In celebration of ‘Dynasty Warriors 8’s’ US release, here is a count down of the top five favorite ‘Warriors’ series’. From the second game, Koei’s ‘Dynasty Warriors’ has become the measuring stick of the hack-n-slash genre, adapting the legendary book ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ into an army destroying power fantasy. And when the spin-offs began to appear, each of them added their own signature variation to the tried and true formula fans know and love.
Throughout the years, some spin-offs worked better than others. Here are the ones that are the best.
There are two great series that will not be on this list: ‘One Piece: Pirate Warriors’ and ‘Warriors Orochi’. They are both very fun, so if you are a fan of these hack-n-slash games, try them out if you can.
Legends of Troy just wasn’t worthy of the list.
#5) Bladestrom: the hundred years’ war
The first in the list is an unexpected one.
Why it’s on the list: Bladestorm was a game where Koei experimented with the formula. Aiming for a more tactical approach, Bladestorm utilizes a combination of hack-n-slash, a rock-paper-scissor attack system, and squad based combat. Plus, it was a very different setting than Ancient China or Feudal Japan. Instead, it is set in 15th century Europe during the Hundred Years’ War.
Another change? You aren’t playing as a historical figure, but a player-created mercenary in the war, working for both.
Why it’s not higher: There was only one game. And that one game was underdeveloped. The create-a-character system was limited, the characters involved were unremarkable, and story was pretty flat. If there was a sequel, maybe some of the potential this game had could have been realized. For now, it’s just a hidden gem.
4) Fist of the north star: ken’s rage
Why is it on the list: The first mature ‘Warriors’ game, and they picked a franchise widely known for it’s blood and gore: ‘Fist of The North Star’. Throughout the two games, Koei made sure that they got the story right, the characters right, and the setting right. The skill progression actually felt like you went from a great fighter to a nigh-unbeatable threat. Especially when using the titular character, Kenshiro. It is a great buy for fans of the series.
Why it’s not higher: If you aren’t a fan of the series, there isn’t much of a reason to play these games. The replay value isn’t high if you aren’t interested in the manga. The first game is very slow and clunky compared to the sequel, but the sequel is simpler. The soundtrack is lackluster too.
3) Samurai warriors
Why is it on the list: The first spin-off focuses on the Sengoku Period. The smaller setting fits the chaotic mood and allows for more character focused stories instead of just following history, especially in the first game. Speaking of the characters, they are absolutely vibrant, actually develop over time, and are sometimes unique. For instance, usually demonic figure Nobunaga Oda shows far more humanity in this series. Others, like the prototypical ninja Hanzo Hattori, retain their initial appeal.
Why it’s not higher: It is too similar to ‘Dynasty Warriors’, despite the fact that the series takes place a century afterwards. And usually when it tries to be different, the attempts mostly fail (create-a-character, skill system initially, platforming).
2) Dynasty warriors
Surprised? Yes, the original series is not number one.
Why it is on the list: Not just because it’s the original ‘Warriors’ game, but also because it has grown as a series over time. Yes, three and four are still considered the best by many fans, but the recent entries were able to fix some of the mistakes made throughout the series. This series was able to bring many of the well known ‘Romance of the Three Kingdom’ characters come to life and help players understand why these historical figures and events are so legendary. When you are fighting on a entire level filled with burning ships, you really get a feel for how devastating the Battle of Chi Bi was to the forces of Wei. When you face against Lu Bu, you understand why he was one of the most feared generals of his time. The game play is still fun and is always accessible.
Why it is not number one: Two reasons. One, some games in the series were lacking compared to their predecessors (Strikeforce immediately comes to mind). And two: Even the best ‘Dynasty Warriors’ games match up to the number one series in terms of story, game play, characters, and replay value.
1) Dynasty warriors: Gundam
Best stories, longest replay value, most developed setting, and the most exciting game play. ‘Dynasty Warriors Gundam’ is the best Koei’s long running franchise has to offer. Based around the decades old ‘Mobile Suit Gundam’ series, this series grabs characters and their signature mobile suits from many, many Gundam series’, and smashes them together for some epic robot warfare.
‘Dynasty Warriors’ may be the first of the franchise, but ‘Dynasty Warriors: Gundam’ is the pinnacle of it.