Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (PS4) Review

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that you never have to wait long for the next Dynasty Warriors game. 2014 had yet to see this franchise, so Koei remedied the situation by bringing Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition to the PlayStation 4 (and Vita). The series’ next gen debut combines the PlayStation 3’s base game with its Xtreme Legends expansion in a single package, along with other additions and alterations. Now you can really break in your new DualShock 4 controller and mash away at its buttons through this Romance of the Three Kingdoms-inspired title. But is it a mash-fest worth adding to your next gen collection? Let’s find out in our review of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition.

Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is the same tried and true formula we’ve seen time and time again with a few minor tweaks. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? That seems to be the motto tattooed on the brain of every developer over at Omega Force and, in this situation, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The game contains four modes: Story, Free, Ambition and Challenge. As nearly everyone who has ever touched the series (even just once) should know, the Story Mode revolves around notable clans Wei, Wu and Shu as they struggle for territorial dominance. Here is where you will find one of the most notable additions: Lu Bu’s campaign. Players can take on the role of this iconic character in his own storyline, which lasts a few hours. These few hours are packed with quality entertainment, especially as Lu Bu palms enemy faces and slams them into the ground as lightning erupts from his hands. Free Mode lets you carve a path of your choosing with whichever officer and stage you wish either offline (local co-op available) or online. Ambition mode acts as a watered down version of Empires, allowing you to capture territories and strategize from camp as you build your city. Lastly, there’s the Challenge Mode. This leaderboard-driven option offers multiple challenges, as the name implies, ranging from the fast-paced Speed Run to the timed bloodlust Rampage. Regardless of the selected game mode, expect to combo your way through thousands upon thousands of soldiers as you clear the battlefield and reach each objective.

The character selection for these modes has also seen a boost, with the character total now sitting at 82 thanks to the addition of five new combatants. These include Yu Jin, Zhu Ran, Fa Zheng, Chen Gong and Lu Lingqi. Fa Zheng’s “Hazy Reality Cloth” and Chen Gong’s “General’s Command Scroll” provide some truly unique playstyles, the latter allowing you to command troops to drop in and fight for you. The weapons wielded by each character now benefit from a second EX attack (if the character’s preferred weapon is being used) and the new Weapon Fusion system, a mechanic found in Omega Force’s crossover series Warriors Orochi. Weapon Fusion allows the combination of weapons to gain better attributes and effects, such as healing or elemental damage. Gems are the new currency used to take advantage of this feature and they require significant grinding to obtain. Building a weapon of mass destruction can be an engrossing process and addictive process. Having your dream sword by your virtual side will definitely come in handy when taking on the new difficulty level “Ultimate”. Depending on your desire to reach the new level cap of 150 (up from 99), you might find yourself dabbling in this punishing setting. Personally, I found the new “What If?” scenarios to be a bigger draw.

In terms of visual presentation, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition on the PS4 is easily the best looking entry in the series. That’s not to say that the game is visually impressive, however. While character models have been smoothed out and have been given a little extra detail, the game doesn’t carry that next gen feel in this department. Surprisingly low res textures can still be found throughout the game as well as the off-putting haze that distorts the background, robbing it of the lush detail we had hoped to see. At the very least, the Complete Edition runs smoother than its last gen counterpart and only sees a few hiccups here and there, which is commendable in its own regard given the vastly increased on-screen enemy count.

Maybe you’ve played Dynasty Warriors 8 on the PlayStation 3 and are currently wondering, “What’s in it for me?” The Complete Edition is compatible with any save data on the PS3. Both Xtreme Legends and Complete Edition-specific content await players on Sony’s next gen console, providing some incentive to purchase the game again and continue their one-man army adventure. If you happen to own a Vita, you can partake in the cross-save feature and pick up your Dynasty Warriors 8 campaign even when you find yourself away from home. The only downside is that this game is not a part of Sony’s cross-buy program, meaning you are forced to buy the same game twice if you want to swap saves back and forth between your console and handheld.

Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete Edition brings Omega Force’s long-running formula to Sony’s shiny new system in a comprehensive package. Newcomers and hardcore fans alike will find plenty to enjoy here, until the repetition inevitably becomes too tedious for all but the most dedicated. This isn’t the game you will pull out to show your friends what Sony’s sleek powerhouse is capable of, but that was never the intended selling point. The mindless annihilation of entire armies still manages to be an addictive, time-consuming endeavor. And sitting side by side with a friend for some good old fashioned couch co-op while you rack up a bodycount reaching quadruple digits is always welcome in a world where local play is becoming scarce. If you skipped Dynasty Warriors 8 or the Xtreme Legends expansion last year, the Complete Edition brings enticing new content that manages to provide an overall enjoyable experience despite its shortcomings.

[Editor’s Note: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition was reviewed on the PlayStation 4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]