Dynasty Warriors 7 Hands-On Preview

We traverse back to Three Kingdoms-era China and find a few surprises in the latest of this long-running series.

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You may think that after six Dynasty Warriors games, there's little new to discover in this sprawling hack-and-slash series. Tecmo Koei is hoping to pleasantly surprise cynics with the newest addition--Dynasty Warriors 7--by adding a considerable amount of new content, particularly in the form of a brand new faction that comes with its own set of new characters and battles.

Dynasty Warriors games have long focused on the three warring clans of Shu, Wu, and Wei, but Dynasty Warriors 7 will for the first time include the Jin clan. For those of you up to speed on the original historical Chinese novels the Dynasty Warriors games are based on--Romance of the Three Kingdoms--the Jin was (spoiler alert) actually the clan that ended up ruling China after this tumultuous period. As such, Dynasty Warriors 7 will include new battles in which to fight in, as well as include several new Jin generals for players to control. With dozens of playable generals already available in Wu, Shu, and Wei, there won't be any shortage of characters to take on the massive hordes of soldiers you'll be up against in this game. The story, too, is supposedly taking a more realistic turn. In previous games, any clan was able to "win" power over China, but history clearly shows that there was only one winner amidst many losers. Dynasty Warrior 7's narrative will now more closely resemble those events.

Gameplay, too, has been enhanced, both in minor and major ways. The biggest addition is the ability to wield different weapons for each character, as opposed to having one weapon that you can find upgraded versions of as in previous Dynasty Warriors titles. Tecmo Koei reps tell us there will be hundreds of different weapons to be found in the game, with characters being able to use any one they wish. Characters are also now able to carry two weapons at a time and can switch between them on the fly while out in the midst of battle with the simple press of one button.

The other changes are a little less dramatic. Musous can now be performed midjump, while missions will now start within a base camp of sorts, allowing you to talk with fellow generals before heading out directly into battle. Finally, Dynasty Warriors 7 will also support 3D televisions, bringing ancient China to the third dimension for the first time.

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Our brief gameplay session with Dynasty Warriors 7 proved to be a familiar affair, with fans of the series knowing exactly what to expect from the action in this simple but fun button masher. We particularly liked the ability to switch weapons because it gave the action a different feel, even if the basic mechanics of the game remain unchanged. Dynasty Warriors 7 will be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 29.

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