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Dynasty Warriors 5 PS2 Review - -

Gameplay 8.2
Graphics 8.8
Sound 7.4
Value 8.0
Distributor: THQ
Review Date:
July 2005
Andrew B


Dynasty Warriors 5

The fifth instalment of the legendary saga of Dynasty Warriors has finally arrived on the PlayStation 2 and once again reunites ancient Chinese mythology with awesome tactical action that can only be found in this series. The storyline behind Dynasty Warriors 5 is set in 200 A.D. and revolves around the struggles between three powerful warlords. If the storyline sounds familiar, than that is because it is based on the highly popular novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" that is steeped in Chinese mythology, heroics and action. 

Probably the most noticeable different in the current incarnation of Dynasty Warriors 5 is that the gameplay revolves around a more character driven storyline that not only allows for increased replay value but allows you to play a variety of different characters who all have different motives and battle techniques. The main drawcard of the game is the musou mode, which follows the exploits of your selected officer as he or she engages in specific battles that are loosely based on actual historical events.

Once a character is selected, the story unfolds through a combination of static pictures and voice narration that assists in drawing the player into the wondrous world of the "Romance of the three Kingdoms". The storyline also progresses nicely during the real-time battles that is assisted with various cutscenes and voice overs that allows the player to not only know what is happening on the battlefield but also the overall storyline. This method of storytelling is extremely vital, especially when there are literally hundreds of characters on screen at once, not only does it give the gamer a slight pause for them to catch their brief but it also allows them to rethink their tactics.

The battles in Dynasty Warriors 5 are quite simply phenomenal and fortunately the A.I. of the title assists in controlling none core characters, so you don't have to worry about every individual soldier in the game. The gamer also has access to a plethora of battle tactics that include quick charge attacks, fire arrows, initiate normal strikes and also special muso attacks that are extremely reminiscent of spells in Final Fantasy. Each character also has their own style of attack and to keep things fresh and interesting, characters can also discover new weaponry and equipment.

Dynasty Warriors 5 offers the gamer great replay value with multiple difficulty settings that influence the type and quality of items you can outfit your troops with. For example, playing on the harder difficulty levels can earn you special items such as collars or saddles, which let you fight alongside tigers or mount powerful horses. New weapons, 40-plus characters, and costume variants can be unlocked, and bodyguards can be equipped with different weapons to assist in healing, increase the chance for items to drop, or provide boosts in defence, attack power, and morale. There's also the excellent cooperative mode carried over from the last two games, a so-so challenge mode that has you performing various tasks within a time limit, and a free mode that lets you revisit battles to further develop officers and bodyguards.

Graphically, the visuals have improved since Dynasty Warriors 4 and probably the most noticeable difference is that the developers have managed to up the ante of how many enemies appear on screen at once without any major impact on gameplay. All the characters have been professionally designed that contain a  rather high polygon count that move with a human like grace and match that with some beautiful texture details and it's almost as if you have travelled back to ancient China.

Musically, Dynasty Warriors 5 features a very intense heavy metal sounding guitar riff that unfortunately doesn't mend too well with the storyline of the title. The game does feature some awesome sounding sound effects that go hand-in-hand with the storyline such as the sounds of spells, swords and death. The only other disappointing thing about the sound in Dynasty Warriors 5 is the sometimes flat and mediocre voice acting that almost starts to grow you on as the game continues.

In conclusion Dynasty Warriors 5 is a rather adept game that does take the franchise to another level of exciting realism that can only be gained from this series. With a beautiful game engine that is littered with wondrous graphics, a very engaging storyline (provided you like the mythology of ancient China) and a very sturdy gameplay mode that truly emerges the player into this entertaining series. Dynasty Warriors 5 is worth the admission price alone!


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