|Genres||Beat 'em up|
Tecmo Koei (2009–present)
|Platform of origin||PlayStation|
|First release||Dynasty Warriors
February 28, 1997
|Latest release||Dynasty Warriors 8
February 28, 2013
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 , Shin Sangokumusou in Japan, literally translated as "True - Unrivaled in the Three Kingdoms") is a series of tactical action video 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.
Main series 
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 3, Dynasty Warriors 5 and Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce have individual Musou Modes for each character. In Dynasty Warriors 2, Dynasty Warriors 4, and Dynasty Warriors 7, 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 on 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.
Portable games 
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. In 2007, Koei released Dynasty Warriors DS: Fighter's Battle for the Nintendo DS. A PlayStation Vita game Dynasty Warriors Next was released in 2011 as a launch title, and a Nintendo 3DS game, Dynasty Warriors Vs. was released in 2012.
PC games 
Dynasty Warriors 4: Hyper in 2005 is marked as the first DW game for the PC. 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 Sun Shang Xiang, Zhu Rong 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 70 playable characters in the Dynasty Warriors game series as of the seventh empires 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. 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 Warring States 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 and Samurai Warriors 3 in 2009 as well as numerous other spin-off titles. The fourth game had been recently announced to be released on 2014 to commemorate the franchise's 10th anniversary. As with the original series, Samurai Warriors also has the Xtreme Legends and Empires expansion, 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.
- 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).
- 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 Musō (北斗無双), a spin-off based on the manga and anime series Fist of the North Star, was released in 2010.
- Warriors: Legends of Troy, the second game in the series to receive an M rating by the ESRB, released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011.
- One Piece: Pirate Warriors, a game inspired by the anime and manga series One Piece was released in 2012.
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 purely fictional, 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 Si Shui Gate|
|191||Battle of Hu Lao Gate|
|191||Battle of Xiang Yang|
|197||Battle of Wan Castle|
|197||Battle of Jiang Dong|
|198||Battle of Xia Pi|
|200||Battle of Guan Du|
|200||Battle of Xu Chang|
|200||Guan Yu's escape|
|208||Battle of Xia Kou|
|208||Battle of Chang Ban|
|208||Battle of Chi Bi|
|211||Battle of Tong Gate|
|214||Battle of Cheng Du|
|215||Battle of Yang Ping|
|215||Battle of He Fei|
|219||Battle of Mount Ding Jun|
|219||Battle of Fan Castle|
|222||Battle of Yi Ling|
|225||Conquest of Nan Zhong|
|228||Battle of Jie Ting|
|228||Battle of Shi Ting|
|234||Battle of He Fei Castle|
|234||Battle of Wu Zhang 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 "Ki-ao-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. Or Lü Bu pronounced Lu Bu instead of Li Bu. 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 K'yow" 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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