Lots of character, less story. Still, loads of fun.

User Rating: 8.5 | Shin Sangoku Musou 6 PS3
It must be hard to keep on telling the same story in different ways, so I'm actually pretty impressed that the Dynasty Warriors series managed to get to the seventh installment.
Although it wasn't the best game I played this year, I can say with some peace of mind that this game was pretty good. Enough to keep me busy for a while.
Unlike Dynasty Warriors 4, 5 and 6, Dynasty Warriors 7 no longer has a Story Mode for every single character of the game. Instead, the Story Mode has been divided into the traditional Three Kingdoms, plus one Story Mode for the new kingdom, the Jin kingdom (also known as the Late Wei kingdom). It doesn't matter, the story portrayed is still the same.
The good thing about this division is that the player no longer has to watch the same common cutscenes all over again using each of the more than 50 characters of the game, like in the Samurai Warriors series. Instead, the player will have to control whoever the game dictates. Even though this does mean less freedom, it also means that you won't have to go through up to five stages with every character. The game states which character is more appropriate for certain events. So... what makes this game different from Dynasty Warriors 3, except for the graphical improvement? Well, although the Story Modes are divided per kingdoms and you do have to go through the entire stage with a single character, there are several characters shift during the gameplay, meaning that you may be playing with Liu Bei in a certain stage, for an instance, and then, without much of a warning, after a very, very subtle cutscene, the character is changed and you control Zhao Yun. This is pretty nice, it gives the game a taste of "surprise element".

Thankfully enough, the player will not be restricted to the Story Mode. There is a mode called Conquest Mode, in which you can choose several different stages, each of them with a different objective: to defend the ally base, to attack the enemy base or to defend an ally. There is also the Arenas, where the player will battle with only a couple of main characters at the time, instead of legions of soldiers. Still on Conquest Mode, you can play a mini-story mode for each of the game's characters.

The good things about the game: the gameplay is still the same and I'm glad to state that the controls responses are still very precise. There are no lags when too many elements show up in the display, although you might experience the scenarios' elements showing up from all the sudden as you navigate through the maps. And if you ever happened to avoid certain characters because you didn't like their movesets, well guess what, you can know define which weapons they are going to use.
Another cool new feature of the game is that it allows you to play Conquest Mode online with a friend. Additionally, the coming addition Xtreme Legends will allow you to play the Story Mode with any character you choose and in co-op online with a friend!

The not so good things: there are several DLCs for the game, but it's just hard (and, at least for me, not financially viable) to follow up with all the additions.

The bad things: although several new characters were added on the game, not all of them were used in the Story Mode and some of them seem slightly misplaced while other characters seem to be overused.

Overall, the game is pretty good, but SOMETHING still seemed to be missing. It was a good companion for weeks, but not the kind of companion that makes you feel like you lost a friend after you finish it.