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Dynasty Warriors (真・三國無双 Shin Sangokumusō, "True ・ Three Kingdoms Unrivalled") is a series of hack and slash action video games created by Omega Force and Koei. The series is a spin-off of Koei's turn-based strategy Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, based loosely around the Chinese historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms, from which it derives its name in Japanese.
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.
|2000||Dynasty Warriors 2|
|2001||Dynasty Warriors 3|
|2003||Dynasty Warriors 4|
|2005||Dynasty Warriors 5|
|2007||Dynasty Warriors 6|
|2011||Dynasty Warriors 7|
|2013||Dynasty Warriors 8|
|2018||Dynasty Warriors 9|
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 has its own Musou Mode, which all characters from a particular kingdom would play. 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.
In Dynasty Warriors 8, an "if" route is added for each country. By fulfilling conditions in previous battles, the player can unlock a hypothetical route for each country where it manages to achieve what it failed to do in actual history. For example, the player can help Wei avoid defeat in the battle of Chibi and unite China with all Wei characters alive.
Dynasty Warriors 9 sought to introduce an "open world" style of gameplay. However, it was relatively poorly received.
Xtreme Legends and Empires
In 2002, an Xtreme Legends (猛将伝 Mōshōden) 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. Later, in 2015, the Empires expansion of Dynasty Warriors 8 was also released on the PS Vita, notably also compatible with the PlayStation TV.
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. As of January 10, 2014 Aeria Games shut down the servers for Dynasty Warriors Online in America. Next to Dynasty Warriors 4: Hyper, Dynasty Warriors 5 Special was released for PC in 2006, Dynasty Warriors 6 was released for PC in 2008. Also Samurai Warriors 2 released in 2009. The PC port of Dynasty Warriors 7 with Extreme Legends was released on March 9, 2012.
Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends - Definitive Edition released on Steam on December 6, 2018.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends - Complete Edition released on Steam on May 13, 2014.
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, while historical accounts depict both to be relatively normal generals with no outstanding characteristics such as these. 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.
A total of 96 characters have been made playable at some point in the series (not counting spin-offs); however, only 94 currently make mainstay appearances as of Dynasty Warriors 9. 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 onward, each character can choose from a range of weapons with his/her 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 gameplay similar to that 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.
A tactical role-playing game, Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers was announced on April 5, 2016 with a Japanese release date in 2016 for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. It will be the series' first strategy RPG, featuring a turn-based system and a world map. The game will also completely deviate from history by introducing a completely new story line involving fictitious mystical elements, with Zhao Yun as the main protagonist.
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 in 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 in 2009, thus far has not been brought overseas. The third game, Warriors Orochi 3, was released in 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. A fourth game titled Warriors Orochi 4 (released in Japan as Musou Orochi 3) was released September 27th 2018.
- 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. The game was followed by two sequels, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2, released the following year in 2013, which features an original story instead of a continuation of the series' canon, and One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, released in 2015 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in addition to the PS3 and PC.
- Hyrule Warriors (Zelda Musou in Japan), a game inspired by The Legend of Zelda video game franchise owned by Nintendo. The game was released in 2014 exclusively for the Wii U. An enhanced port for Nintendo 3DS featuring additional characters and story content, Hyrule Warriors Legends, was released in 2016, with the additional characters and future downloadable content also releasing on the Wii U version. Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition was released on the Nintendo Switch in 2018, with all the features and downloadable content from previous versions of the game.
- Arslan: The Warriors of Legend (Arslan Senki x Musou in Japan), a game inspired by The Heroic Legend of Arslan fantasy novel series by Yoshiki Tanaka. It was based on the 2015 anime television adaptation sponsored by Koei Tecmo, which in turn is based on the 2013 manga adaptation by Hiromu Arakawa. It was released on October 1, 2015 for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. An Xbox One version was released as well, but only in Europe and North America. Arslan was released February 10, 2016 on Steam for PC.
- Berserk and the Band of the Hawk (Berserk Musou in Japan), a game inspired by the Berserk manga series. It was released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in Japan on October 27, 2016. The game is confirmed for a western release, which was revealed at Tokyo Game Show 2016 as February 21, 2017. A European release date for February 24, 2017 was also announced. The PlayStation 3 version will not release outside Japan and a PC version is in development for a simultaneous release with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita versions on the western markets. It is the fourth Warriors title to be rated M.
- Warriors All-Stars, a game based similar to the Warriors Orochi series featuring characters from various Koei Tecmo franchises such as Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, Toukiden and Atelier. The game was released in Japan on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in March 30, 2017; an English release was released on August 29, 2017.
- Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers, is a tactical game with new and old characters, that was released on February 1, 2017.
- Fire Emblem Warriors, a pseudo-crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Nintendo's Fire Emblem series, was released for the Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS September 27, 2017.
In January 2018, the president of Koei Tecmo, Hisashi Koinuma, mentioned it in the press that he wanted to make plans on making new pseudo-crossover Dynasty Warriors with the Star Wars franchise from Lucasfilm as their next crossover focus after they managed to made success with Nioh and Fire Emblem Warriors. Koinuma choose Star Wars Warriors title for something that they wanted to bring a particular Sci-Fi universe for the Warriors franchise. But, with the rights from Electronic Arts with the Star Wars: Battlefront series happened in 2013, Koei Tecmo still wanted to make a Star Wars crossover with Warriors happen for the future.
A live action film based on the game series was announced in March 2016. It will be produced by Hong Kong-based China 3D, written by Christine To and directed by Roy Hin Yeung Chow, and is scheduled to be released in China, Hong Kong, and Macau in 2019.
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 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.
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- DYNASTY WARRIORS 7: Xtreme Legends - Definitive Edition on Steam
- DYNASTY WARRIORS 8: Xtreme Legends - Complete Edition on Steam
- DYNASTY WARRIORS 8: Empires on Steam
- DYNASTY WARRIORS 9 on Steam
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