Tecmo Koei is not known for rapidly changing the formula of its long-standing Dynasty Warriors franchise. The publisher is, however, listening to its loyal fan base and continues to tweak and refine with every new entry, based on what its fans want.
In Xtreme Legends, the development team has focused on introducing a more narrative-based approach to the game and bringing environments and their inhabitants to life. Each time you undertake a quest, you are placed in the Resident's Castle, a derelict city which you are tasked with redeveloping as you progress through the campaign. Littered throughout the town are soldiers, merchants, blacksmiths, and other characters who can provide items for your character or just offer information about the game's plot. Running around the map we saw a much more bolstered environment before heading into the hack-and-slash action, with a more role-playing game slant. This offers a nice respite between the game's nonstop action sequences.
Heading into battle as Guo Jia, one of the game's new characters who was voted for by Japanese fans, the game feels very much like classic Dynasty Warriors. We waged war against swarms of enemies, swung wildly with our weapon of choice, and took out hundreds of enemies at a time. Each character has two Musou attacks--one ground and one air. Both look impressive and are equally devastating. The other two new characters, Pang De, a returning character from Dynasty Warriors 5, and Wang Yi, look equally impressive in battle. In addition to the main Legend mode is Challenge mode, which brings back modes like Bridge Melee and Rampage, as well as two brand-new game types, all with online leaderboards.
Dynasty Warriors has always boasted a wide range of playable characters, but in older versions of the game, they have tended to feel too similar in the game. In Xtreme Legends, each character will have a unique story to tell, as well as two weapons which can be switched during combat. As with previous iterations of the series, characters will each have alternate costumes, with the promise of additional DLC outfits to come in the future.
Unlike in Dynasty Warriors 7, all characters will be playable on all levels. Also included on the disc of Xtreme Legends will be the option to use the Japanese voice-over of the entire cast. Players who own a copy of Dynasty Warriors 7 will also be able to transfer their save data, as well as all their DLC packs, into Xtreme Legends.
It's clear that Tecmo Koei has attempted to provide a greater sense of narrative depth to the game. And, with the inclusion of a dedicated encyclopaedia and gallery in the main menu, the team really wants players to become engrossed in the narrative and environments. We know what to expect from a Dynasty Warriors game, and this game is no different in terms of gameplay, but it feels like there has been a real effort from the team to provide a more rounded, complete package this time around.