Dynasty Warriors E3 2005 Preshow Hands-On

Koei's popular hack-and-slash action series set in ancient China is being shrunk down for easy consumption on the Game Boy Advance. We take an advance look.


Koei's long-running and consistently popular Dynasty Warriors has delivered large battles with hundreds of troops and ancient-Chinese cultural and narrative elements over several iterations on the PS2 and Xbox. Now the series is coming to the small screen for the second time this year in the simply titled Dynasty Warriors for the Game Boy Advance. The franchise first came to handhelds in a PSP version that was released alongside Sony's powerful portable back in March. With the GBA lacking that system's powerful graphics hardware, how has Koei managed to capture the Dynasty Warriors spirit of all-out battle?

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

The short answer is, Koei made it 2D. Though the perspective and presentation may have changed, the flow of the battles in Dynasty Warriors on the GBA seems pretty consistent with what we've seen in the past on consoles. When you go into a battle you're presented with a large overhead map that you can scroll around, which indicates the layout of the battlefield and the position of friendly and enemy troops (represented by goofy little superdeformed character sprites). You can move your own character around this battlefield map in a sort of board-game fashion--there are dots indicating spots you can move to, and if you move to a spot that an enemy unit is already occupying, battle is naturally joined.

The brief demo we got gave the impression that the GBA Dynasty Warriors' combat will be similar to previous games in terms of the one-against-many dynamic of the battle. You can string together a number of powerful attack combos with the A and B buttons, and the more advanced the combo, the more enemies you can knock down at a time. You've also got a chargeable musou meter just like in past games; after you've fought for a bit and filled it up, you can unleash a musou super attack to do large damage to everyone around you. Between battles, you can enter the battlefield mode on unoccupied map spots to search for health boosts and other needed power-ups.

Dynasty Warriors on the GBA seems to have all the essential trappings of its well-known forebears, even if it isn't as flashy as those games. You've still got a host of playable characters hailing from the Wu, Wei, and Shu kingdoms, and you can gather better weapons and so on from one battle to the next. We'll bring you more about Dynasty Warriors on the Game Boy Advance soon.

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