Diversions in a Living, Breathing Open-World
3 Major Changes in Dynasty Warriors 9
Dynasty Warriors 9 is a monumental game for the long-running series, with developer Omega Force and publisher Koei Tecmo utilizing the power of current-gen hardware to reinvigorate its popular hack-and-slash franchise. The latest Dynasty Warriors game changes the series’ formula primarily with its open-world design that encompasses the whole geography of China during the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Most fans and critics have long expressed that the Dynasty Warriors series isn’t for everyone. However, with its adoption of a staple elements from most open-world games, Dynasty Warriors 9 has expanded its appeal and is definitely a great starting point for players interested in trying the series. Former fans who lost interest or got burned out on the series also have plenty of reasons to try out the game due to the breadth of gameplay tweaks and additional features.
The biggest dilemma for any open-world game is whether there’s any worthwhile activities to partake in when travelling from point A to point B. At first glance, Dynasty Warriors 9 might look like another entry in the series with a tacked-on open-world design. However, it’s not simply a new entry with a fresh coat of paint. To make this major rework, the developers have gone great lengths to appropriately balance the game and make it enjoyable to journey from north to south. The first key element to make the open-world design work involves making the whole traversable map of mainland China feel like a living, breathing world. Dynasty Warriors 9 strives to achieve this by appropriately adjusting the degree of density of each locale, sprinkling in some enemy battles, filling the world with loot, and adding fun diversions.
Towns, Cities, and Landmarks
Dynasty Warriors 9 not only has a variety of locales but also plenty of historic landmarks – from the vast Yangtze River to the luscious Mt. Song. Having an explorable area that is too large can feel tiring to navigate, thus Omega Force appropriately tweaked the degree of density of each locale to make it less cumbersome to travel. For example, it takes around five minutes to swim across either the Yangtze River or Yellow River.
Dynasty Warriors 9 also has various cities and villages. Instead of browsing through menus to purchase items and upgrade your gear, you’ll have to seek out merchants in the market. There are stables for purchasing horses, blacksmiths for your combat needs, teahouses for boosting your stats, and much more. You’ll also get to see various reputed officers in the city. Considering they don’t need their combat gear to buy tea in the market, each of them are dressed in informal clothes.
Loot Bonanza Alongside Lite-RPG Elements
Dynasty Warriors 9 has something akin to the synchronization points of Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry’s towers, as you can climb up watchtowers to acquire more information about your surroundings. One of the most important things you’ll discover are loot materials, which you can use to craft useful items.
Like many open-world games, the developers had to expand on the game’s lite-RPG elements to make exploration more fulfilling. Weapons can be crafted by completing the list of materials specified in collectible scrolls, and their elements are less randomized as players can now equip up to six combinations of gems to improve its stats.
When you’re out and about in the open-world area, you can acquire loot by fishing, setting up traps for wildlife creatures, or directly hunting deers and other animals. Bandits will even ambush you from time to time. These tough enemies are sometimes accompanied by strong animals, such as tigers and polar bears, and beating them will prove rewarding as they generally drop good loot.
Your character isn’t the only one that can get stronger in the game. Horses can now level up by using them to travel for long distances and killing foes while on horseback, which means acquiring Red Hare isn’t the be-all and end-all for getting the most efficient steed in the game.
Unlike past games in the series, Dynasty Warriors 9 is not just about killing enemies for hours on end. There are various non-violent activities you can do in the game’s open-world, such as purchasing a house and interacting with officers. You can purchase Hideaways or empty houses spread across the large open-world and deck it with pieces of furniture to turn it into a place that you can call home.
Hideaways is nowhere near as expansive compared to the likes of Fallout 4 and Skyrim’s base building tools, as you can only choose where to place a few useful appliances in a premade house. Nonetheless, it adds variety to a game that is primarily about killing thousands of enemies over and over again. Additionally, it’s not just a diversion for your war escapades as Hideaways not only serves as a fast travel point, but the appliances you install can hugely benefit you on your journey. For example, a bed will recover your health, bong gong changes the background music, wardrobe allows you to change your outfit, and stoves enables you to cook stat boosting recipes.
Fellow officers will even visit your Hideaways from time to time. During these instances, you can strengthen your relationship with them.