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Warriors Orochi 2

I swear we’ve been here before. In fact, I’m almost sure of it. We’ve already reviewed this game; we did it last year – two reviews if my memory serves me right. Granted there’s a number at the end of the game title this time, but I’ve checked screenshots and videos all over the Internet and it’s the same game. It looks the same, sounds the same, and three minutes in – it still plays the same. Yes, we’ve already played this game before. I’m almost sure of it…

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I guess you’ve got to give Koei some credit I suppose. They’ve made a career out of repackaging and renaming the same game they made many years ago and remarkably, it still continues to find an audience that lap it up, much in the same way some gamers are chastised for doing so with sports games every year. Warriors Orochi wasn’t exactly a master-stroke in marketing really. Koei milked Dynasty Warriors until it was too sore and diluted to fool anyone anymore, so they moved onto Samurai Warriors – and when that ran its course, Koei decided why not just mash them both together and call it something else?

And that is essentially Warriors Orochi. Sorry – Warriors Orochi 2. It’s the same repetitive gameplay segregated into five separate story strands that are all as boring and convoluted as each other. The majority of cut scenes are delivered in the form of character stills with running text trying to at least justify why you’re about to kill the same enemy a good 500+ times over. Unfortunately, when the game does treat the player to FMV movies; the characters manage to look even more lifeless and wooden than their portrait.

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And this transfers into the actual gameplay that’s still stuck back in ten years-ago-land, seemingly never to escape. Once you’ve played one stage in Warriors Orochi 2, you have quite literally seen all that the game has to offer you. It’s the same task sugar coated in a differently worded mission objective that can be summed up as follows: kill loads of enemies; take control of certain points on the map; kill the main bad guy, and repeat this for a few hours until the game’s conclusion. And with sugar coating the running theme, once players have had enough of the story campaign, the exact same hack ‘n slashery awaits in a number of ‘different’ game modes such as Survival and Time Attack, which can be experienced with a friend in co-op if there’s someone in your life you really don’t like. The only variation comes from being able to level up your characters to take into battle as a team of three, swapping and changing weapons and abilities to find that balance between power, speed and technical prowess. Congratulations if you notice the difference these upgrades make as you hammer on the attack button repeatedly.

However, what makes this all so mundane is the complete absence of self-gratification gained from the combat. You’ll lay waste to silly amounts of people with over elaborate looking weapons and not once will you feel any sort of satisfaction. Enemies have the weight and feel of a piece of paper and they’ll collapse with one swipe before disappearing, only to have what must be their 70th cousin run in from out of nowhere to take his place. This is barely tolerable on its own, but it’s not aided by a slew of technical issues such as a truly abysmal draw distance and even worse, severe slowdown that brings the action to its knees making Warriors Orochi 2 damn near unplayable half the time. And with the constant droning of techno metal rock and characters screaming the same one liners over and over again, playing Warriors Orochi 2 can be a physically and mentally fatiguing experience. It’s all the more baffling because the visuals are barely last generation worthy, so what Koei had to cut down on to even get the game moving at low double figured frames per second is a very unnerving thought indeed.

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It amazes me how Koei can get away with releasing the same game every year, without even attempting to fix the problems that have plagued all their past entries. There’s nothing worth investing in here, and games like Warriors Orochi 2 not only have no place in this generation, they’re simply not acceptable anymore. Like a tired old dog that never even knew any good tricks in the first place, it’s about time Koei got out the shotgun and did us all a service.

2 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in May 2007.

Gentle persuasion

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