Warriors Orochi 2 looks rather impressive on paper. With ninety-six playable characters, five separate story campaigns, and a bevy of additional modes – one can’t help but be intrigued. Unfortunately, none of these features matter when the game simply isn’t any fun to play.
Regardless of the numbers of characters at the player’s disposal, or the level of depth in the admittedly deep character and weapon customization systems, the core gameplay mechanics behind Orochi 2 are bland, repetitive, and frustrating.
It’s been years since I played a Dynasty Warriors title – my last experience with the series was on a demo disk for the PS2, and I was disappointed to discover that the franchise hasn’t evolved much since I last laid eyes on it. The core gameplay still revolves around button mashing your way through hordes of mindless, helpless, and altogether joyless enemies while attempting to complete some arbitrary task whose meaning and method of completion is usually unclear.
This lack of clarity is arguably the largest proponent of the game’s frustrating nature. I would often be ten to fifteen minutes into one of the many lifeless missions when I would be notified of my defeat – not because my character was killed, but because an NPC (whom I didn’t even know existed) managed to escape the battlefield. Further fueling my rage was the realization that my failure resulted in the sacrifice of all the experience and items I’d gained during that mission. Never before have I been more tempted to launch my PSP across the room.
After a bit of arthritis inducing trial an error however, I was able to complete a series of missions and discover that the advertised depth isn’t entirely fictional. Each of the ninety-six characters can be leveled up and customized with weapons and abilities. Furthermore, as a character progresses in level, their abilities really do flesh out and become somewhat enjoyable to utilize. For example, one character can use an attack to distribute small energy mines throughout the battlefield. Performing a separate combo will detonate each mine, and damage nearby enemies. Attacks such as these become more powerful as the character levels up, providing additional attacks, combos, and special moves.
Furthermore, the game allows you to enter a battle with three characters, and “tag” between them at any time. Characters on the bench will regain health and energy, and can also be utilized to perform powerful combo attacks on the enemy. This on-the-fly rotation allows for a bit of variety in one’s button mashing.
Presentation wise, Orochi 2 ranges from unimpressive to repulsive. Environment designs bring new meaning to the term “bland”, and are unforgivable even by portable game standards. The draw distance is severely limited, and character models – though often well animated – are far from detailed. Summing it all is the completely uninspired audio, including laughable voiceovers, repetitive combat sounds, and some ear splitting techno-rock that feels entirely out of place.
In addition to the story campaigns, Orochi 2 boasts the availability of Free Mode and Dream Mode. The first of which allows the player to participate in any scenario with their choice of characters. The latter consists of forty additional scenarios which showcase some wacky character match-ups that one “could only dream of” . Co-op is available in each of these modes, and a Vs Mode is also available.
It’s difficult to recommend Orochi 2 to anyone but a die-hard fan of the series. Those familiar with the franchise will likely get a kick out of the ludicrous number of playable characters and deep character development – but to a series newcomer like myself, these boons were far from enough for me to overlook this title’s glaring flaws.
Downright bland environments coupled with a short draw distance make this title an eyesore. In addition, the character models leave much to be desired.
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Orochi 2 consists of repetitive button mashing through hordes of enemies who care hardly be bothered to fight back. An intriguing character development system is buried beneath this mess, but it's hardly worth the dig.
This title contains some of the worst music I've ever heard in a video game. Furthermore, the voiceover work is laughable and the combat noises are repetitive and uninspired.
Fans of the series will enjoy the sheer magnitude of content, including 96 playable characters, 5 seperate campaigns, and multiple gameplay modes: including ad hoc co-op and Verus.
Warriors Orochi 2 might provide some entertainment to long-time fans of the series, but newcomers should steer clear: there's little enjoyment to be found in this title.