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Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition Review - Lu Butiful

Jim Sterling | 25 Mar 2014 13:00
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A new difficulty mode, Ultimate, has been thrown into the mix as well, though frankly I don't find it much fun at all. All it does is ramp up the damage output and defense of enemies to a ludicrous degree, even moreso than DW8's already silly Chaos difficulty did. Archers, especially, absolutely ruin the experience, their overpowered projectiles able to shred you to pieces before you can get a single attack in. Still, thanks to a new level cap of 150, not to mention Weapon Fusion, Chaos difficulty at least feels like a playable challenge.

Weapon Fusion has been taken from the Warriors Orochi series, allowing players to transfer the abilities of one weapon to another. This allows you to craft an incredibly powerful armament, taking great boosts found on random weapons and stacking them on something you want, eventually building something that can restore health with every enemy you kill, dish out lightning, poison, or fire damage, slow opponents with each hit, or deal damage back onto attackers who hit you. You can even change your weapon's alignment, or strengthen its base attack output.

I love messing around with Weapon Fusion, though I'm a bit disappointed that it requires a new currency, gems, in order to be used. This wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that gems are acquired by grinding in Ambition mode and unobtainable anywhere else. With battles giving up between 50 and 100 gems, and a simple +1 attack costing 500 of the buggers, it can take some time to get the blade of your dreams.

There are lots of other little things, too. Some of the combat has been tweaked, with characters getting one additional EX attack if using their preferred weapon, and the ability to trigger "Storm Rush" on weakened opponents more easily. Up to three bodyguards can also be brought into battle in Ambition and Free mode, though using playable characters in this fashion requires a high Leadership level - another thing that requires grinding in Ambition mode. There are now six-star rated weapons, powerful unique items obtained by performing secret objectives on certain maps. These are generally stronger from a basic standpoint, but fused regular weapons can easily cause them to be outclassed thanks to far more useful abilities than the six-star's unchangeable pre-set boosts.

Rounding out the new content is Challenge mode, which resurrects some special game types found in previous installments. These challenges include Bridge Melee (knock enemies off a bridge to score points), Rampage (score as many kills as possible in a time limit), Speed Run (run, speedily), Arena (an endurance boss rush), and Inferno, which is kind of like rampage but featuring explosions. All these challenges boast online leaderboards.

Graphically, one can easily see the difference between the PS4 and PS3 versions, with the PlayStation 4 able to render an obscene amount of characters on-screen at once. Superior anti-aliasing is a godsend as well, with playable generals appearing far smoother than before. There is an odd visual effect that's been added, however, which renders background characters in a hazy, blurry fashion. One gets used to it, but it's initially quite jarring to the eyes.

The series' biggest nemesis, visual slowdown, is unfortunately yet to be conquered. During the most intense battles, the framerate chokes and the action slows to a crawl. It only happens in the most clogged up of arenas, but when it happens, it happens pretty damn hard. Even with this recurring problem, however, the sheer amount of stuff on screen is impressive.

Xtreme Legends boasts a cross-save feature with the PlayStation Vita version, which is itself a remarkable bit of software. Though not as silky looking as the PS4 version, the handheld alternative still boasts all the content, and presents every map and battle in full scale. It can't render as many opponents on-screen, and suffers from soldiers popping in and out of existence, but it still looks damn good - even if the map is so tiny on the screen as to require squinting. Slowdown is a little more frequent here, but not overwhelmingly so, and overall it's great to have a proper Dynasty Warriors game on the Vita, rather than the jumped up tech demo that was DW Next.

It's a real shame - and a greedy shame to boot - that cross-buy is not supported. Being able to upload and download save data between the PS4 and PS Vita versions is pretty damn awesome, and I've had fun switching between the two in order to keep the game going wherever I may be. In order to take advantage of this, however, you'll be expected to buy the game twice, and as cool as cross-save is, it's not that cool.

Whichever version you end up getting, however, Complete Edition is well worth picking up, even if you've already played DW8 - in fact, you can download your PS3 save data to retain all your progress. Xtreme Legends adds a wealth of new content, which is mixed sufficiently into the existing stuff, to breathe plenty of fresh life into the whole thing, while new gameplay balancing and leveling features give you more to do with your favorite warriors.

Bottom Line: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is equally great on PS4 and Vita, full of new stuff to do, and introducing some of the best characters to debut in the series. It's a great way to reincentivize the most enjoyable Warriors game since DW3, and it looks suitably pretty to boot.

Recommendation: As with most Dynasty Warriors games, you either love it or hate it, and you know which way you swing by now. If you love it, this is a most definite yes from a fellow fan. If you hate it ... well, you are an object of pity in mine heart.

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