By: Jeff Cater
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate marks the first appearance of the nefarious Orochi, the demon hellbent on consuming all and bending everyone to his will. So here he is, warping through dimensions of time and space (but mostly Asia), murdering heroes instrumental to past victories in order to make his move in the present and secure victory. You can’t let that happen, can you?
WO3 certainly doesn’t switch things up very much from its predecessors, but at least the small changes do more to enhance than to hinder. On the battlefield you have a few new options open to you. Empires players will recognize employing tactics, albeit not in the same manner. By pressing R1 you activate a character’s special technique, which falls into one of several categories — such as Wonder, Speed, Strength, Etc. Pressing Down on the D-Pad will bring out your two other characters so you can get a huge mob of swords flying around in a real hurry if need be. Other than that, the game is still a button mash; a very responsive button mash.
Although WO3 provides a wealth of new landscapes, many of them still have the flat, bland feel. The stages vary frequently, though you’ll revisit them, as you are not only covering periods of time but alternate dimensions as well. Character models look fantastic, but that serves to point out how lifeless the landscape still is. Even the lighting effects have gotten a lift, with the sun casting bleeding rays through the haze and blooming over the shoulder of your character if you trick the camera enough.
With the horsepower of the PlayStation 4, it’s a true shame that the landscapes still suffer from so much pop-in. There are still issues with the frame rate dipping as well, to which all I can really say is, “Damnit Tecmo, get it together!” In the long run, it is still a great game to watch with screen-clearing supers, character cutaways and heaps of bodies flying everywhere. It could just use a little more punch to it.
Your only audio options here are adjusting volumes and setting subtitles, which you will be thankful for unless you are able to speak and read Japanese, and sometimes even Cantonese. My best guess is that the voice acting is great: I do not understand what I am hearing, but the inflection and given text match well and are often delivered with enthusiasm. How lost would we be if a Warriors title didn’t have some butt-rock? Luckily, WO3 is filled with it and also some techno-esque tunes as well. As always, the music helps get you pumped to take out 3,000 warriors in minutes.
As the power of the demon Orochi grows, reality as we know it is in peril. Your task is to mend time and space, push back the demonic forces and set things back on their correct path. This, of course, entails beating loads of people up, but many of the missions are based around the Rescue/Escort theme.
If you haven’t grown weary of the series yet, this won’t be the one to do it to you. There are plenty of cameos from other Tecmo games to keep things a bit lively (Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden is probably one of the coolest things, ever). Once you believe your warriors are ready, you may go challenge Orochi’s Hydra at any time. Only by clearing the seven chapters of the story mode (and getting most of the 100-plus characters unlocked) will you actually stand a chance at that bastard.
Duel Mode has been installed in this version, which is three-on-three fight in an arena. These can be done against AI or an online opponent. Gauntlet mode is where you have to run stages against progressively tougher opponents in search of a teleporter that will take you to the next section, but it’s a pretty thin mode and doesn’t really add much to the overall experience of the game.
In the options I found a feature called “Online Invasions,” which was off by default, but I turned it on and found nobody invading me or anything so I’m truly not sure how that is supposed to work. You can also play online, but I was unable to connect to anyone. Probably release timing.
You can also customize the scenarios of levels by changing the enemies encountered, victory conditions, unit speech and several other options, but you cannot truly “edit” the level: you select a stage and modify encounters and triggers. You may also download other user-created levels, some of which I found to be extremely brutal.
Once their crew catches up with the tech I’m sure we will get a mind blowing Warriors title someday. Tecmo knows the series is great fun and a safe sale, so why not chuck a couple more dollars at the artists? Nonetheless, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is a strong buy for any series enthusiasts.