Dynasty Warriors 9 is gonna be so weird! The marketing machine has been revving up for a while but within the past week two noteworthy things happened. First, Koei Tecmo America confirmed the game for the U.S. on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. No date has been set but it’s always nice to hear that we won’t have to try and import a new installment.
Second is the release of the latest trailer which shows much more of the actual gameplay. Up to now it’s been a lot of tightly edited clips with no on-screen display but finally we get to see the game in action. The major change from previous entries in the series is the promise of an open world. Before, you would carry out preset missions with remixed targets, obstacles, and objectives on a handful of maps. While it’s easy to dream up something like Dynasty-Warriors-meets-Far-Cry, the reality is looking to land on the well-worn DW side. But that’s not say I am at all disappointed by what I’ve seen so far.
While major battles look pretty much the same — your larger-than-life hero cuts through throngs of idle fodder with dazzling combo strings, working to take over a territory — this latest video reveals some unexpected variety. Somewhat like Red Dead Redemption or Grand Theft Auto V, random side missions seemingly pop up as you’re criss-crossing the landscape. You may be on your way to a battle when a nearby enemy messenger triggers a sudden chase. Or you may stumble across a supply convoy that will make future battles easier if you can wipe it out.
The new footage also shows off something I never thought I’d see in a Dynasty Warriors game: stealth. It’s all in Japanese so I can’t tell you the specifics but seeing fabled tyrant-ruler Cao Cao creeping through the grass and Metal Gear style exclamations pop up over the heads of suspicious soldiers looks absurd and delightful. Stealth can also apparently be used to sneak up on (or sneak away from?) animal encounters. The series has had battle-ready tigers and pandas for years but the latest PR copy implies they’ll be out in the world doing their own thing, probably waiting for you to collect 10 or more of their hides for a side quest.
The series is no stranger to RPG leveling, weapon and armor forging, and item crafting. None of that has been shown yet for Dynasty Warriors 9 but given the large scale of the world, the hub towns, and the item drops seen in the video, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of it. Just a few other random sightings from the footage: grappling hooks for scaling castle walls, a bow and arrow for every character with a bunch of different arrow types, exploding casks to shoot with those arrows, air dashes and wall jumps, riverboats for traversing waterways, realtime day/night lighting, troop commands, and glorious slow-mo! Oh, and naturally there’s thrashing guitar rock.
I’ll be back with more when an official date is announced or another worthwhile trailer is released. For now, I’m already fighting the urge to go back to the last entry we picked up or try to power through DW: Strikeforce again. Check out the official site for more screenshots and character art.