Developer(s) – Koei & Omega Force
Publisher(s) – Koei
Designer – Atsushi Ichiynangi
PEGI – 12
An early seventh generation title, as well as an extremely late sixth-generation title released on PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360, Warriors Orochi was yet another hack and slash tactical action game released by Koei Tecmo following their success with both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series. It introduced a level of variety that I’ve personally rarely seen in a video game of it’s kind and whilst I did find a handful of issues, I ended up having a lot of fun with it at the same time.
Graphics – 6/10
Conceptually, I found the visuals to be quite impressive. Unlike many other games of its kind, enemies seem to have a fair bit of uniqueness about them, as opposed to simply being recycled throughout the course of the game. The variety in main character design is also unprecedented, with each one flawlessly standing out from the other. A lot of what I found wrong with the graphics, however, is in the fact that some enemies can actually glitch out from time to time; especially in the first level. Whenever they flee in terror, some actually end up disappearing into thin air, which I found to be quite a big design flaw.
Gameplay – 7/10
Although at its core, it’s easy to look upon this game as simply being a button masher, the number of characters and mission also affords players a massive amount of variety, since each character also has their own style of combat and range of weapons, with many more to unlock as the game progresses. On top of that, there are also learnable abilities to unlock, giving the game an almost RPG feel to it, which I was even further pleasantly surprised to find. I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between this game and Hyrule Warriors, and whilst I find Hyrule Warriors to be the better game, largely by default since I am a huge fan of the Legend of Zelda series, and that it contained about as much variety, but in a much more creative way, Warriors Orochi still turned out to be a much more entertaining game than I initially anticipated.
Controls – 8/10
The worst thing I found with the controls was that they could be a little bit unresponsive at times; especially when playing with characters that use heavier weapons. It can sometimes be quite easy to come across some awkward camera angles when playing through levels that are set in buildings, such as the first level. But otherwise, I found no other issues with the controls. Apart from these few issues, it plays out as fluently as any other game that Koei Tecmo has developed employing the same style of play.
Lifespan – 8/10
As well as there is great abundance in gameplay variety, there is also great abundance in lifespan, with the game being able to last at least 30 hours. Replay value can be had in leveling up each individual character to the max, as well as playing through it with several different factions, in turn offering different perspectives on the plot of the game; similar to Sonic Adventures, but on an even bigger scale. It’s impressive to me how Koei Tecmo has been able to attach such longevity to a type of game that can be largely seen as repetitive. I’ve seen it in Hyrule Warriors, and I saw it again in Warriors Orochi.
Storyline – 6/10
The story of the game follows several different warring states of both China and Japan as the serpent king Orochi creates a rift in time and space, which brings warriors from both sides together. Orochi wishes to simply test their might, as characters from each faction eventually band together to finally confront the serpent king. The concept of the story is very exciting, as well as different from that of many other games like it that Koei Tecmo has released, but a big problem, at least to me, was how terrible the voice acting is. Some would argue that this adds to the game’s charm, but I’ve always found that bad voice acting in video games, in general, does nothing more than mar down the entire experience. Given the choice, I would much prefer to read the dialogue, similar to classic Final Fantasy games, than to have to listen to sup-bar voiceover work.
Originality – 6/10
This type of game had been replicated many times beforehand by Koei Tecmo and has been replicated many times again ever since, with Warriors Orochi alone spawning two sequels, but the increased variety in gameplay, as well as the story concept, served to at least keep it fresh in comparison with every other game of its own kind. Although in Japan, this style of play has seemed to become as popular in the same sense that Call of Duty is popular, how the developers can simply release more of the same without much innovation, it’s easy to see how the idea has caught on, and why Nintendo would want to have implemented it for themselves with Hyrule Warriors; it’s addictive and can make for something special when its put into the right hands.
In summation, Warriors Orochi, while having its fair share of flaws, is a particularly enjoyable game. Although the voice acting is by no means up to scratch, I need to commend Koei Tecmo for focusing on the aspect that truly matters; the gameplay.