Seeing as Omega Force is tooling up to bring yet another Empires chapter to its Dynasty Warriors kingdom, it seems only right that we do a little recap on some of the characters that its past few dozen games have brought to life. Although to be fair, once you've wrapped your head around the ins and outs of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and all its lore, then you're basically already well underway, and a recap probably wouldn't be all that necessary.
Having said that, Dynasty Warriors has usually found ways to introduce new characters into its roster over the years. And while the story basically follows the same progression almost every time, with perhaps the odd exception of allowing the player to make a minor decision every now and then — its characters do, in fact, change ever so slightly, whether through skills or characteristics. But let's talk about the best of the best. From the launch of the series to the current generation, here are, in our opinion, the most iconic characters to date.
5. Xiahou Dun
There's a reason why Wei's long-term and most loyal officer Xiahou Dun just sort of springs to mind when glossing over the Warriors roster. And it isn't because of his distinctive appearance, nor is it anything to do with his dying devotion to Cao Cao's hunger for everlasting power for that matter. In fact, it's much more to do with the origins, in the reality that the guy actually ate his own friggin' eyeball after pulling it from an arrow during battle. And yes — that actually happened, according to the books.
On top of his die-hard loyalty to the Wei kingdom, Dun also packs one of the mightiest punches in all of China. With attacks and Musou moves that can quite literally wipe out hundreds in a heartbeat, it sure makes his overall appeal expand by leaps and bounds. And as far as Wei officers go, he was, and still very much is, hands down the best of the bunch, with all of the required qualities to lead an army to everlasting victory.
4. Zhao Yun
Scan over the box art and all corresponding promotional material that Omega Force has flushed into Dynasty Warriors over the years, and you'll definitely spot a recurring feature: Zhao Yun, Shu's loyal frontline officer and most trusted ally in Lui Bei's devoted army. As one of the longest-serving characters in the roster, as well as an unofficial poster boy for the series, it's sort of no wonder fans tend to line him up as one of the most memorable and versatile of the lot.
Kind-hearted, courageous and quick with a studded spear, Zhao Yun assumes the role of loyal protector incredibly well, and even has the matching combat skills to go with such a title. His purposes are genuine, his story arcs are compelling, and his overall presence is a genuine pleasure to be around. He's everybody's go-to officer, no questions asked. He's Shu's all-time favourite frontline soldier — and the mascot we can't help but love.
3. Zhang Liao
Now, there certainly has been some strong characters in the Warriors series since its conception — even more so recently with the introduction of crossover rosters and spin-offs. However, one striking force that has remained a staple on the franchise since day one is Zhang Liao, Lu Bu's eccentric equivalent with a stern eye for power and status.
If it weren't for Lu Bu laying waste over the battlefield on any given opportunity — then chances are, Zhang Liao would have been the one to mop up the pieces and assume the role of an all-powerful warlord, rightfully claiming his throne on a pile of peasants. Put the two together, however, and you've basically got a recipe for disaster. A recipe that, once brewed, could single-handedly devour any obstacle or enemy in sight. One could almost say a perfect duo. A duo that, quite frankly, you wouldn't dare cross if presented with the chance to do so.
2. Guan Yu
The Shu kingdom probably had one of the most humane reasons for waging war on its Chinese oppressors: to rid the land of corruption and bring benevolence to the tainted regions. Unfortunately for the faction, despite having a powerful message at heart, the soldiers they held were anything but extraordinary. Their wild card, on the other hand, was what effectively put the underdog kingdom on the board.
Guan Yu, being Shu's secret weapon from day one, just so happened to be the very Chinese god of war in training, with underlying powers that would later be cherished by both soldiers and cultists all over the land. And as far as Dynasty Warriors went — he was portrayed beautifully, with both charisma and strength that would shape and fortify the texts that forged his prominent legacy.
1. Lu Bu
“Do not pursue Lu Bu,” were hands down some of the scariest words we could ever hear way back when. Having the dreaded pike-wielding warlord tail us from close quarters, on the other hand, was like watching a nightmare unravel before our very eyes, where death was almost inevitable with every encounter.
So what was it that made the rebellious officer cause our cheeks to burnish bright red and our hearts to pound profusely from our chests? Well, other than the dramatic entrances that would leave us running for the hills, Lu Bu would also come knocking with some of the mightiest weapons in the entire game, with attacks that would wipe your entire slate clean in a matter of seconds. Top that off with a steed riddled with flames, and you've got yourself an unstoppable collective with more strength in a single clenched fist than an entire armoury.
Do you agree with our list? Which Dynasty Warriors character ranks the highest in your book? Let us know over on our socials here.