Dynasty Warriors: if you’ve played one — you’ve played ’em all. Well, in ways, that is kind of true, seeing as Omega Force really only make a few tweaks to the mechanics with each passing instalment. Apart from that, the Warriors timeline has essentially been telling the beloved tale of the Three Kingdoms for almost twenty-five years. But does that stop us from filling the shoes of the three rival factions and conquering China with each entry? No, no it doesn’t.
Laced between the nine main entries in the Dynasty Warriors series is a boatload of spin-offs. Hyrule Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Pirate Warriors, to name but a few. Each of these tales brings a similar style of gameplay to the table, only with a fresh take on characters and backstories. As for Dynasty Warriors, though, Omega Force keep the franchise bustling through a best-selling formula that refuses to dry up. And we’re okay with that, weirdly enough. But having said all that, what are the best chapters in the series? Well, let’s take it from the top.
5. Dynasty Warriors 3
It might’ve taken Omega Force a fair while to secure firm enough roots in the hack and slash domain, but once planted — Dynasty Warriors opened up to something truly remarkable. Finally, after tinkering with the platform for several years, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms was ready to be shovelled into a video game format, with PlayStation and Xbox lighting the way for the future of the ambitious series.
Dynasty Warriors 3 practically took everything from the previous instalment and proceeded to build from it. Musou attacks became more fascinating to watch, battlefields evolved into much bigger and bolder environments, and the many characters strewn between kingdoms finally developed genuine personalities; ones which we were always eager to watch unravel over the course of the timeless tale.
4. Dynasty Warriors 4
After celebrating the global success of the third instalment, Omega Force followed up with another sequence to the timeline — a sequence that, admittedly, didn’t change a great deal to the overall experience. Of course, Dynasty Warriors 4 did expand over a few things — namely the characters that each kingdom procured, as well as the battlefields that laced between the events drawn from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. But apart from that, not a great deal transformed within the hack and slash franchise.
Still, without trying to dampen the mood — Dynasty Warriors 4 did stand out as a memorable entry in the series as a whole. And, being the first in the series to branch away from individual story arcs and opt for three fully-fledged kingdom campaigns — it was a definite contender in the series for its time. Granted, it’s come a long way since then, but for 2003 — it was revolutionary for the hack and slash kingpin.
3. Dynasty Warriors 5
Well, they do say good things come in threes — and Dynasty Warriors captures that saying remarkably well, to be fair. After enjoying the success of the fourth entry, Omega quickly found themselves back at the drawing board for yet another take on the up and coming hack and slash series. Lo and behold, Dynasty Warriors 5 was introduced by 2007, with another take on the familiar story arcs of Wei, Wu and Shu.
Resorting back to the Dynasty Warriors 3 structure, the fifth chapter allowed players to delve into a specific character’s shoes, rather than bundle in the whole roster in one of the three entwining kingdoms. Of course, that did mean players were left with an abundance of additional content to hack through — especially having upwards of fifty characters to take on. However, large quantities of characters and recycled maps aside, Dynasty Warriors 5 was, funnily enough, still a fantastic entry to withstand.
2. Dynasty Warriors 7
Following on from the rather underwhelming launch of Dynasty Warriors 6, Omega Force looked to pull the plug and take a well-deserved hiatus from the hack and slash series. After shovelling sequences into the barrel for nearly a decade, the chain was beginning to take a sharp turn, with critics growing weary of the same content Omega tried so desperately hard to grovel down their throats. Long story short — Dynasty Warriors retreated from the public eye in 2007. Fast-forward to 2011, however, and the tale was once again itching to be told.
Of course, resurrecting a decaying series isn’t something every developer can do with ease — especially with the last chapter receiving quite the number of harsh critiques. However, Omega somehow managed to pull something out of the bag when developing their 2011 instalment, with the game going on to become one of the most respected in all the series. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms was back — and it was looking even more spectacular than ever.
1. Dynasty Warriors 8
Well, there you have it. Of all the entries Omega Force has flushed out from the Dynasty Warriors domain — the eighth chapter still ranks the best among fans and hack and slash lovers. Of course, on the tin, it really is the same old tale with a few added tweaks to boot. However, gameplay-wise, Dynasty Warriors 8 boasts some truly outstanding combat, with every swish of a blade and swipe of a pike as fluid as the hands that guide you.
Since the eighth game came to light, Omega has tried to replicate the best-selling formula for future titles. The problem is, nothing has landed as well as the predecessor did. In fact, the ninth chapter was a complete and utter shambles compared to the older sibling release. But hey — that’s a story for another time. The bottom line is this: Dynasty Warriors 8 is still hands-down the best game Omega Force has put out. And as for the upcoming Dynasty Warriors 10? Well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.