Monday, March 16, 2020.
by Adam Dileva

WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate Box art A Musou game is one where you’re put into an open map and simply need to hack and slash your way through hundreds of enemies. It’s not going to challenge you with puzzles or have an engaging narrative, but it’s mindless fun. The best known Musou games are most likely the Dynasty Warriors series. They’ve been around for about two decades and have more than a dozen different iterations and sequels over the years, so they’ve clearly gathered a following over all that time. While I’ve played a handful of them over the years, none of them really gathered my attention long term, as I found the gameplay to be quite repetitive and basic. With the new release of WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate, I was curious to see just how much the core gameplay has changed and evolved since the last time I picked up a Musou title. Turns out, not all that much.

What you usually look for in a Warriors game is killing near endless enemies with just a few simple button presses. WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate does this and more. With nearly 200 characters to choose from, all of which are unique in their own fighting styles and attacks, there’s a ton of content within to keep you busy for quite some time as long as you can deal with the monotony and repetitiveness of the mission structure that doesn’t seem to have changed all that much in the past decade.

Warriors games tend to have a grand story, and while there’s a lot of dialogue, they’ve never been able to hook me, this title included. While there are some quick tooltips that explain events of the previous game, there’s little done to catch you up on what’s happened thus far in the series. Maybe it’s the massive amount of characters that I found confusing, or that much of the story is given through dialogue before, after and during gameplay, but I just found it hard to follow who was who and most importantly, why.

This Ultimate edition adds a whole new chapter that takes place at the end of the regular WARRIORS OROCHI 4, which many fans felt like the original ending fell flat. Luckily this is remedied, but it’s still a slog to get through the campaign’s first couple chapters even if you’re trying to be quick about it. Given some more background and expanding on events that happened in the base game is a welcome bonus, but every story mission is going to be the same flow of running around, killing enemies and waiting for doors to open as characters talk to one another.

So if you’ve played WARRIORS OROCHI 4 already, you’re probably wondering if upgrading to the Ultimate Edition (purchasable separately for original owners) is worth it and what’s actually included. Turns out, quite a lot has been added in the Ultimate edition. First off, there’s a handful of new noteworthy characters to choose from: Gaia, Yang Jian, Achilles, Hades, Joan of Arc, and the one that had me most excited, Ryu Hayabusa. All of these characters are quite significant, so it’s great to see them finally included in Ultimate.

As noted above, you’ll get a new chapter that takes place after the original ending, expanding upon events and adding sub-scenarios to flesh out the story even further. Newly added are Infinity and Challenge modes as well. These add more missions and ways to grind and level your characters. Interestingly, you’re now able to swap Sacred Treasures out with other characters, allowing you to customize them even further, making for some unique combinations and strengthening your play style.

You’re also able to utilize a reincarnation system, allowing you to reset and re-level your characters with bonuses, much like prestige ranks in other games. Doing so for all characters will take some serious commitment, but for the hardcore and faithful, there’s something to strive towards. Some minor updates have gone into making the menus easier to navigate, especially when searching through the mass amount of characters. A good majority of the Ultimate add-on is meant for end game grinding and improving your characters and teams even further, but for a price.

For those that haven’t played a Warriors game before, you control a team of three characters that categorize into different class types. You begin with only a handful but will eventually have more than you’ll know what to do with. While I appreciate the massive amount of playable characters, it eventually gets to a point of being overwhelming, and even testing out each character is going to take some time, so prepare for some long gaming sessions if you want to get the most out of it.

The majority of the game can easily be beaten if you find a character you like and spam the same attacks repeatedly. What is new is the introduction of the Magic system, tied to which Sacred Treasure is equipped. In the beginning it allows you to cast a couple of different magical abilities, almost like a special move, but as you begin to understand the systems further, especially when many enemies start to become immune to regular attacks, it’s a welcome addition to the standard Musou formula that has become a little stale over time. There are even new additional Musou attacks that everyone gets, much like a super move, which is how you can wreak some real havoc in the thick of battle.

While the Warrior games have always had a lot of content, it’s always been very generic and repetitive. Sure, the core formula hasn’t changed much, but the additions that the Ultimate edition has added are some welcome changes overall. The main issue is that it feels as though all of these additions and changes should have simply been a game update, but instead, you are forced to pay for these ‘fixes’, and it’s not cheap either.

If you already own WARRIORS OROCHI 4, it will cost you over $50 CAD to upgrade to Ultimate over the base price of the game itself. To make matters worse, that doesn’t even include the Season Pass content either. Granted, WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate is priced like a regular new release, it’s really the original owners that get screwed over the most by the pricing. Factor in that most of the content is meant for post-game and grinding, it’s truly only the hardcore that are going to make the most use out of the additions.

For newcomers, WARRIORS OROCHI 4 Ultimate is easy to recommend if you simply want a mindless button masher, enjoy killing thousands of enemies with ease, don’t mind outdated graphics and repetitive missions and audio. There’s not much thinking involved unless you’re trying to follow along with the narrative and keep track of the insane amount of characters, but generally gamers that play Musou’s know what they are getting into. If you’ve ever played a Dynasty Warriors in the past, you’ll also know what you’re exactly signing up for, albeit with a ton more content this time around.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 5.0 / 10


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