Warriors Orochi 4 feels like it was developed on a shoestring budget. It cuts corners everywhere, from the removal of several game modes that were in previous titles, to the the fact that 95 per cent of the game's story is told through static character portraits and text boxes. However, after the dismal open world structure of Dynasty Warriors 9, Warriors Orochi 4 at least plays like a proper Warriors title, and in that sense, it's good to be back.
Speaking of Dynasty Warriors 9, this latest release probably has a lot more to do with it than Koei Tecmo would like to admit. The timing of Warriors Orochi 4's official reveal was telling, as is the game's return to traditional Warriors-style gameplay. This is a product that's meant to wash away the aftertaste of Dynasty Warriors 9. It's almost an apology, but it's an apology that the publisher didn't want to spend much money making.
For those totally out of the loop, the Warriors Orochi series is all about mashing Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors together. A dumb plot involving time travel and godlike beings acts as an excuse to throw every character from both properties into one game, and so we're left with truly gigantic playable rosters and character interactions straight out of Warriors fan fiction. Looking at it with a cynical eye, Warriors Orochi has always been a convenient way to reuse assets, but between staple gameplay mechanics like character switching and having more room for creative freedom than its history-based counterparts, the series has carved out its own deserved space in the Warriors spectrum.
Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate in particular is a great Warriors title. Bursting at the seams with game modes, playable characters, stages, and secrets, it really is the 'ultimate' Warriors Orochi experience, and it's a game that unfortunately casts a large shadow over the efforts, or lack thereof, of Warriors Orochi 4. By comparison, this sequel feels stripped back and basic, offering just about the bare minimum that you'd expect of the franchise.
The story mode is where you'll be spending most of your time, and it consists of over 50 levels. It's lengthy but linear, doing away with the alternate routes and stories of previous Orochi games, which always added a welcome layer of character-based intrigue. The plot, as mentioned, is dumb and certainly predictable, but it mostly gets the job done. It strings together each scenario with simplistic storytelling, and the game tries to give every character a line or two.
As the campaign progresses the battlefields get more and more crowded. Latter levels see you go up against thousands upon thousands of foes, and it's here that the game shines. Without question, Warriors titles are at their best when they hold nothing back, fully embracing the 'one versus one thousand' ethos that has defined them for so long. When you're tearing through whole armies, weaving special attacks into combos and switching characters just at the right time so that the action never stops, Warriors Orochi 4 is a blast. It certainly hasn't lost that fluid, satisfying edge that the series is known for.
Adding to that sense of all-conquering power is the newly introduced magic system. Each fighter has their own set of magical attacks that can be linked into standard combos, and most of them are devastatingly effective and totally over the top. From giant, flaming boars that you can summon in an instant to unleashing bolts of heavenly light upon your aggressors, magic brings a fantastical tone to the title that goes over well.
But it's everything outside of the immediate combat that lets the game down. There's no longer a hub that you can explore in story mode, and so everything takes place within one big menu. At its best it's cumbersome, and at its worst it's a headache-inducing mess. You steadily unlock features as the plot progresses, allowing you to fuse weapons and unlock bonus character skills, but every menu is buried beneath another menu, every option is hidden behind an additional button press. By the end of the game you'll have unlocked over 170 playable characters, and with these menus, keeping them organised is far, far harder than it has to be.
With enough hours pumped into the game we can look past clunky menus, but there's no excuse for an uncapped frame rate that constantly struggles to hit 60 frames per second. The drops aren't too noticeable when you're neck-deep in combo chains, but stray from combat and you'll come face to face with consistent choppiness. It's just not good enough, not in 2018, and not when your product still looks like a PS3 game.
It's now strange to think that Koei Tecmo was on a roll when this generation started. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, Samurai Warriors 4, and One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 all set the bar for Warriors games going forward, but the overall quality has fallen off a cliff since. Warriors All-Stars and Dynasty Warriors 9 represent mismanaged and misguided output, and while Warriors Orochi 4 doesn't quite hit those lows, it still manages to be the weakest Warriors Orochi title yet.
Warriors Orochi 4 is a disappointingly cheap sequel. Stripped back and basic, it feels like a quick and easy apology aimed at fans who were left disgruntled by the dire Dynasty Warriors 9. There's still enjoyment to be found here, with the series' trademark action holding strong, but poor presentation and unstable performance drag the experience down. Koei Tecmo really needs to get its Warriors games back on track, but until that happens, you're better off nabbing the far superior Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate.
If anyone has any questions feel free to @ me.
Warriors games really do seem.to.be getting worse as time goes on, well plenty of better games out and coming out to worry about this , will wait for it to hit the bargain bin.
@ShogunRok How do you guys choose who's gonna review a certain game? I mean, you can be lucky and have to review a masterpiece, but what when you have to play a disappointing game for hours and hours just to search for some bit of fun?
@ShogunRok You're the only critic with the guts to tell it like it is.
@ShogunRok How is the performance in split-screen mode?
I haven't played these games since he PS2 days i stopped at DW3 and SW 1
I bet the rest of the game will exist as ridiculous amounts of DLC; it always does with Koei Tecmo.
@Spectra Surely you're joking right? That and Hyrule Warriors we're their best ones in recent years.
I was hoping this would be a good one. Did they just put all their good warrior game making talent into Switch titles? Fire Emblem Warriors is great so is Hyrule Warriors. I hope Omega Force hasn't lost their mojo.
"weakest Warriors Orochi title"
I honestly can't believe that. How could it possibly be weaker than WARRIORS OROCHI 2 (Musō Orochi: Rebirth of the Demon Lord), which was savaged by Western critics? That entry literally was an expansion pack posing as a sequel.
I really wanted to play it but if it runs so bad i will leave it.
and around $500 of dlc i bet usual koei cash grab
@andreoni79 A bunch of different factors feed into our decision. So the first and probably most important is that we try to review games that we're at least interested in. So I always review the Warriors games because I've always been a fan of the series and I have a history of playing it. Same with fighting games in general and Japanese RPGs. So we try to stick to our individual tastes.
With that in mind we never go into a game looking to bash it or anything. Ideally we want to enjoy every game we review, but obviously that's not the reality of the job. Like with this review for Warriors Orochi 4, I wanted it to be great, but as a longtime Warriors fan I've been left disappointed.
Our actual process for deciding who reviews what is pretty casual, really. We just talk it out and decide who's the best fit for each game.
@HungryWolf Weirdly enough, I found the split-screen performance to be mostly the same as the single player performance. Didn't notice a difference in frame rate, but the draw distance does take a hit at times if there's a lot going on. Enemies will just phase into existence and things like that.
@legalstep I think it's more a case of licensed games like Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors, and Dragon Quest Heroes having bigger budgets and support from the parent companies. You can really tell that recent original games like Warriors All-Stars and now Warriors Orochi 4 haven't had nearly the same amount of time or budget fed into them.
I really wished for a better review(er). It says missing game modes, mentions that story is the main mode but doesn't neglect that there are others but no word of them. Also it says it's lazy but if they have done 170 new over the top magic skills I would not call it like that. Just feels lacking, like quickly done. Tastes differ and you have a right for your opinion but from a professional that earns money with it the review, for me, feels "average" as well and should have been more fleshed out, especially with that score. Anyway, thanks for your effort but, for me, not helpful
Koei tecmo are a joke, they'll probably close in the next few months, garbage. They keep posting profits but I smell BS.
@Melistrius Well, win some lose some.
It's disappointing that this game isn't better. I've not played a Warriors game since one of the PS2 Dynasty Warriors games, so I would have been quite tempted to get back to the series if this game was excellent.
@crimsontadpoles There are other really good Warriors games on PS4 if you're looking to give them a shot. Cheaper than this, too. Well worth looking around if you're interested.
"Shoestring budget." Couldnt have said it better myself. It does feel the game was scrapped together in a few short months after dw9's disappointment.
a disappointing and even crappy review. You compare this game to Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate and DW8EX:CE but you forget WO3 was the THIRD release of the same game of course it was crammed with features. Same with DW8XL:CE it was not the vanilla release. Warriors Orochi 4 is not basic or bare bones, it has hours of content for fans of the series. I am pretty sure there will be an "ultimate" re-release of WO4 that has more content, it's just how it is with many games, there is always a better/definitive edition later on. Again, to call this game 'cheap' seems weird, it brings some new gameplay mechanics, a record 170 playable characters and is at LEAST a 'very good' 7/10 game.
@boudi1989 I think the review sums up why it feels cheap. Could try reading it again.
Great review. I was expecting a lower score based on trailers. It looks like a ps3 game at best. Some of the backgrounds look even closer to ps2 quality. That's too bad I was hoping for a graphic boost finally.
@ShogunRok No I don't need to read the review again. maybe you should write a better review? you criticized the game for not having a hub but mentioned one piece pirate warriors 3 as an example of good warriors game when OP did not have a hub either. You are like many of the critics of the warriors series, you always review the series harshly. 5/10 is a BS score and that's all there is to it. Sorry if I upset you, that is what I think.
@boudi1989 I've been reviewing Warriors games since I started writing for Push Square, and I don't think this one is very good. The review tells you all you need to know.
Sorry you disagree, but when people bring up things in the comments section that I've already explained in the review itself, there's not much more I can do.
You said it yourself in your first comment, games like WO3U have more stuff, and that's exactly what I'm getting at. It may be a re-released version, but if it's a significantly better game (which I believe it is) then why would you spend $60 on WO4?
And it's not the general lack of a hub that's the issue. Again, the review explains. WO3 had a hub that added so much to the game in terms of character interactions and now it's gone, and again, like the review says, it's been replaced with an absolutely awful menu that's a total pain to navigate.
I think all of my criticisms are right there in the review, and it certainly reads like a 5/10.
Hi. Your review was prophetic. I just got the game yesterday. My impressions are paralleling your assesment so far. Yeah the product does feel cheap. Like many other players, I'm used to the fact Omega Force loves to recycle assets. But this feels like it was hastily slapped together and comes off like a budget title. Theres no opening FMV which is never a good sign. The camp system has been replaced with bland menus. There are almost no hit effects in combat, making it less visually appealing and tougher to see if I'm making contact with an enemy. The still portraits are a step backwards from the minimally animated conversations from previous WARRIORS titles, etc. We know Omega Force can do better...we've seen them do better.
It's a shame because I like a lot of ideas in the game such as the magic and deity systems. But with a crossover game which recycles a lot of assets, presentation does go a long way in giving it it's own identity. MARVEL vs. CAPCOM 2 is highly memorable partly because of its wacky presentation, despite Capcom recycling several character models from previous fighters. In this regard, I think WARRIORS ALL STARS was more successful.
Still I don't think it's a "weaker" entry than WARRIORS OROCHI 2 (Musou OROCHI Rebirth in Japan). Taken as a sequel as it was released in the West, that game was almost indistinguishable from its predecessor. It really was an expansion pack masquerading as a sequel. WO4 at least sets the foundation for a next Gen crossover (with respect to WARRIORS games). Feel free to disagree with me on that point though.
Nonetheless I think the rest of your critique is on target. Had I known before I would have thought twice about preordering the game.
@cormacmacart Ah, that's a shame. Despite what people might think none of us like writing low-scoring reviews. I've been a fan of Warriors games since Dynasty Warriors 3, but I think that just makes games like Warriors Orochi 4 that much more disappointing.
Fair enough about your thoughts on Warriors Orochi 2, I just remember having a great time with it. Maybe they'll build on Warriors Orochi 4 in future and deliver a better overall game. I'm also hoping the next Samurai Warriors isn't rushed or, perhaps even worse, changed dramatically like Dynasty Warriors 9.
Anyway, yeah, it sucks when you've been looking forward to a game (and even preordered it) and it's just not that good. Hopefully you can still have some fun with it, though.
Thanks for the reply
" Despite what people might think none of us like writing low-scoring reviews. I've been a fan of Warriors games since Dynasty Warriors 3, but I think that just makes games like Warriors Orochi 4 that much more disappointing."
Oh I am totally on board with you there. I've argued about this with acquaintances who buy into this false belief that most low reviews are simply written out of some kind of gleeful malevolence. That's absurd for several reasons. Off the top of my head: first of all, even if you give the game a low score, you're still giving the game publicity meaning you're still helping the company which produced it. Second of all, harsh critique in good faith is HEALTHY. You're investing in an honest evaluation that consumers can use to make better purchasing decisions and you're also letting the developers know where they can improve in the future. That helps everyone. Third, Roger Ebert once said something to the effect of "I don't consider my opinions to be the final word...I consider them to be the beginning of discourse." A critical review OPENS the door for conversation; it doesn't shut it. That's why you have a comments section. That's why you multiple blogs/websites with different authors.
The key phrase here is "in good faith". I don't doubt there are vindictive reviewers out there. However if you're using your platform to slander others or launch personal attacks then you're not doing your job. I just honestly don't see a lot of that.
"Fair enough about your thoughts on Warriors Orochi 2, I just remember having a great time with it. Maybe they'll build on Warriors Orochi 4 in future and deliver a better overall game. I'm also hoping the next Samurai Warriors isn't rushed or, perhaps even worse, changed dramatically like Dynasty Warriors 9."
I guess I can understand if you played it under the right circumstances. For me there's a dark aura that hangs around WO2. Iirc when it was released in 2008 it was the most critically reviled WARRIORS title in the West to date. Even ignoring the negativity, I thought it was so similar to the first game that I could barely even make a distinction. Seriously the two conflate in my mind (was that cutscene from #1 or #2??) I really think...had the game been marketed as an XL expansion and at a lower price point, it would have gotten more appreciation. Likewise in that context...I can see what you mean. It was really the marketing thats the issue.
"Anyway, yeah, it sucks when you've been looking forward to a game (and even preordered it) and it's just not that good. Hopefully you can still have some fun with it, though."
Thanks! I mean...that's part of the cost of preordering: going in blind. I cant complain too much. Might as well make the best of it. Besides persistence is key for finishing any video game, even the great ones.
Like you, here's hoping the next one will be a hit (hint KT: take inspiration from DW3!!! )
Anyways, I know youre busy so Ill let you go. Keep up the good work and I will tune in when the next WARRIORS game hits the stands.
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