Warriors Orochi 4 for PlayStation 4
With so many entries released across several different franchises over the years, it would take a lot for a mainline game in the Musou genre to turn heads and be considered a must play by everyone.
While Warriors Orochi 4 isn’t that definitive experience, it’s still an entertaining crossover with enough content and fan service to satisfy long-time fans, and brings the series forward in some small but interesting ways.
The game is set up much in the same way as the last, but with a few new twists. After the defeat of Orochi and his fearsome Hydra in the last title, the warriors of the Musou universes returned to their own timelines and enjoyed a time of peace until they were dragged back to the Orochi Dimension’s battlefield by Zeus and the Greek Pantheon of gods.
Having harnessed Orochi’s power into magical items known as Ouroboros Bracelets, the gods planned to use this new power to establish a new realm of warriors to rule over. However, when the half mortal Perseus learns of this plan, he intervenes and tries to take the bracelets for himself, causing them to fall down into the Orochi Dimension. There, the greatest warriors from across time find themselves drawn to the bracelets and their power, and a new conflict breaks out to decide who is worthy to wield them.
It’s a nice enough setup that doesn’t take too long to get to the point, and the introduction of Greek gods as warriors adds a reasonable justification for another conflict arising.
It can get a little tiresome to hear the game’s trademark characters muse about how they feel like they remember each other from somewhere, a la the obligatory memory wipe they all experience at the end of each Orochi title. Otherwise though, it gets the job done of explaining why 170 characters from across the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors franchises can now duke it out with one another.
The introduction of the Ouroboros Bracelets also presents some interesting new gameplay mechanics. Alongside the usual hack, slash and repeat framework the genre is known for, certain characters can also trigger special Deification transformations through the use of the Ouroboros Bracelets.
With this transformation, the character gains a substantial increase to their attack and defense alongside special Divine Magic attacks. Though these transformations are temporary and are limited to eight specific characters, they add an interesting layer to the usual battle framework and can provide a reason to test out different characters and their techniques.
This is all presented beautifully with fast and fluid gameplay that doesn’t stutter even with hundreds of combatants on screen at once. This can cause some battles to become chaotic and hard to follow, but never enough to hamper a player’s enjoyment for more than a few seconds.
It’s also worth noting that Warriors Orochi 4 offers an admirable amount of depth and character customization. In addition to a traditional level up system, each character has their own skills and combos to learn through the use of skill points.
These are earned through the completion of story and side missions, and while the amount of time it takes to unlock them varies based on how closely the player focuses on leveling a certain character, it doesn’t take long to unlock the necessary skills to execute the more devastating and flashy moves in a character’s arsenal.
Players can also customize their characters’ weapons with special elements that add useful buffs and effects to the player’s attacks. These range from elemental damage that stacks onto their base attack power to a boost to the amount of experience they earn. Most of these elements can be boosted as well, further increasing their effect and granting better boosts to the player as they progress through the game.
For all of these strengths though, Warriors Orochi 4 still suffers from the same issues that have plagued the Musou genre for years.
There’s little difference between a battle at the beginning of the game and one at the end. Every battle only slightly variates, if at all, from the framework of “kill this enemy, move to this area and kill these enemies,” and as a result the game’s more meaningful battles fail to distinguish themselves from a run of the mill encounter.
Most enemies any level can be defeated with the same strategies, and even on the game’s highest settings it takes considerable effort to not come out on top.
Likewise, combat can quickly become repetitive even while switching from character to character. While there are different combo variations that can be unlocked by leveling up your choice of warriors, many of them blur together based on what they achieve.
Sure, one character can execute a driving spear attack that cleaves through enemies while another relies on kicks and punches, but before long the player will more than likely lean back on the same screen clearing attacks every character has, using them over and over again to get more kills and a higher final rank, and the rewards these provide.
The music only compounds this, with most tracks delivering the same adrenaline rock tones over and over and over again until you’ll want to mute the game for the rest of your play through.
Even with these flaws though, Warriors Orochi 4 is still a fun game. It serves its purpose and delivers on what it advertises, giving players a power fantasy experience where they can tear through waves of enemies with the touch of a button. It’s an enjoyable Musou title which will keep fans entertained, and takes some small steps forward that future installments could use to great effect.
Score: 3.5/5 – Fair