James Stephanie Sterling
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers Review – Are You There God?
It’s me… and I’m bored.
Developer: Omega Force Publisher: Tecmo Koei Format: PS3, PS4 (reviewed), PS Vita Released: January 31, 2017 Copy provided by publisher
So I stopped playing Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers at some point. I don’t know when, because the gameplay was so homogenous it could have been literally anywhere.
Dynasty Warriors catches a lot of heat for being the same thing over and over, criticized for its repetitive hack n’ slash gameplay and endless sequels.
While some of the critique is absolutely fair – and Omega Force seems to want to answer it with an open world Dynasty Warriors 9 – I’ve always maintained that the huge character roster and cathartic beat ’em up flavor make for a game less boring than people give it credit for.
Godseekers, however, lends credence to every pundit who gave the series a good kicking. Ironically, it’s nothing like the real Dynasty Warriors games either, being a turn-based strategy title with light RPG elements.
More a spiritual sequel to the ancient Dynasty Tactics series, Godseekers is a grid-based tactical affair in which players move their units near enemy units and then attack them until everything’s dead. It’s a really easy game because the enemy A.I. is particularly stupid and the heroic characters you earn can pummel the everloving crap out of multiple units in a single turn.
While Dynasty Tactics was a cleverly designed game in which units could push each other around the map and position each other for devastating domino effects, Godseekers strips strategy gaming down to its most basic – and boring – essentials.
Each ally you obtain – based on the playable heroes of Dynasty Warriors 8 and naturally using the same character models – comes with a selection of moves that cover a certain number of squares on the grid, encouraging players to use the optimal warrior and take out as many units in one go as possible.
For example, if some enemies are placed together in a straight line, it’s a good idea to send in Zhao Yun, whose frontal charges can deal damage up to three squares ahead of him. Lei Bin – one of two originally designed characters – is a ranged fighter whose attacks tend to cover squares in a cross formation.
I mean, do I actually need to explain this? Imagine Disgaea without the depth of gameplay, the robust roleplaying features, the variety, or the fun. You’ve just imagined Godseekers.
Oh well, I suppose I better get on detailing it anyway, because lord knows I’ll get shit if I don’t discuss all these features that I don’t want to discuss.
What else can you do? Oh yeah, the more you damage enemies, the more you build up a “Synchro” gauge. When the gauge is full, you can trigger a Synchro Mode in which multiple allied units can be moved independent of their turns for additional assault, before they combine their strength in a single attack that devastates a large square of the map within range.
It’s basically cheating, because the moment you trigger it near the opposing enemy general, you’ve won. And you will do that, because any one battle will typically see the Synchro gauge filled multiple times and you’ll know when to save the last for the easy victory.
New allies can be recruited by following the Path of Destiny, which is a series of dialog exchanges unlocked through the course of play. As you meet certain conditions and encounter potentially recruitable fighters in battle, more dialog exchanges will be unlocked and viewable between stages. Some of them unlock special battles which, when won, result in a fresh character joining your army.
There are optional battles, you can level your heroes up to learn new moves, and a basic weapon crafting system is on offer that I found very hard to care about after spending so much time with the excellent Nioh and its blacksmith.
Look, you wanna know what I did? After spending several hours playing this cheap looking knock-off, all I could think about was digging up my old copy of Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (that’s its real name) and playing some real Omega Force action. Not this misleadingly titled exercise in mediocrity.
So that’s what I did.
Well, I couldn’t find my original copy so I just downloaded it for full price which made me disgusted with myself.
At any rate, I picked up right where I left off over a year ago, with Chen Gong in the middle of a huge battle, and I had a fantastic time. I’d forgotten just how good Dynasty Warriors 8 was, with its weapon-switch system, its massive cast of playable fighters, and an entire adventure mode that could have been a game in its own right.
It reminded me what Tecmo Koei is capable of with this series when it puts actual effort into it. Full localization, individual movesets without a bunch of lazy clones, and so much decent content I know I’ll never get to do it all. When the publisher isn’t cutting an obscene amount of corners, it’s capable of truly great work.
That said, 75 pieces of DLC? Really? For your “Complete” Edition? That’s taking the effing piss.
I’ll end my review of Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers by saying Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition was a crown in the jewel for the series and I highly recommend anybody interested in Tecmo Koei’s sprawling franchise consider it for a starting point.