Dynasty Warriors 9 – Review
Follow Genre: Hack 'n Slash, Open world
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: KOEI TECMO
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: PC

Dynasty Warriors 9 – Review

Site Score
Good: Easy accessible hack and slash gameplay
Bad: Flattening ambition with repetitive gameplay, badly integrated story and open world experiment
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Dynasty Warriors has been with us for already about eighteen years. Divided by two that’s an average of one game every two years. The ninth game in the series has come out, and the popular hack ‘n slash series gets another addition about the Three Kingdoms in China, dating from 184 to 234 A.D. After such a long time, has anything changed for the better or is the series losing its touch?

Dynasty warriors 9 logo flat


The story is split up into different characters who often fight side by side, divided over a couple of chapters. The game wants you to replay these chapters to play with the other characters, but it won’t really change any of your gameplay. Every part you play gets introduced like a history lesson about rebellions, such as the yellow turban rebellion, or grasps for power from separate factions and generals who have a big ambition to leave their mark in ancient China. These main story cinematics are there at the start of each chapter, but in-game you don’t find a lot of this information back at all. Most of the time you run from point A to B, cutting down resistance and trying to find some different ”boss” the story introduced. However rich the research for this game might have been or how much effort there has been put in creating playable characters from the China of old (there are 90 different ones!), the story is not a big part of the game at all. If you would leave it out, it wouldn’t change that much.

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There are a couple of graphical elements that shoot in all directions in terms of quality. As an example, when raining, the old cities you wander about look lively and very tight. Fighting also looks slick and each weapon you want to equip your character with brings along different fighting styles, making sure there is some graphic variation as well. The cinematics though, are rather rough. Most conversations look as bland as a puppet theater with three people standing in a circle talking to each other. There just is little cinematic choreography, making any conversation more of a read than something to watch. Another bad point is that basically, every element in the world looks almost the same. You could easily divide everything made into Capital cities, small bases, trees, and collectibles. And that’s about it! Especially for the open world element that’s introduced, everything around you looks generic and repetitive.

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Ok, firstly something has to be said about the voice acting. Depending on what mood you are in, various voices can be hilariously bad or just cringeworthy. Not all, but often it’s like a couple of friends got together with a microphone, trying to parody some characters. This type of quirky behavior isn’t too unknown for these games, but together with some serious voices, it’s a weird combination.

The background music is proper and well made, as well as the sound effects. In quiet parts like cities, there is something representing traditional Chinese music to be heard. During fights and many other occasions (you are basically always in a fight), there is upbeat rock music to bring you the power to slay you ferocious hilariously sounding enemies.


Now, as soon as you start playing, the game might seem a little overwhelming. Craft this, run there, smash that. But since it’s a hack ‘n slash, basically the goal is to smash everything. You get a chance to play one of the many characters you can unlock during your gameplay, equip them with crafted or bought weapons, and do some side-quests and resource gathering. Besides this, you can go hunting (you can use a bow in this hack ‘n slash) and fishing for either sports and fame or more resources.

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The problem is that most of these activities, like the graphics, seem rather generic and flat. It’s like a pale copy of a sandbox game. The main quests are pretty much the same and just add some distance between point A and B before you can complete them. Spending time with side-quests doesn’t seem natural due to the nature of the hack ‘n slash gameplay, and cover pretty much the same as well. Collect a certain amount of resources or kill a certain enemy, it all boils down to the same substance.

A positive side is that the open world map brings you a large strategic look on what’s going on everywhere, giving the sense of real-time strategic action because the A.I makes choices for itself as well. As a consequence, certain bases might suddenly be under attack by the enemy or by friendly A.I trying to conquer more ground. You and your hero are free to charge in wherever you want and make a decisive strike versus whatever enemy might be currently present. But.. this is pretty much the entire game. And for most people, this won’t be enough to keep them entertained for a long time. Especially since even though you can change weapons, the amount of combos and skills you have at your disposal is rather limited. There have been better hack ‘n slash games with conquering-objectives-gameplay in the past. Even in the Dynasty Warriors series itself.

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Even though Dynasty Warriors 9 might be compelling enough to entertain yourself smashing waves of enemies for a little bit of time, the lack of depth and proper execution in a sandbox-like hack ‘n slash game is killing the mood quite fast. Long-term fans and newcomers alike might just not want to pick this one up.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Dynasty Warriors 9 - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

I'm a game designer, developer, and reviewer. I've been reviewing for 3rd-strike.com since 2017.


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