Excellent expansion, well worth the bucks

User Rating: 10 | Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends PS2
Dynasty Warriors 5 Xtreme Legends is an expansion for the excellent Koei game Dynasty Warriors 5.
I really don't understand why so many people, professional reviewers in particular, have a beef with Koei's Dynasty Warriors series. In my opinion, this is one of the best franchises developed during the PS 2 era.

The Xtreme Legends series is a perfect example. Look at games Like Halo 2 and Fable, which had generic stories, and weak endings which really didn't leave the player satisfied, or at least no one that I'm familiar with.

At least with the Xtreme Legends series, they're adding more legitimate content to a game which, in my opinion, was one of the best of 2005.

GRAPHICS: 10 out of 10. I've always thought the Dynasty Warriors graphics were excellent, and they get better with each successive game. Xtreme Legends 5 follows this formula, with extremely detailed characters and realistic maps and scenery which really make you feel like you're in China circa 200 A.D.

As for CG movies, I think the DW series has always had some of the best movies in the video game industry. In the DW 5 XL movies, the characters appear realistic and the music is well done. However, if I have a complaint it's probably the voice acting. I wish they would stop changing the voice actors, especially for major characters such as Guan Yu and Sun Jian.

PLAYABILITY: 9 out of 10. The only reason I don't give this a 10 out of 10 is because I've experienced several instances of "slow down," which in a game of this type really is a problem. If you're going to design a game where dozens or hundreds of people run around on-screen, then make it work properly.

Including all the basic game play of DW 5, such as control schemes etc., XL doesn't include Musou mode but rather several other modes with subtle differences.

The modes include Destiny, where you choose the Three Kingdoms lord you wish to serve, then work your way up the chain of command almost like an RPG, Xtreme mode, where you choose any of the main characters and play as a vagabond mercenary trying to clear as many levels in sucession as possible while purchasing weapon and stat upgrades between stages, and Legend mode, which could be described as a "mini-Musou" mode and includes several scenarios directly drawn from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

As well, there is also a new feature included in the "camp" menu. As you clear missions in the game, you earn upgrade points which can be spent to improve characters and weapons you've unlocked in Musou mode. The cool thing is you can improve any weapon to 40 base attack as long as you've got the upgrade points. So, Diao Chan doesn't need to use that crappy 4th weapon anymore.

If I had one wish it's that they included a DW 5 Empires on this game. I liked that game, but never felt it was deep enough to stand on its own.

STORY: 10 out of 10. What can you say about ROTK? The Three Brothers swore an oath to die on the same day, at the same time, at the same place. It doesn't get any better than that. Having read ROTK Vol. I and II myself, the Legend missions actually were very close to the tales themselves.

REPLAY VALUE: 5 out of 10. Not great, but remember this is just an expansion for the original game. The Legend mode adds a few new missions, Destiny and Xtreme are fun to play for a while, but they really should have included an Empires mode. Hear me, Koei?

OVERALL: 10 out of 10. As an expansion, things don't get any better than DW 5 XL. You can use all of the characters you unlocked in Musou mode, make a new officer with the edit function and, best of all, in Destiny mode you can keep Sun Jian alive and unite China under his family! Long live Wu!