Review: Warriors Orochi 2 (Sony PSP)

Warriors Orochi 2
Developer: Omega Force
Publisher: Koei
Genre: Strategy/Beat ‘Em Up
Release Date: 08/28/09


Lets get down to brass tacks: before I get onto anything else regarding Koei’s umpteenth Warriors release, I figured it would be best to alert any readers who are not fans of the Warriors games to just direct their web browser elsewhere. Though chances are, if you’re interested in this review, then you’re familiar with the series, and more than likely a fan. I thought it would be nice to not waste the time of the rare few who might have for some reason hoped to read that this portable version of a year old Warriors game would be a change of formula. It’s not, so you can safely move on. As a fan of the Warriors games, though, one should definitely read further to find how this portable sequel fares when compared to its brethren, which are quite possibly some of the world’s greatest hack-n-slash games ever.

Story:

Warriors Orochi 2 follows the events of the first game, and sees the world-transcending Serpent King, Orochi, being resurrected by his followers for another round of country dominating mayhem. The specific draw of this idea is, of course, the inclusion of both Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors characters in one game, which is explained by way of the power-hungry Serpent King wishing to fight the worlds strongest warriors. Much like its console counterpart, the PSP version of Warriors Orochi 2 features five different storylines which detail the collective dynasties uprising against the Serpent King. There is even a storyline that sees your play as Orochi and his cohorts themselves. Alliances are made during the various scenarios in any given storyline, and usually these will unlock more characters and other content for other modes.

The stories are executed by way of static character images and the occasional cutscene, which is on par with most Warriors games on the console or portable platforms. As one might expect to read in any Warriors game review, the light plot and typical character conversations seen in any of the storylines are basically there to keep things moving and tie elements together. They’re never really relevant, and generally even less compelling. Fans should not be surprised by this in the slightest, and I’d be surprised if most fans even care.

Story: Mediocre

Graphics:

The original Warriors Orochi for PSP was a decent representation of the console product, though the game was marred by insufferable lag whenever more than a handful of characters were on the screen. This would be a giant problem for any Warriors game, obviously, and it rendered that particular version almost unplayable.

I’m happy to report that such is not the case with the PSP adaption of Warriors Orochi 2. Not only does it stand as a fair visual representation of the console variant, but features just as many moving characters on the screen, and with no detrimental effects to the overall speed of the gameplay. Though fans of the series aren’t as impressed with the grand scale of the Warriors games nowadays as we were when the first games were released on the PS2, it is something special to see a Warriors game in all its glory moving at a perfect pace on the little PSP screen. It’s also stunning to witness as a fan when one remembers that the two previous Dynasty Warriors that appeared on PSP, as well as Samurai Warriors: State of War, adopted somewhat different play mechanics, which allowed the game to present a dozen or less enemies at one time to save on processing power, since this is the first Warriors game to really dole out the enemies without any significant problems.

Graphics: Great

Sound:

The soundtrack for Warriors Orochi 2 is pretty much identical to the console version. There’s a modest, but fun, assortment of the traditional over-the-top metal-meets-techno-meets-Asian tracks that can be heard during any battle in your choice of Warriors game. The voice acting is also identical to the console version, though some of the officer blurbs and comments aren’t accompanied with spoken dialogue. It hardly makes them any less cheesy or pompous though, I might add.

Sound: Good

Gameplay:

Taking into consideration how well the PSP version of Warriors Orochi 2 handles itself in the graphics department, it’s easy to realize that this translates into an incredibly solid portable Warriors experience overall, The gameplay is exactly everything you’d expect from it and doesn’t suffer from the technical issues of the first game.

For those who are unfamiliar with the franchise, the gist of the game is that you command a group of three officers, and you run around various battlefields, slaying enemy troops and officers in attempts to take over their various bases and, ultimately, their main camp. The objectives may change slightly from time to time, and time is always a factor, but generally, that is how a typical Dynasty Warriors battle works. The gameplay is a generous workout for your right thumb, as the Dynasty Warriors games are the undisputed champion of the straight up hack-n-slash. This element has remained virtually unchanged since Koei struck gold by introducing this formula into the series with Dynasty Warriors 2 for the PS2 some nine years ago, and it’s in the spin offs, like Empires or Warriors Orochi, that we find a little more substance to go along with the copious amount of button mashing.

As previously mentioned, you’ll hack up just as many enemy troops and generals on your tiny PSP screen as you will in the Xbox 360 and PS2 versions of Warriors Orochi 2. No amount of genocide has been omitted for Warriors fans on the go. The game still features the same three character “tag-team” formula the other Warriors Orochi games utilized, so you’ll be trading characters in and out to fight the enemy forces instead of simply relying on one character to get the job done. The same same weapon fusion/upgrade systems, abilities, and level ups that were in the prior game are in Warriors Orochi are in this game as well, so fans of that game should easily be able to transition into this without a problem, and newcomers should be able to pick it up without a problem. Content-wise, everything from the console release has made its way into this portable version, and Koei has even tacked on 12 extra Dream Mode missions, as well as two playable characters exclusive to the PSP release. This version also comes stacked with a Ad-Hoc 2 Player versus mode, as well as co-op options in all available game modes including Dream and Story.

The game boasts a staggering 96 playable characters after everything has been unlocked, and there is a myriad of other unlockable content that most fans of the series will eat up. Couple this with the fact that the gameplay is just as heavy and hectic as that of the console releases, and plays just as well, and you simply have the ultimate Warriors experience for fans on the go in this game.

Gameplay: Classic

Replayability:

With 96 characters to unlock, level up, and grab the best weapons for, fans will be at this one for quite some time. As it is with any Warriors game, they’re built to last if you’re into them, and Warriors Orochi 2 for the PSP is no exception.

Replayability: Classic

Balance:

On Normal mode, the battles seem just right, but on Hard and Chaos modes, enemy officers pack the serious thunder. Much like any Warriors game, this can feel a bit unfair. You can still unlock all the characters and content by playing through the story lines on Easy, but to get the best weapons for your officers, you’ll have to tackle scenarios in the at times frustrating Chaos mode. This takes a good bit of strategy and skill to really pull off successfully, so it encourages you to do better and learn the mechanics, if nothing else.

Balance: Good

Originality:

No, it’s not a secret; Warriors Orochi 2 for the PSP does not reinvent the wheel. This is more or less the same hack-n-slash affair that fans have been giving Koei money for throughout the past decade. As a fan, you’ll note that I’m fine with it, as will be other fans of the series, but I just doubt I’ll be giving a Warriors game a decent originality score anytime in the near future.

Originality: Bad

Addictiveness:

Are you a fan of the Warriors franchise? Do you enjoy running around Ancient China and Japan murdering every one and thing you see? If you answered yes, this game will most likely be in your PSP for quite a long while. If you’re anything like me, even if you’ve put serious time into one of the console variants, you’ll still spend hours and hours unlocking everything you can until your thumbs are sore and your PSP is nearly dead.

Addictiveness: Classic

Appeal Factor:

Though it’s a little late to the table, as the console versions of Warriors Orochi 2 were released almost a year ago, I believe this version will still make its way into many a fan’s PSP. Those who enjoyed the interesting but limited take on the Warriors formula with any or all of the other three portable games should definitely be interested, and if you were disappointed with the poor performance of the original Warriors Orochi game on PSP, this version will more than wipe that disappointment away. Tell your Warriors loving friends that this is the portable Warriors for the win.




Appeal Factor: Good

Miscellaneous:

In the miscellaneous department of every Warriors gam,e I happen to review for Diehard GameFAN for the conceivable future, I intend to once again express my disappointment with Koei for not bringing Warriors Orochi Z for PS3 stateside. The fanbase is, I assure you, quite sore about this, and it’s not a secret. We’ve been paying you guys money for what virtually boils down to the same damn game for years and years, and you decide to keep this one, what it by all indications one of your best ever, from us? For shame!

C’mon Koei, bring that damn game out over here. It’s not like we wouldn’t all buy it.

That is all.

Miscellaneous: Bad

The Scores:
Story: Mediocre
Graphics: Great
Sound: Good
Control/Gameplay: Classic
Replayability: Classic
Balance: Good
Originality: Bad
Addictiveness: Classic
Appeal: Good
Miscellaneous: Bad
FINAL SCORE: ENJOYABLE GAME.

Short Attention Span Summary:

The PSP version of Warriors Orochi 2 is a little late, as the console release of the same game was close to a year ago, but for fans of the series, it is certainly worth the wait. Warriors Orochi 2 presents traditional Warriors gameplay in all its glory on your little PSP screen, combined with all of the interesting three-person-team and level-up and upgrading mechanics the Warriors Orochi series is known for. It plays like gold, and has even more content that last year’s console versions. Warriors fans rejoice, as this is the ultimate portable Warriors experience.

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