Technical issues hinder a well-rounded game
Dynasty Warriors 8 once again carries the same tried and tested hack 'n' slash formula that has served it well since the turn of the century, and you'd be foolish to expect any game mechanics have been drastically altered with this new release.
The recipe may be familiar, but Dynasty Warriors 8 skillfully addresses fan criticisms in the most engaging, well-rounded entry in the series to date - although it isn't without its issues.
The developer has done its best to alleviate the repetition of its simple combat systems, giving each character a preferred weapon that conveys an attack bonus and a unique attack triggered by a simple combo.
The second weapon they carry into battle can be selected from a generous array of alternatives that only increases the longer you play and the more officers you beat. While in the past it's been all too easy to stick with the same weapon type, here you're actively encouraged to switch during battle thanks to a new affinity mechanic: for Heaven, Earth, and Man (read: rock, paper, scissors).
Deliver repeated attacks to opposing officers holding a weaker weapon type and you can launch into an unstoppable flurry of blows that not only looks great, but rapidly drains your rival's health bar - and usually takes out any nearby troops into the bargain. It's this kind of original thought that makes a sequel in such a long series feel more like a stand-alone title than something closer to an expansion pack, something we've seen in previous iterations.
Unfortunately, if your aren't a fan of Dynasty Warriors, then you are unlikely to be swayed by this title. Granted, there are plenty of die hard fans of this title, but to anybody it may feel like an incredibly huge mass of unfortunately average content.
Also, If you have any intention of following the plot, you should probably brush up on your Three Kingdoms lore. The uninitiated will find the story incredibly dense, with countless characters to keep track of; unfortunately, the subtitle-driven exposition between levels does little to clear things up.
Buyer beware: Dynasty Warriors 8 has its fair share of technical hiccups, like glitchy lighting or texture pop-in, which only hinder the experience on PS3.
The 360 version is an entirely different story–it's nearly ruined by massive amounts of slowdown, where the frame rate plunges into molasses-like sluggishness if the action on the screen gets too intense. If you're a 360 owner on the fence about Dynasty Warriors 8, you should spend your money elsewhere.