|Genres||Beat 'em up|
Tecmo Koei (2009–present)
|Platform of origin||PlayStation|
|First release||Dynasty Warriors
February 28, 1997
|Latest release||Samurai Warriors 4
March 20, 2014
Dynasty Warriors: Gundam
Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War
Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage
Warriors: Legends of Troy
One Piece: Pirate Warriors
Dynasty Warriors (真・三國無双 Shin Sangokumusō?, literally translated as "True ・ Three Kingdoms Unrivalled") is a series of tactical action games created by Omega Force and Koei. The award-winning series is a spin-off of Koei's turn-based strategy Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, based loosely around the Chinese classical novel of the same name.
The first game titled Dynasty Warriors, Sangokumusō in Japan, is a fighting game and different from the rest of the series. All English titles are a number ahead of their Japanese counterparts due to the English localization of naming Shin Sangokumusō, a spin-off of the previously mentioned Sangokumusō game, as Dynasty Warriors 2.
The first Dynasty Warriors is a traditional one-on-one fighting game, released in 1997 for the PlayStation. Its gameplay style is reminiscent of Virtua Fighter and Tekken with the addition of weapons and some exotic moves.
The next game was released in Japan as Shin Sangokumusou. This game was released in other countries as Dynasty Warriors 2, leading to the discrepancy in title numbers. From this game onwards, the player chooses a playable character and plays a number of levels representing particular battles in the Three Kingdoms period, eventually defeating all other rival kingdoms and uniting China under a common ruler. In this game mode, known as "Musou Mode", the generals are usually chosen from one of the three kingdoms (Wu, Shu or Wei; however, from Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends onwards, independent generals were given full stories as well). Dynasty Warriors 3 has two secret characters, Nü Wa and Fu Xi, that are not playable in Musou Mode.
Dynasty Warriors 2, Dynasty Warriors 3, Dynasty Warriors 5 and Dynasty Warriors 6 have individual Musou Modes for each character. In Dynasty Warriors 4, Dynasty Warriors 7, and Dynasty Warriors 8, each of the Three Kingdoms have its Musou Mode, in which all characters from a particular kingdom will play the same mode. The stages are presented in a third-person view, with the camera set behind the player as they engage the enemy forces. Each scenario can have different win/lose conditions, but the common losing conditions (defeat of the commander-in-chief, health bar reaching zero and maximum time limit reached) still hold. As for the other characters not from either of the Three Kingdoms, their Musou story modes are purely fictional since in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, most or all of them were eliminated until only the Three Kingdoms were left.
In Dynasty Warriors 5, a relatively more realistic Musou Mode is introduced for each character. Instead of participating in the entire set of their kingdoms' events, the characters appear only in certain battles that they had fought in, as according to the novel or factual history. Therefore, characters will start at different points in time and they may never have opportunities to encounter some of the other characters (e.g.: Zhuge Liang will never meet Lü Bu or Dong Zhuo in his Musou Mode). In between stages there are some dramatic cutscenes, in which the character will express his/her thoughts on the situation, adding a more personal touch and keeping the player updated on the events. Besides, a character's Musou Mode may end before the unification of China at any point of time, stopping for most at their historical point of death. However, some characters such as the three founders may continue to participate in battles that occurred after their deaths (e.g.: Cao Cao appearing in Battle of Wuzhang Plains), representing an extended leadership under more successful circumstances.
Xtreme Legends and Empires
In 2002, an Xtreme Legends (Moushouden in Japan) expansion was first released for the main games, beginning with Dynasty Warriors 3. This expansion features new Musou Modes for the characters in the Other category as well as new stages, weapons, items, and modes. The Xtreme Legends expansion only have the new contents by its own, so players would require the original game disc and use the "Mixjoy" option to access all features. The following games would continue the tradition by having Xtreme Legends expansion, save for Dynasty Warriors 6. New characters were also added through the Xtreme Legends starting with Dynasty Warriors 7.
Beginning in 2004, another expansion line, titled Empires was first released for Dynasty Warriors 4. In Empires, the game would combine the action gameplay of the regular series with strategical and tactical elements from Koei's earlier series Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Unlike the Xtreme Legends, Empires did not require the original game disc to access all of its features as it is considered a unique game of its own. Again, the following games would continue having the Empires expansion, including Dynasty Warriors 6, which did not receive an Xtreme Legends expansion.
In 2004, Koei created the first Dynasty Warriors title for portable game handhelds, Dynasty Warriors, on PlayStation Portable, and in the following year, Dynasty Warriors Advance for Game Boy Advance. The sequel of the first PSP game, Dynasty Warriors Vol. 2 was released in 2006. In 2007, Koei released Dynasty Warriors DS: Fighter's Battle for the Nintendo DS. Another PSP game based on Dynasty Warriors 6, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce was released in 2009, which was followed up by a sequel, Shin Sangokumusō: Multi Raid 2 in 2010. A PlayStation Vita game Dynasty Warriors Next was released in 2011 as a launch title, and a Nintendo 3DS game, Shin Sangokumusō VS (真・三國無双 VS) was released in April 2012.
Other than titles specifically made for handhelds, select main Dynasty Warriors titles have also been ported to handhelds, all of which are only available in Japan. The PS2 version of Dynasty Warriors 6, Dynasty Warriors 6: Special was also ported to the PSP, which was soon followed by the Empires expansion in 2010. A port of Dynasty Warriors 7, Shin Sangokumusou 6: Special was released in 2011 for PSP, based on the Xtreme Legends expansion but without including the three new characters added for the expansion. A PS Vita port of Dynasty Warriors 8 was released in 2013, which includes features from the Xtreme Legends expansion for that game.
Dynasty Warriors 4: Hyper in 2005 is marked as the first DW game for the PC. Hyper was a port of Dynasty Warriors 4 for the PS2, and had harder AI, more enemies on screen and smoother textures.
In 2006, Dynasty Warriors BB (renamed Dynasty Warriors Online in 2007) was released as an online game. Next to Dynasty Warriors 4: Hyper, Dynasty Warriors 6 was released for PC. The PC port of Dynasty Warriors 7 with Extreme Legends was released on March 9, 2012.
The Dynasty Warriors game series, although referenced to factual people, is known for changing the traditional ways of how some of the historical characters were depicted in Romance of the Three Kingdoms or in historical records. For example, Zhang He appears to be more feminine while Wei Yan becomes a bestial tribal warrior. Some of them also wield weapons that are anachronistic, such as Ling Tong's Nunchaku and Sun Ce's Tonfas. A touch of mysticism is also added, as some characters such as Zhuge Liang, Sima Yi and Zuo Ci have the ability to use magic in their attacks. Female characters (except Zhurong and Wang Yi) who did not participate in any battles in the novel or in history are depicted as fearsome female warriors with exceptional fighting skills and weapons.
There are a total of 82 playable characters in the Dynasty Warriors game series as of the eighth Xtreme Legends installment. Four characters from the earlier installments were removed while an additional seven characters from the 48 characters in the fifth installment do not appear in Dynasty Warriors 6. Six of the removed characters make a come-back in Dynasty Warriors 7 and its expansion, with the remaining one being added in Dynasty Warriors 8. Each of these characters is armed with a weapon that may be a conventional historical one, an exotic martial arts weapon or a magical weapon that enhances his/her mystical powers. From Dynasty Warriors 3 onwards, each character can choose from a range of weapons with their own power-ups and ability enhancements, as well as higher-level weapons that extend his/her attack chain.
Following the success of Dynasty Warriors, Koei released Dynasty Tactics in 2002 and its sequel in the following year, focusing on strategy and tactics in the same Three Kingdoms setting.
Probably the third most recognized franchise of Koei, Samurai Warriors (Sengoku Musou in Japan) series, was introduced in 2004. Instead of the Three Kingdoms era, the series uses Japan's Sengoku period. As a result, the game's roster consists of characters from that era, while having a similar gameplay of Dynasty Warriors. The game would be followed by Samurai Warriors 2 in 2006, Samurai Warriors 3 in 2009, and Samurai Warriors 4 in 2014 as well as numerous other spin-off titles. As with the original series, Samurai Warriors also has the Xtreme Legends and Empires expansions, with the former beginning on the first game and the latter on the second game.
Other related titles include:
- Dynasty Warriors Mahjong (Jan Sangoku Musou in Japan), which is completely different from the rest of the series, as it has the same characters play the game of mahjong, rather than having the gameplay of the original games.
- Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (Gundam Musou in Japan) was released in 2007, combining the popular Gundam franchise with Dynasty Warriors gameplay. The game would be followed by three more sequels: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 released in 2008, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 3 in 2010, and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn in 2013, which also serves as a remake of the entire series.
- Warriors Orochi (Musou Orochi in Japan), released on 2007 crosses the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series to create a fictional crossover. The game introduces the three-man team and have a modified gameplay from both series. The game was followed by a direct sequel Warriors Orochi 2 (called Musou Orochi: Mao Sairin in Japan) which reuses the same gameplay of the original game with the focus on adding new stories. A compilation of the two games, Musou Orochi Z was released on 2009, thus far has not been brought overseas. The third game, Warriors Orochi 3, was released on 2011. The game had a different engine and gameplay than the first two games, and noticeably titled Musou Orochi 2 in Japan (as the second game is considered as an expansion to the first game). The third game would have several ports and updates that would expand on the content, including a port for PlayStation Portable and Wii U in 2012, and an Ultimate update in 2013.
- Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, based on the Hundred Years' War between England and France in the 14th and 15th century was also released in 2007, using gameplay similar to Koei's earlier Kessen series.
- Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage (Hokuto Musou in Japan), a spin-off based on the manga and anime series Fist of the North Star, was released in 2010. It is the first game in the Warriors series to receive an M rating by the ESRB, due to its faithful depiction of the manga's highly graphic and violent fight scenes. It was followed by a sequel, Fist of the North Star: Ken's Rage 2 (Shin Hokuto Musou in Japan) in 2012, which other than featuring a continuation of the first game's story with revamped gameplay, also serves as a remake of the first game. The sequel was made to celebrate the manga series' 30th anniversary.
- Warriors: Legends of Troy (Troy Musou in Japan), the second game in the Warriors series to receive an M rating by the ESRB, released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011.
- One Piece: Pirate Warriors (One Piece Kaizoku Musou in Japan), a game inspired by the anime and manga series One Piece was released in 2012 for PlayStation 3. Due to the success of the first game, it was followed by a sequel, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, released the following year in 2013, which features an original story instead of a continuation of the series' canon.
- Hyrule Warriors (Working Title), a game inspired by The Legend of Zelda video game franchise owned by Nintendo. The game is set for a release in 2014 exclusively for Wii U.
Many of the stages are recreations of notable battles in the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms periods, that are usually depicted in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There are also some original creations in the newer installments that are also historical, such as the battle between the Nanman and Wu. The following is a list of common stages featured in almost all the installments:
|184||The Yellow Turban Rebellion|
|187||Ou Xing's Rebellion|
|191||Battle of Sishui Gate|
|191||Battle of Hulao Gate|
|191||Battle of Xiangyang|
|194||Battle of Xu Province|
|197||Battle of Wan Castle|
|197||Battle of Jiangdong|
|198||Battle of Xiapi|
|200||Battle of Guandu|
|200||Battle of Xuchang|
|200||Guan Yu's escape|
|208||Battle of Xiakou|
|208||Battle of Changban|
|208||Battle of Chibi|
|211||Battle of Tong Gate|
|214||Battle of Chengdu|
|215||Battle of Yangping|
|215||Battle of Hefei|
|217||Battle of Ruxukou|
|219||Battle of Mount Dingjun|
|219||Battle of Fan Castle|
|222||Battle of Yiling|
|225||Conquest of Nanzhong|
|228||Battle of Jieting|
|228||Battle of Shiting|
|228||Battle of Tianshui|
|234||Battle of Baidi Castle|
|234||Battle of Hefei Castle|
|234||Battle of Wuzhang Plains|
The music for the Dynasty Warriors game series is a mixture of traditional Chinese instrumentals, hard rock and heavy metal. Most stages have their own exclusive music tracks played and the tracks change according to the battle situation or events. Lü Bu, the most powerful character in the game, has his own theme song.
Mispronunciation of names
The English voice-overs of the Dynasty Warriors game series is often criticized for the mispronunciation of Hanyu Pinyin names of characters and locations. For example, Cao Ren was mispronounced as "Cow Ren" instead of "Ts'ao-ren". However, in Dynasty Warriors 6 Cao Cao's name was correctly pronounced as Ts'ao Ts'ao, not Cow Cow. In Warriors Orochi and Warriors Orochi 2, "Cao Cao", "Cao Ren", and "Cao Pi" were all pronounced correctly. It was not until the release of Dynasty Warriors 7 that attempts were made to pronounce all names correctly. For example, Zhang He and Da Qiao were erroneously pronounced as "Jang Hay" and "Dah Kwee-ow" before. Now they are correctly spoken as "Jahng Huh" and "Dah Ch'yow" respectively.
- "EA Signs North American Distribution Agreement with Koei Corporation for Upcoming Tactical Action Game Samurai Warriors". GameZone. 2004-02-24. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
- Edge staff (February 12, 2008). "INTERVIEW: Defending Dynasty Warriors". Edge Online. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
- "Japan's Biggest Gaming Franchises – Games Feature at IGN". Games.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "Samurai Warriors 4 Targeted For February 2014 Release". July 26, 2012. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- Weekly Famitsu (in Japanese). October 15, 2009.
- Dynasty Warriors 3 – Name Pronunciation Guide – Game Guide by WayneTheGame
- Pronunciation | Names | Dynasty Warriors Character Guide
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