its graphics enough to match the quality found in other games.
Which is why find it so great. Much like the Square Enix's Dragon Quest series, the creators of Dynasty Warriors have found a middle ground formula that just works for its large core fanbase, and they simply don't have to evolve with the rest of the world. They are free from the soul sucking world of AAA development, making enough off of that to support the development of another game. These games can't be that expensive to make, and yet they still turn a huge profit.
Japanese developers like Keiji Inafune have called on Japanese publishers to model a more western approach to game development to avoid stagnation, but looking at the state of AAA games these days, we're not that much better. Huge budgets, lack of innovation, lay-offs left and right, meticulously building games around a few established tropes. Koei Tecmo at least does this within a reasonable window of expenses.
Not to mention, the games are more than just mindlessly fun. Sure, much of it is spent hacking away at mindless mobs of enemies, but there is a strategy to deciding how to approach battles. Plus, the most recent entry to the series, Dynasty Warriors 8, allows gamers to rewrite history and create huge "what if" scenarios.
I don't know how many will jump aboard with Tecmo Koei on this one, but I would like to see how far the series has evolved since I last played it. It's been quite a few years. Dynasty Warriors 8 will be available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this July 16th.
Apart from the Story Mode, which comes with new episodes and characters and takes a deeper look at the drama that unfolds in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dynasty Warriors 8 includes all new 'What if?' scenarios. Breaking away from historical fact, this mode takes a look at what could have happened if famous characters had lived to fight another day. This way the story branches out to different outcomes providing variety in the course and ending of the game and giving the players the power to view an alternate version of history depending on their choices.
Dynasty Warriors 8 also boasts a vast number of new and returning playable characters, as the highly anticipated officers Yue Jin and Li Dian from the Wei Kingdom, who make their first appearance in the series, alongside more than 70 playable characters that fight to prevail in the battlefield.
Giving stronger emphasis in the stage of these epic battles and inspired by the landscape of ancient China to deliver a wide range of visual treats, Dynasty Warriors 8 will feature more than 40 completely new stages: verdant plains, desolate wastelands, sharp ravines, huge castles, and other breath-taking sites.