These days, publisher Koei Tecmo is all but forced to shove its Warriors games onto handheld consoles. With portable devices ruling the Japanese market, it makes perfectly logical sense, and what kind of musou fan would turn down the opportunity to wreck thousands of enemies on a small screen from the comfort of a seat on the bus?
It also helps that, like Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate supports cross-save functionality, meaning that you can flip between consoles depending on your situation. It's a feature that works especially well with meaty Warriors titles, as you can jump into a quick battle or two on the go in order to level up a few characters or find some loot, and then head back home and see the fruits of your efforts come alive on the big screen.
And Ultimate really is meaty. In our review of the PlayStation 4 version – which should be given a read if you're looking for details on what the game actually is – we praised its staggering amount of content, which is completed by a hefty amount of optional gameplay modes to enjoy. With over 100 playable fighters to level up and experiment with as you form your favourite team of three warriors, it's probably a good job that you can grind through some of the experience while you're on the move, or relaxing away from your home console.
As such, the Vita version of the release acts as a fantastic companion to its PS4 counterpart. If you're lucky enough to own both of Sony's machines, then it's certainly something that you'll appreciate after a few uses – you just have to remember to upload your save data to the cloud after every session, lest you end up reloading an old and obsolete file.
Unfortunately for our oriental heroes, though, it's not all good news. While the handheld edition of Ultimate can, er, ultimately stand on its own, it's definitely not a full-blown alternative to the home console version, mostly due to its technical performance.
The PS4's already home to two Warriors releases, and in both cases, it's clear that the hardware's power affects gameplay in a positive way, as it's able to render sprawling battlefields and hundreds of troops on screen with little effort. Dynasty Warriors 8: Complete Edition's Vita port wasn't quite able to replicate the absolutely heaving warzones of its home console counterpart, but it could at least provide an impressive draw distance – something that Ultimate sadly doesn't accomplish.
Here, you'll soon find that foes and allies alike pop into existence far too frequently, making combat feel a bit disjointed as you're unable to satisfyingly slice through the demon hordes as you would on the PS4. Draw distance issues don't ruin the experience entirely, but they will make you yearn to jump back into the battlefields of the silky smooth home console version.
Thankfully, the title is saved by the sheer volume of content that it has on offer, and its typically accessible but satisfying gameplay. It's a release that'll have most fans glued to their Vita, with the game's gauntlet mode suiting portable play particularly well, as you hack your way through enemy infested dungeons and grind for precious weapons and currency.
If you're a Vita-only gamer, then Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate should provide you with hours upon hours of enjoyable hack and slash content. However, if you own the game on the PS4, you'll likely find it difficult to become fully engrossed in the handheld release due to its poor draw distance. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition still holds the portable Warriors crown, then, but the soul of a great PS4 musou title can still be found alive and well here.