Still a working title, Dynasty Warriors is making a solid impression on the PlayStation Vita. A series that has evolved very little over time, it will have to change in some fashion to accommodate the new handheld. After Sony's press conference during the Electronic Entertainment Expo, we were able to play through the demo of Dynasty Warriors and see how the new Vita features add to the gameplay.
Who's Making It: Tecmo Koei is still behind publishing the Dynasty Warrior franchise that is developed by Omega Force.
What It Looks Like: Dynasty Warriors looked really clean and crisp on the PlayStation Vita; we could see all the intricate details of Zhao Yun's face and his ornate armor. In terms of the environments, it doesn't look like there are any huge improvements, but we were only given a small portion of a mission to play. If you've played a Dynasty Warriors game before, you might know what to expect by now. There's a minimap to guide you in the right direction and enemies are marked so you know when they're coming.
What You Do: It's a hack-and-slash game, so you're button-mashing your way through enemies to get to the boss at the end of the mission. The demo was still a working title, and it was relatively short but still familiar.
How It Plays: Like its many predecessors, Dynasty Warriors is still a button masher. However, with the Vita controls, you can now use the touch screen, as well as the back touch pad, to activate special attacks. Two gauges at the bottom left corner of your screen indicate when you're ready to unleash your abilities. You still have your traditional musou attack that you can activate with the circle button, but now you can also perform devastating attacks by tapping the touch screen. Another fiery geyser attack is activated by the back touch pad, and you can use the right analog stick to rotate the camera and keep tapping at enemies onscreen to continuously deal damage to them until your gauge runs out. There's a bit of maneuvering involved, but you can clear out a good chunk of foes if you pan the camera around.
There will be random moments throughout the game when you'll be ambushed, in which case you have a limited amount of time to tap as many enemies as you can that are frozen onscreen to kill them. They won't just appear in front of you either; you have to physically move the Vita's camera around to find all the enemies.
When we finally made it to the boss fight with Lu Bu, we entered a duel mode that primarily used touch-screen controls. You can still use the analog stick to move around the arena, but our attacks now were limited to wildly slashing and tapping the screen to deal damage. The back touch pad was used to block, but as long as we were slashing away furiously, Lu Bu was kept at bay.
What We Say: Dynasty Warriors is looking good so far on the Vita and we are curious to see what other features it will use. We know that it will have ad hoc multiplayer functionality, and there will be more than 60 characters in the game, but we're curious to see if it will follow along the lines of Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce. It plays well and looks great on the new system, and the other touch-related gameplay options are fun the first few times, but it'll depend how often they show up because we imagine they could get tiresome. However, button mashing just never seems to get old. Dynasty Warriors is set to be released during the launch window of the Vita and we'll have more updates in the months to come.