Koei Tecmo and Omega Force’s 21-year-old Dynasty Warriors series has never been a series known to step outside its comfort zone, but Dynasty Warriors 9 is not your typical Dynasty Warriors game. For the first time, the developers have retired the tried-and-true segmented mission structure in favor of a large, open-world map with missions, points of interest, and random activities scattered sparsely about. But if this is the vision of what a modern Dynasty Warriors game is, then I’d prefer a flashback to the series’ more focused and co-op friendly past instead.
Combat in Dynasty Warriors 9 is its simplest joy, and at its height it’s like a ballet of beautiful, high-flying violence. I’ve shot tornadoes out of swords that wrecked an entire battlefield, juggling dozens of enemies in the air. I’ve rained ice and fire from the sky with the point of my finger. I’ve even created a vortex of electric storms that erupted all around me during a flurry of sword slashes. The shouts of enemies in agony, my allies supporting me, and the sounds of my attacks rampaging through the battlefield meld together with the rocking soundtrack.