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[ Writer ] = BAD
[ 11/11/08 ] = DWPSPRev.

When I put the PSP revision of Dynasty Warriors on my top ten list of 2005, a lot of people were probably thinking, "what's wrong with this fool?!" Amidst bad reviews, this game came out and wasn't appreciated as much as it should have been. The game isn't perfect by any means, but a game doesn't have to be perfect to be appreciated, right? A game just has to have that charm, and this game has just that! No, serious; it's a good game!

Ever since the game came out, there was something that attracted me to it. At the time, I worked at a game store, and people were too busy playing dogshit like "NFS" to notice it. The few people I told about it liked it, but that was nothing against the sway magazines have on what people purchase. The main thing I stress about DW isn't the depth that everyone else who likes the series stresses, but the fun factor. In the case of DW, fun factor equates to crushing hundreds of bad guys. At any given time, the "K.O." counter can reach into the triple digits, and that is what I call fun!





The game is essentially a melding of DW4 and DW4 Empires. Stages have been cut into parts (as in DW4E), and you can choose what parts you want to fight in. When made DW4E based on this system, it made the game unique because never before had something like that been put into a game like DW. That is, a system used primarily in strategy games mixed into a side-scrolling action game. I think the system works especially well in the PSP revision of DW. Why? Because it saves me the hassle of having to run all the way across the goddamn stage with nothing to do on the way. One of my qualms with DW3XL was the amount of running. I think that the system they implemented into the PSP revision can best be described as "efficient." I use that term because you can go form battle to battle without all the boring running in-between. Koei managed to make two opposite ends of the spectrum meet by breaking the stages into segments while simultaneously making the experience seamless. Seamless because unlike the boring treks between areas (as in the other entries), you can take care of business (like changes, healing, etc.) during the breaks between areas. Again, much more productive in keeping the player "playing," and pleasing for those who want change-ups in the gameplay. Lots of leveling-up should keep whiners busy, as well.

Troop acquisition was one of the main additions made to DW4 Empires, and in this version it has been retained in the form of bodyguard acquisition. It is important, but sometimes it seems that no matter how strong your bodyguards are, you can still lose long battles to allies folding under pressure. In the reviews I read, this is one aspect of the game that should be been held against it, but rarely is. I say this simply because it brings down the fun factor and heightens frustration (since Koei is stingy with EXP points when you fail a mission).









Visual anomolies like disappearing dudes, pop-up, and jittery models have also been carried over. The media was quick to judge this game solely upon pop-up in paticular, which really don't hold much air, since it has been an issue in the DW series virtually since its conception. Anyone who has played Koei's games knows that it's just how their games are made, period. It's like knowing that the world we live in is controlled by a handful of "elite" families; you don't like the fact, but you live it. Enemy number is another criticism the game was judged on, and sure, there are not as many dudes on the screen as DW4 or DW4 Empires, but the explanation there lies in the size of the screen. You can only fit so many dudes at once on a portable screen, right? As in the previous games, fights can still be seen raging all throughout the battlefield amidst sprawling fortresses and strongholds. And yes, all the standard DW4 effects are there, from the blinding sparks (of locked swords), to the orange glare (cast from fire) that makes it difficult to see who's who. On another visual side-note, the position of the lifebars and K.O. counter have been moved to the top of the screen, with the enemy lifebar now at the bottom, and field data on the right.

Slowdown is another thing the game was bashed for, but it's actually pretty cool! It makes fighting seem like something out of The Matrix with all this cool stuff happening in slow-mo. However, this version of DW faces a new problem with origins that date back to even the earliest entries in the series. As in its predecessors, jittery models have been carried over and have depreciated into occasional break-up. It's not like it interferes with gameplay, but it's a flaw that's hard not to notice. The cheap, unpredictable difficulty, however, does interfere with gameplay (bringing an otherwise consistent fun pace to an abrupt stop). You may play a single battle over and over, never fully understanding why your failure (even after you clear it).



All the heavy riffs, groans, and sounds of clashing metal are just as you remember them in the other versions of DW4. There could be some new and/or remixed tracks, but I'm not a big-enough DW freak to notice if there are. The intro cinematic sequence looks different, if I remember right. Like DW4E, a lot of the stuff Koei crammed into DW4XL to make it the ultimate package didn't make it to this version. Still a robust package, nonetheless, even scaled-down. DW3XL is one of my favorite entries in the series. So, how does this entry stand up to it? Pretty well (considering this is the fourth version of DW4), but I really have a soft-spot for DW3XL. Fans will definitely want to have this to complete their collection, though, ultimately because it is different-enough to warrant purchase and play.