Thursday, 25 October 2018

Warriors Orochi 4 (Nintendo Switch version) Review

 October 19th 2018, Nintendo Switch / PS4/ Xbox One / PC / Nintendo Switch code was given for this review 

All pictures are from my gameplay, copyright to Koei Techmo Games

Naotora's ultimate deification attack shows how much I love this game: the only reason I couldn't give it top marks was down to a few elements which I'll discuss later in this review.
Now this isn't my usual type of game. I love Role Playing Games (RPGS) Japanese RPGS, life simulation games, and rhythm games. I mostly like cute looking games – obviously a fighting based game isn't exactly cute, but as you can see some of the female characters
Guan Yingping was my second favourite, I totally want her hairstyle!
As I've previously mentioned, I came across this game which was up for review after some info about it's world record for the highest amount of playable characters. I love the intricacy on all the costumes, especially the girls, which is why I have another game from the series which has less characters but they come from a wider range of series, Warriors All Stars
I hadn't played much of it because I didn't understand the game at all. Thanks to Warriors Orochi 4 I should be able to play it confidently now!

While I waited for the game to download on my Switch I did more research on the game, and  promptly panicked because it turns out Orochi is to do with an 8 headed snake which has appeared in previous games. I have a snake phobia. No need to say any more. I prayed hard that this would be slightly different to Warriors Orochi 3 (Which is weirdly the name of WO4 in Japan) and thankfully it is. No snakes involved, apart from having to find snake bracelets in the world. 

It is a little frustrating playing the game because I wanted to post some pictures of the game play, but there was an embargo on that so I had to be vague in what I said. Somehow game embargos are way harder than a book review embargo. 

Honestly speaking, I got extremely lost in the story - I struggle with several different points of views in books, let alone over 170 characters from various clans with their own tale. Unless I care about a family a lot I forget who likes/hates/loves each other, who is an ally etc. All I really knew throughout my playtime was that enemies needed bringing down, there were a few of them with vast armies. Yeah, when I'm confused I make up my own story ^u^ I feel this type of game is more focused on the fighting than the story like an RPG/JRPG would, but that is my own opinon. Many gamers will love the story, it's simply not the right type for me.

Despite knowing next to nothing about what I was doing initially as a newbie to the hack and slash genre, I managed to get to grips with the game play quite easily. My initial concern of needing to remember which buttons to press for certain moves was unfounded: yes there are combinations for each character which differ, and there probably are deeper tactics but on easy level you can get away with finding your favourite move and using it almost all the time. Admittedly it took me several chapters for me to realise that what I thought was the magic meter was in fact the musou meter. That was an area that I wish had had more of an introduction: you get told to that there is a meter in the tutorial pages but you aren't shown a diagram of the meters. I used a magic move for most of the game: these types of moves are new to the series in WO4, and are so much fun. It took me most of the game to realise that using magic wasn't always the move with the strongest power. 

Best girl Lady Hayakawa is a legend!!! (despite not getting a deification mode)
I was in love with Lady Hayakawa, I used her as the main character in the team, despite being a surprise that my best girl didn't have deification powers. I wanted to use her as the sole character, but I quickly learnt there is no I in team. Her magic, which like everyone else's came from artifacts called Sacred Treasures, involved having a magical beast (a boar?) run around terrorising the enemy. It was a blast!!!! Having the power to mow enemies down with a mystical creature made the combat hilarious with my thoughts of 'you can't run for long' or 'Go pig, go!' I'm fairly sure that probably wasn't what the developers had in mind when they created the attack, but then I don't feel I'm a typical reviewer for these types of games. 
Look at the determination in her eyes! You don't want to mess with her!!
 I'm used to having a few enemies, not dozens upon dozens (or hundreds in the final few chapters). It was extremely daunting, yet somehow I didn't die in the normal levels on easy mode. I died when I tried the hard pandemonium mode, when this creature (demon?) appears in a random chapter that you've already completed, and all the game elements are cranked up to a crazy hard level. I wanted to play it at least once, but I simply couldn't win so I ditched that attempt. 

I got fairly vocal with this game, something I generally don't do. What else was I supposed to do when I had an ally defect to the other side! My objections were along the lines of 'how dare you?' and 'you were supposed to be my friend!' This game certainly made me feel a lot of emotions, that's for sure. I may not have understood the myriad of connections between people individually and the clans they belonged to, or managed to fully grasp the story, but I did care for them and did want them all to be safe. It's quite weird how so many of the enemies eventually become allies – guys and girls who were determined to defeat me eventually joined my party and were playable. 

The side quests definitely helped flesh out friendships, some were absolutely hilarious - it was the same battle system but there were parents pitted against their children over something trivial which had me smiling all the way through. Some were more serious like getting an ally away from an enemy. I thought that the collecting info side quest might not involve fighting, but it did. There isn't exactly extra game content post finishing the game - you can try all the difficulties and try to get triple S score for each battle, but that's all I could find. 

Go girl power!
I didn't play with any defectors except for Athena, which means it's almost time to talk about the characters. Aside from the magic and musou attacks (which were cool in the variety – I liked the ninja look of some moves where the character appears to multiply herself), there was a party musou attack (I think that's what it's called) which had the characters you chose in your support team plus your 3 main team members do a combined attack which totally had me feeling like it might be an Asian version of Winx Club magic. 
I couldn't find a picture of them all in the air combing their power, but you get the idea. As soon as I saw the group attack I was so happy because Winx Club is one of my favourite anime! I'm going with the French definition of anime, as it sounds more accurate than the word cartoon.

I get to fly as Naotora!
Then there's the fact that a few characters were able to transform into the gods and goddesses they gained powers from via the bracelets. I studied ancient history as my degree so I knew about the Greek gods and goddesses (not that I liked many in this game). Oh my word they are incredible!!!! My first transformation was Naotora Ii, whose normal and goddess uniform really could have been a bit more modest, but playing with her made it feel like I was an angel. Just look at those wings! I loved her as a character because in her attacks she always apologises for hurting people, a sweet characteristic, but she eventually got booted out from my party as soon as one of my favourites, Guan Yinping got her deity power and could transform into a goddess form. 
Guan Yinping transforming - she still keeps her green clothes theme
My favourite attack of hers was the way she did a dance that annihilated the enemies around her.
Now that I've thought of Winx it makes sense that I love Guan Yinping so much because I love Flora who is a nature fairy, who also has the main colour of green.
Flora uses nature attacks! & I'm good at working anime into a review ^u^

I used Athena when I eventually got her, which was far further into the game than I liked. It took me until almost the end to realise I could take her mask off in battle by setting a costume option. She looks kind and gentle without her mask. I wasn't fond of her armour either, and was permanently amused by her weapon or shield being the aegis: I haven't got far in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 but the central character Pyra is the highest blade of all: you've guessed it, the aegis! If only Pyra could have been in WO4. 
Please Koei Techmo!
 
While I didn't use all the characters I liked in the first play through of the game, I tried out their moves in the rather handy mock battle feature, which meant I didn't have to take a gamble and use them in an actual battle without knowing their style. There isn't much post game activity that I can tell, although I will play with characters I didn't use, because I chose stronger characters (with deification ability) closer to the end. I didn't try any of the guys as I'm not interested in them. There are way more guys than girls, which was a bit disappointing, but I wasn't surprised by this.

When characters level up there's the ability to give them certain assets which can aid you in battle. There are so many to choose from, you get the assets through battles and some have a level scheme of their own to increase their strength. You get a bit of choice which assets you award them first – you can also award assets to the main camp , but that took an awful lot of in game money so I barely made any improvements.

The sheer amount of weapons is staggering, with each character seeming to have a different one. I think there were certain types of weapons used but don't ask me what they are as I don't know and can't remember. At the end of every battle you gain a load of weapons (more if you equip a certain asset). At first the weapon quality is low, and you can add elements to the weapon using in game money, but the more powerful weapons needed a different item to change them, which was harder to get. I played around a little with the weapons, but didn't get too involved with them. Apparently horses could be use to attack enemies, I never used that skill, I simply used them to rush from one end of the battle field to the other when certain numpties had trouble follow them around.

The aim of each battle was to reach a certain objective: this did not always mean to kill every enemy officer (who had loads of minions with them). I died once or twice because I didn't stick to the main objective. I objected strongly when one of the people I was supposed to protect acted like an utter moron, resulting in my family wondering why I was moaning at him. I was at the opposite end of the map, helping get rid of enemies so some allies could pass, and the numpty got into trouble. I dutifully raced to him, got rid of his his enemies, then went back to those I needed to help. Let's just say the incompetent idiot invited trouble and had me racing back many times before the chapter ended. I swear he waltzed up to enemies and begged them to make his health decrease which made me lose the chapter twice before I could complete it.

Slightly worse than those issues and allies defecting was when an enemy 'died' and then reappeared over 5 times in a chapter! He wouldn't stay down! Cue even more vocal objections from me. I shouldn't have been surprised because this can happen in other games, but it was jolly annoying having the chapter's objective change whenever the enemy reappeared. It was slightly funny when I thought I completed a chapter, only to have an ambush brought upon me. 

The graphics are mostly not a cute style that I prefer, because they involve a battlefield, but it did make me feel like I was in a great war somewhere in Asia with the square buildings, various walls and fortresses. I occasionally stopped and looked about because in the heat of battle all I focus on was staying alive and defeating the enemy rather than admiring the architecture. There's a lot of detail put in which I guess gets missed because of how chaotic the games are, but those moments when I looked at the background I felt more immersed in the game.  

No idea who this is or where she is from, but she definitely looks as if she'd fit in the Warriors Orochi 4 cast!
The music and sound effects did a fabulous job of creating a battle atmosphere. When main enemies died there would be specific cries which were music to my ears because it meant one section of the enemy force was weakened. I got really into the battles with the sound on, although I had to have it off for quite a bit when I was ill because I get sensitive to certain sounds, and listening to game music almost always makes me feel worse during those times.

I think I've covered everything I enjoyed about the game.. I will play Warriors All Stars with more confidence and I look forward to future Warriors games, so long as they don't involve snakes that much. I may not play for the story, which usually is why I play the games I do, but because I want to learn more about the characters and simply have fun running down enemies with a boar, if the magic element appears in the future.

While I'm new to the genre, and I liked a lot of the game play, there were a few issues which bring the rating down to 8/10E. I would have liked a few more girls, given how many guys there are. I would have liked some of the costumes to be more modest, which seems more realistic (no self-respecting ancient warrior would run around without any armour, or in hardly any clothes unless they were truly invincible.) Additionally I think there were glitches within the game: sometimes either the magic or the musou moves didn't fully activate: I could see the character doing the action of the move, but the light wouldn't strike enemies down which it did for most of the time.

Another main issue which was annoying is that the characters I used were rarely acknowledged as being key to completing the chapter. I know that there are a zillion character combinations, so the developers had to stick with some for the story, but patting characters on the back who weren't in my party who did almost all the visible effort in the fight was jolly frustrating. Frequently it was the guys who were praised leaving me fuming at the lack of recognition of my hard working girls. It provided amusement when the key people in the chapters' stories were my characters, because it meant I had to protect a look-alike , who more often than kept me on my toes as they ran around the battleground. 

The final point is more of a wishlist item than an issue: I wanted more than 3 in my party! There were support party members but I'm used to having up to 4 members in a party, 3 makes it trickier.
 
I did get some S ranks, but not triple S
I liked how each chapter rates you on a variety of areas: quite a lot of mine were low so I'm very proud of getting a triple A score!
 
I think that's just about everything. I'd like to say a massive thank you to Koei Techmo for giving me a review copy of the game, my first official review copy for any console. I hope I can review more games for publishers in the future because this experience broadened my gaming skills and provided over 40 hours of fun. 
 
This was almost as fun as a Miku game! (& that's really saying something) Thank you! (random Miku fanart from online)

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