Series desperately needs more depth but still a fun button-masher.
Let me tell you straight up: Dynasty Warrior 6 (PC) is a great game. Yes, the franchise is getting long in the tooth and could use more improvements than what they keep dribbling to us, not to mention the idiotic and seemingly random removal and shuffling of characters, but nitpicks aside it's a really fun game to play.
As an aside... talking about overplayed series, you don't see "professional" reviewers giving FIFA or Madden games lower than 3.0 scores even though they're the exact same tired old game with just texture facelifts, now, do we? That's right folks, your advertising dollar hard at work.
I'm mainly a PC gamer and don't have much to do with gamepads on my PC, and I did try to play this game first with the keyboard. I did fairly okay, but after a while I gave into common sense and broke out my Logitech USB dualshock. Which was much better on the hands, since I eventually clocked hundreds of hours on this thing, haha. The controls are responsive and the camera pretty good except for the bits when the camera's position would be blocked by something (passing under an arch for example) which would make the game shove it aside. That's one thing I never liked. I'd prefer if the game simply faded out obstacles into transparency if something blocked the view from it to your character, instead of arbitrarily changing the camera's viewpoint. I suppose depending on the rendering engine it was easier to just reposition the camera rather than figure out which part of the 3D terrain needed to be ghosted out. Oh well.
Complaints about the cutscenes... were stupid. They're not there to "set up the action", they're there to tell the story. They only appear in the Musou mode (i.e. the storyline mode), obviously I'd rather know what prompted the battle in the first place, rather than having a pre-battle scene of them setting up position and all that tactical crap. This excuse is so lame IGN's reviewer isn't even making an effort to pretend that he actually watched the cutscenes. You can tell he's squarely in the "i just want to play, ESC ESC ESC" mindless camp from this far away. Well duh stupid, that cutscene you just skipped WAS about the goddamn story. It's like complaining that a WW2 documentary on the history channel is full of boring stories instead of just showing tanks and battleships blowing each other up all the time.
Graphics were okay imo, but then again I'm not a twitch FPS fan and I've never really cared about the whole epenis "my fps is higher than your fps" thing. Pop-ins were always a problem with the console DW games, I admit, but I didn't see much of that here. At least with the enemies immediately around you. Yeah, in the old games popping in was pretty bad, you could get hit by invisible enemies. That doesn't happen in DW6. There is popping in at a distance, agreed, but none in the range you actually care about. The minimap shows everything anyway, it's not like you can be surprised "omg where did these guys come from".
And you know what? I'd rather have a smooth game with minor popping in at a distance of the numerous faceless peons I slaughter by the thousands. Who cares about Joe Blow Soldier, the guys you kill with every other swing of your weapon? Only anal-retentive graphics whores like the IGN reviewer apparently. When I'm in a hurry to tear through a 40+ squad of goons I'm not going to care how well they look like or how realistically they're animated -- and they're actually done pretty good. Stand still for a moment and observe the enemies. They're not THAT badly done. The reviewer is just lying and laying the hyperbole on thickly. Again, I'd sacrifice minor attention to a meaningless detail on peons I see less than a second for in favour of a smoother game.
The fact that most user reviews generally give this game 8s (weighted for fans) and around 6s (weighted for objective reviewers) should tell you that it's at least a decent game which you'll enjoy if you're inclined to the genre. Perhaps it's because in this day and age of YouTube user gameplay reviews that professional reviewers realize people don't take them seriously anymore that they feel they can outright lie and heavily show their bias towards the games they're paid to review well or like and blow off the rest. I'd sure like to get paid for playing games and making up crap all day too.
Could DW6 be better? Certainly. Koei hasn't done much imo to advance the series -- I don't have a PS3 and I don't know how the sequel DW7 plays out -- but they have something good going here and it's sad to not see them capitalize on it. Most strategy games are in the god genre -- i.e. you play the commander and are simply in charge of building and then sending units off to die. Rarely do games put YOU in the actual role of a frontline unit and having to rely on allies. The DW series is a neat blend of action and strategy although they haven't taken the concept far enough imo, which is a great shame, since they could do so much more with this game engine than what we have.
Imagine a true branching campaign with the outcomes depending on what objectives you achieved (or didn't achieve) on each map, with dynamic front lines, a little economy and diplomacy perhaps, things like that. Things which a PC game is eminently suitable for. The DW series is pretty good but they're really beating a dead horse with how little they're tweaking the series.