Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is one of the many third party launch ports for the Wii U. Mitchell McCausland dives into the abyss to figure out whether labelling it a “launch port” is an insult or not…
Hardware launches can be such a finicky thing, especially with the launch line up. Sometimes they are small yet significant, like the Nintendo 64, or they can be expansive yet uninspiring, like the Xbox 360. For the Wii U however, there was an extra level of excitement. Finally, a Nintendo platform that can handle the great wealth of HD third party titles! Nintendophiles won’t have to worry about missing out on the best multiplatform titles. True enough, the Wii U’s launch did bring the Nintendo world up to speed with some of the great third party franchises of this generation with the latest instalments arriving alongside the likes of NintendoLand and New Super Mario Bros. U.
Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper (WO3H) is not one of those games.
Despite the fact that this reviewer has never played a Dynasty Warriors game before, I knew to a degree what I was getting myself into. Famous warriors from the annals of Chinese and Japanese history are thrown together to fight off legions of demons and possessed warriors whilst a hydra threatens the existence of reality as feudal Japan/ancient China knows it. Each warrior has their own strengths and weaknesses, there is a focus on helping out fellow regiments as they battle demons and there is plenty of button mashing.
OK, WO3H plays like a typical action strategy Dynasty Warriors game would. While I am inexperienced in the series, after playing WO3H I would not wish my enemies to play any of Koei’s flagship series. It is a dull, monotonous affair riddled with poor UI, lazy level design, terrible storytelling, the animations that would have been woeful in 2002 and possibly the most unsatisfying game mechanics I have come across all year. Landscapes are copy and pasted all over each arena without any sense of variation or elevation. NPCs give out dull songs of praise after easily slaying the Bane-lookalike demon sergeant. Enemies swarm one’s line of vision using the same character model moving in a manner that makes the Dancing Baby look impressive.
Allow me to illustrate.
Imagine you are a lowly bank clerk at a major bank. Every day you come in dreading what is in store for you. The morning starts with the same dreary, never-ending meetings that run for too long without saying anything of worthy. You arrive at your desk to see an insurmountable pile of work in front of you with no end in sight. Each task is simple enough, however the tasks themselves are so uninspiring that they make torture seem reasonable. Once they are done the supervisor is required to sign off your work before you can clock off for the day. If there is one tiny mistake in your work you have to start from scratch, which sets you back a whole day’s worth of effort.
A poorly written allegory aside, one’s feelings towards WO3H are that of disdain. Perhaps I am just ignorant towards the context that the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series brings since this is my first time. Wait a minute – that should not matter! So what if I could not bring myself to finish the story? Yes, there is a wealth of characters and game modes contained in the title. Yet that means absolute squat to me. The core experience of WO3H is so pedestrian for a medium that relies on excitement, on pure entertainment (whatever form that may be), that it offends me. It offends me deeply. It baffles the mind that a series so borderline braindead as Dynasty Warriors/Samurai Warriors/Warriors Orochi could last so long without becoming fun, or dare I say, good.
Even the core experience of the Wii U, the Wii U controller, is used in the most unimaginative manner. Never is it used as a mini map for the units in battle or as an inventory manager; it merely shows what is on the screen in a lower resolution. That speaks volumes of the intent behind WO3H: sheer laziness. Nintendo should have been spared from this shockingly dire game; the Wii U does not need it.