I did it. I bought Dynasty Warriors 8. Not sure why, but I got caught up in hype. Well, sort of. I didn't watch the videos, didn't read reviews, didn't shtup a cos-player, I just saw an ad and thought "O. M. G!!!"
I hadn't been excited about a Dynasty Warriors game like that since 7, and I was only excited about 7 because of the old new combat system.
And yet, there I was.
So, my buddy J. and I cracked it open, skipped a few cutscenes, and started playing.
And went "whoa!".
I hadn't done that with a Dynasty Warriors game since 4. Kid you not. And I actually already knew about the features.
So, for those of you who have missed my many posts about the Warriors series by Koei, Dynasty Warriors takes place during the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries, called the Three Kingdoms Era. It's largely based on a (wicked) 15th century novel (or pair of volumes here in the West) called Romance of the Three Kingdoms, although I think Koei is also starting to add in a more historically authentic flair to the games, as it now seems to be favoring Wei instead of Shu. Romance of the Three Kingdoms favors Shu.
The gameplay is a combination of tactical action and mob-slaughter combat (no gore, though), where you take your chosen combatant and kick the crap our of thousands of peons and jumping from objective to objective to finish the battle.
The battles themselves are based on historic encounters, although Dynasty Warriors 8 has also thrown alternate scenarios into the mix based on how a battle might have gone if certain individuals hadn't died before their time, which certainly adds a nice layer of storytelling depth.
The 77 (yes, 77) characters all progress as well, with a level system that unlocks more attacks in their combo strings as well as special abilities and improved weapon skills. Each character also has their own weapon which the specialise in (although while you carry two into battle, neither has to be the one your character favours), and the weapons have an affinity that corresponds to an opposing element in a triad; Heaven, Earth and Man.
If you have a weapon that has an affinity weaker than your enemy's, you can do a special counter attack, and if your weapon affinity is superior, you'll perform a special finisher after x amount of hits. It's simple, but that's also what creates those "whoa" moments.
The game also has modes up the tuches, so there's lots of replay. I'm certainly looking forward to the Free Mode, so that I can play battles from multiple perspectives.
Koei has done an absolutely stellar job in bringing all of the elements in the series together that people really like, and so far, I have to say, it definitely doesn't suck.