Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate - Kingdom Come (Game Review)
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Developer: Koei Tecmo, Omega Force
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch
Genre: Hack n Slash
I've heard and played Dynasty Warriors, thinking that Omega Force mostly worked on Dynasty Warriors with small other titles on the sideline. Little did I know, they also had Samurai Warriors, Dragon Quest Heroes and Toukiden 2 among other slew of different IPs. Koei Tecmo, owner of Omega, also owns Team Ninja, the guys who are heralded as the creators of Dear or Alive, Ninja Gaidan and currently new title, Ni-oh.
Became aware of this title after a rerelease update was announced. So this is basically a year and half old game that just got a bigger update. Bigger and better? That question lingers the more I think about it since barely anybody is playing this game at all. All I can say is after skipping through so many Warriors titles, playing this sure reminded of the good times and also had me catch up to how far the series has progressed.
Though this isn't by far the best they could offer, no they still have make crappy Dynasty Warriors installments. Yet WO4 has things that make it stand out pretty well from the rest or least try to.
Right after WO3 ended, most of the Samurai Warriors characters return to their timeline. However, they get flipped back into the fold right after Zeus tampers with great powers after creating these bracelets called The Ouroboros. Wielding so much power, one of the gods of Olympus, Perseus decides to steal them away from Zeus, giving it to the mortals thus ensuing a long fight to set things back to normal.
Right, this is a cross-over game so it'll need weird reasons for having to do so. The main story isn't bad per say, if you're into historical figures and mythical beings fighting against one another, this is your cup of tea. It doesn't also end there, there's, well, typical Japanese stuff like comradery, witty dialogue, anecdotal jargon and then some other nonsense for levity.
Though the plot wasn't of much interest to me, I found it nicely packed with so many characters, each of their stories being told while intertwined with each other's path in different worlds. Though to be quite honest, I got a little bored with afterward, but I can say fans will enjoy this since there are some things they pull off with the story like plot twists that really shifts the tone of the game in a ridiculous fashion.
This is a Warriors game, after all, so the story is not something you take very seriously. Yet that's not the only thing that holds it back for me.
The single-player in this game is the one with the most content, as you'll mostly 14hrs of armada smashing fun. Playing the mode you unlock characters after progressing through the story, though if you want special ones, they're locked behind side objectives.
Here's why people played DW in the first place, it's the hack n slash that allows you to pummel various group of enemies with the focus on increasing your combo meter to the thousands, there aren't exactly good incentives to try out sick moves with your main weapons and honestly I don't know what else to say besides the fact that you mostly beat the crap out of your enemies and do the whole loop over and over.
But...the quality lies within the roster of its characters, with the new update, the roster is now upto 177 different characters from all the Warriors games including Ryu from Ninja Gaiden. Each of them has different attacks, abilities, and stats. While yes, the attack move commands are always the same for everyone, their attacks aren't. You have normal attacks and charge attacks which you input together for different attack moves (combos), the only way to find out is to try each of the characters you have unlocked in training. Then there's the musou attack (special attack), which unleashes your big combo chain attack against surround enemies. Though this has limited use as it'll suck up your musou gauge.
Then there's the magic attacks, by holding the left shoulder button (Xbox controller), your attacks have shifted from physical to magic attacks. Normal magic, which will use a small amount of your magic gauge subdues the enemies with little damage. Charge magic attacks are special type that will consume all magic mana when it is full, this will also reset your combo meter. But interesting enough, the amount of damage your magic abilities does is based on your combo. Getting over 1000x means you can maximize your potential damage from these attacks. Then there's your unique magic attacks, these are the special, special types that eats up your magic mana and half of musou bar.
And the last bit is your team ultimate. Once your mana and musou bar is full, press both trigger buttons to unleash a fiery of devastation with an aoe effect that decimates your foes around you.
After each battle, you get rewards like gems and weapons. Gems are what you use for only buying upgrades for your entire roster in camp. Whereas weapons you earn, each character gets a set of them, holding upto 20 each. Holding a more powerful weapon makes it easier to fight against multiple foes, especially the officers. Weapons can be fused with different elements with various attributes that boost their stats. The third currency is crystals, which you use to purchase weapons and are earned from side quests mostly, though this part echoes the issue that this currency is sort of useless at times.
You earn your character experience during fights depending on how you fight enemies, finishing battles get you growth points. Which you could use to spend on increasing your character's level. Higher-level means increased stats, making them stronger. They even have skills which you can unlock.
There's plenty to do in the story mode, though I wouldn't hold my breath when it comes to getting the most joy out of it since after half of Chapter 2, the mission structure mostly stays the same and the game slumps to lousy tedium involving just wrecking troops and their officers. Base captains guard the next path, then another encounter and then base captain, rinse and repeat till you battle the final character that happens to be the leader of the enemy encounter. That's it.
While it's fun to progress through the game, unlocking loads of interesting playable heroes, you're constantly forcing yourself to finish the mission without it having many variations, as if the mission structures were made to cater towards children. Warriors Orochi 3 is actually considered to be the much better alternative from 4 since this iteration failed to improve much of the gameplay from its predecessor.
Now there are other modes to play, Battle Arena is for online which pits you against different players in the same map. With different objectives of course. Then there's Challenge and Infinite Mode, you got access to the first while Infinite is only unlocked once you've finished the campaign upto chapter 5. That last bit really is disappointing to read since you can't stay hooked to the game playing the mundane campaign mode, even though I'll admit, playing the characters were fun. But hey, at least it has split-screen or online co-op for single-player.
I have little to say about the online Battle Arena mode, it is because the playerbase is non-existent. As in there's nobody playing the game online. Battle Arena is this barebones mode where you fight against other players while capturing camps, it's basically a stronghold mode but that's as far as it'll somehow go. Very disappointing to say the least.
Visually, WO4 is a good looking game. That's it, though it has invincible walls that makes me question as it why it bothered to look like a modern AAA game when it doesn't somehow play like one. The animation looks modernistic enough, sort of. I mean am impressed by how they've perfected the design of multiple enemies flying off or being slashed with multiple combos mid-air. That must be a generation leap. Character movements though live quite a lot to be desired. The in-game cutscenes seem well shot, but I don't believe that alone could even save the game from its shortcomings.
The game just runs fine, albeit demanding even though it doesn't seem like a game that requires beefy hardware to run looking at the graphics alone.
The audio design and music are just terrible, it feels and sounds the same from older 7th gen games or even beyond that. I don't know how they thought they could get away with shipping a AAA game with crappy sound. Also there's no English dub, imagine playing a Warriors game while having to read the dialogue during combat, that is just annoying, like really annoying.
When I said earlier that it reminded me of the good times and how much the series has progressed? I meant both in negative connotation. The game is just half-baked release of a AAA game catering to mostly the fans of the games and not even delivering well on all aspects. The online multiplayer is dead, I don't believe even the new ultimate update will save this game.
It's disappointing where Koei Tecmo is now as a company, their new Dead or Alive games aren't as great or popular as their previous iterations. No new Ninja Gaiden releases for the past of years and what they've had to show for taking care of their older loyal fanbase are crappy games. I mean they could survive with new IPs but that'll only take them so far. Am giving this game a strong poor rating.
Edit: After the fact, I forgot to mention that the ultimate upgrade path costs half price of the game, which isn't worth it and should have been free in the first place considering what they did with the original version. Only applies to those who bought the game much earlier before the rerelease.