viernes, 23 de enero de 2009

Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce Hands-On

We team up and face new multiplayer challenges in Koei's upcoming Dynasty Warriors game.

A series that sticks to what it knows best, Dynasty Warriors has games on virtually every platform and continues to provide a venue for those who enjoy epic battles based loosely on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Koei does take a step in a new direction with its latest, Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce, a PlayStation Portable game that lets you play with up to three friends via ad hoc to take on a variety of strategic but brief missions and challenges. This marks the first time that you can play a Dynasty Warriors game with a friend on the PSP instead of fighting legions of enemies by yourself. We were able to play an early demo of the game at the Tokyo Game Show, but Koei stopped by to give us another build to check out before the Japanese release in February.

Instead of the massive, large-scale battles that you are used to, the game is focused more on tactics and playing together as a team. We didn't learn too much about the story, but we know that there will be three storylines based on each of the Three Kingdoms. There will be 30 characters taken from the series that you can play as, even though our demo let us play only as Zhao Yun, Xiahou Dun, and Sun Shang Xiang. Instead of button-mashing mindlessly through the mission, you need to pay attention to your friends and find the best way to approach each challenge. In the two missions we've played, the Battle at Hu Lao Gate and Yellow Turban Rebellions, you take on well-protected strongholds filled with enemies, cannons, and other bothersome obstacles that need to be destroyed.

You will still fight against what seems like an endless wave of enemies, but you'll also have to take down challenging bosses in each of these missions to progress and build up your character. The strategy involves how you approach the final portion. In our experience, we had to have at least one or two people take out turrets and cannons so that we weren't constantly bombarded from all directions. You're also on a timer, which will put some pressure on you to figure out what the best approach is.

Even though each character has his or her weapon specialty, you can choose to wield any weapon that you like in the game and switch between your primary and secondary weapon. As you level, so will your village, which acts as a hub where you can purchase items, weapons, and accessories. You can customize your weapon by using orbs, which will beef up your current weapon of choice with an element. Another way to improve your character is to gather chi, which can improve your fighting skills and let you perform special moves, such as super jumps and teleportation.

Using the X button, you can hover in the air to attack enemies, and the square and triangle buttons are used for normal and strong attacks. The L button is used to lock on to enemies, and the R button lets you dash. It's unfortunate that you have no control over the camera, though the L button does reset the view. As you're fighting, you're building up a fury gauge, rather than a Musou gauge, at the bottom left corner of the screen. Once it's full, you can hit the triangle and circle buttons at the same time to enter into a fury mode, in which your character becomes stronger for a limited period or time. Or you can use up your entire gauge and hit the triangle and circle buttons again to do a more devastating attack, which came in handy when we were destroying surrounding cannons.
As much fun as it is to button-mash your way through a hoard of well-dressed foes, Strikeforce heads in a more interesting direction by letting you play cooperatively and in a more strategic manner. Although it looks and sounds similar to previous games, it's worth looking into if you have friends with PSPs. We were told that there will be downloadable content available as well, including new items and additional quests. Stay tuned for more Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce updates as they become available. The game is set to be released in early Q2 in North America.

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