When it comes to the Warriors series, it’s either you love it or you hate it. People love it for the craziness that it brings to the table and how characters have evolved over the years or people hate it due to its repetitive design and gameplay. The series has seen it’s ups and downs as any other franchise and now in 2018, we’re at Warriors Orochi 4 (3 in Japan). This time around, Warriors Orochi 4 has a large cast of 170 playable characters with no guest characters and new gimmick to play with. Instead of dealing with the demon king, our heroes now gets to fight gods and foes with the powers of the gods!
After the events of Orochi 3, the cast loses their memories of the past events and sent back to their own times. However, Zeus from Olympus, brought the cast back to Orochi’s realm for one of his schemes using the serpent rings created by Medusa. Look to stop Zeus, Perseus took the remaining rings and fled to Orochi’s realm with Athena in pursuit. While fleeing, he loses the rings and one of them happens to fall into the hands of Nobunaga Oda, one of the most recognizable feudal lords of 16th century Japan. From here, he forms an army with both officers from Japan and China to take over this “new” realm while Liu Bei from Shu forms a resistance to stop him and find a way to return to their original times. The story is told through either pre-rendered cutscenes and scenes with character portraits. When it comes to game crossovers with as large of a cast as Warriors Orochi 4, writing a cohesive plot that keeps the player engaged becomes really hard and it’s no different here.
The base camp feature returns but, it has been simplified this time around where instead of running around with your character of choice to different shops like previous entries, we have now been given a menu. “Sortie” is where you take the team you’ve formed into battle whether it’s by yourself or online. During my playtime, I wasn’t able to get an online battle so unfortunately, I can’t speak on that. As you progress more into the story, you unlock side stories to unlock officers not part of the main story which is nice. “Party” allows you to customize your team, check out the actions for the officers you’ve acquired, change costumes and enter a mock battle which is essentially practice mode to test out your team synergy. While checking out your officers, they sometimes have a small event that can be viewed where they interact with new officers that join the resistance. “Upgrade” allows you to use growth points to upgrade officers and gems to upgrade Camp. You get growth points pretty easily while gems are a bit harder to come by (mainly Unity Magic usage). “Weapons” lets you equip any new weapons you’ve gotten from battle, fuse abilities to those weapons along with dismantling and selling weapons you don’t have a use for. I usually dismantled anything that had an ability attached to it while I sold anything that was a basic weapon. Speaking of weapons, you can add slots to the weapons to add more abilities to them and they get damage boosts the more you use a specific weapon to a certain point. A neat feature is that you can dismantle and sell weapons at the same time so you don’t have to hold a button down on each individual weapon. You choose what you want to do with each weapon and hit start. You eventually get the ability to send officers not in use out to find things which you can get a good reward sometimes.
In regards to party formation, you are allowed to enter battle with 3 playable characters and 4 non-playable support characters. There are 3 class types: Speed, Power, and Technique. Speed characters give you a larger window to connect hits, jump cancel animations and have a double jump. Power type characters have super armor while attacking and can guard cancel actions. Technique type characters can deal out a great amount of damage to airborne characters and if they press jump during the animation, a follow up can be performed that guard breaks. Although you don’t have access to controlling the support characters, they have different stats that affect each class type so you will want to play with this to find the perfect balance for your playstyle. This time around, there are 170 characters to chose from between to two franchises and characters specific to the Orochi series. The only thing that makes me sad about this is that the guest characters were removed to put more of a focus on the interactions between the current cast. I kinda understand why they did it as 170 characters is a lot to manage and the guest characters could have possibly dampened the series but, I will miss Izuna dropping people with Ryu Hayabusa.
Gameplay basically feels like home if you are familiar with this series. The Samurai cast plays exactly how they played in Samurai Warriors 4-II and Koei chose to go with the Dynasty Warriors 8 XL versions of the cast so unfortunately, anything or anyone from Dynasty Warriors 9 isn’t present. Unlike the non-crossover games, there’s no health or musou pickup as the only way to recover either is either by leveling up or swapping characters. EXP is gaining by defeating enemy officers or leaders. A couple of notable change is that lock-on now has the player strafe around the target and that the target objectives are visibly marked on both the minimap and on the field. The new mechanic to this game is “Sacred Treasures” which is basically magic that changes things up a little bit. There are three types of Magic: Normal, Charge and Unique. Normal doesn’t do a lot initially and is mostly used at the beginning of combos but, it increases in damage at the 300 Combo point and 1200 Combo point. Charge magic is a strong area of effect or crowd control spell that eats the combo gauge when used. Unique Magic is a spell that is specific to each character and consumes all of the magic gauge plus one musou gauge. Unity Magic replaces the Triple attack and it functions the same as the previous entries where it requires the use of magic to fill it and does massive area of effect damage to anyone in range. Enemy units are able to use magic against you as well and it alerts the player by placing a tracking marker on you but, you can stop them by using magic on them. If successful, it does an AOE around them that knocks back foes in range and leaves them staggered for a free combo. As I was playing, I tended to lean on magic more as it was more useful for clearing out foes instead of using the normal musou as I noticed they do less damage. Maybe this was intentional to get players to mess with the magic system.
In addition to Sacred Treasures, there is a monster called Chaos Origin who can make surrounding foes invincible until it is defeated. These creatures can only be damaged by magic and when they defeated, they sometimes drop a tear that allows the player to go into “Rage” state which is similar to how Rage worked in Dynasty Warriors 8. While in Rage, damage output is increased and you have access to the normal true musous attacks. Later on in the story, “Deification” is unlocked which is a powered-up form of specific characters that are central to the main plot. While these forms can only be accessed through Rage mode, they receive a new design, becomes a lot more powerful and receives a new musou. Other than this, it’s basically the same song and dance as previous entries in the game.
For the PC version, I played both in 1080p Ultra and 1440p Ultra. While playing in 1080p, I didn’t really experience any slow down regardless of how many people were on the screen. The only slowdown I had while under 1080p is when I exit from the pause menu but, it immediately jumped back up to 60fps. However, while playing in 1440p, I needed to drop settings to get close to 60fps. It makes sense since it’s a resolution bump while dealing with 50+ people on screen. One of my gripes though is that there’s no option to chose which monitor you want the game to play on as it’ll default to your main screen. You also can only change performance settings while on the start screen so, it’s kinda annoying to have to go back there each time to find out what works for you. The game doesn’t support borderless and V-Sync is listed incorrectly as it gives you the option between 60fps and 30fps when it should allow screen tearing or prevent it. A nice touch is that a lot of the music from the previous games has returned along with a few remixes of old soundtracks specific for this game. You can also choose what OST you want to play before going into battle just like the previous titles.
The PC port is missing a few staple features but, it holds its own otherwise performance wise given that there are 50+ people on the screen. The addition of magic gives the players a new tool to deal out damage and clear out the field. The Camp was reduced to a menu system but, I prefer this as it’s easier to tab through everything instead of walking everywhere. I personally enjoyed Warriors Orochi 4 and if you love the Warriors series, you’ll definitely want to pick this up. However, if you are kinda burnt out on the series or looking for the omitted bonus characters, I wouldn’t blame you for skipping out on this one. It’s more of the same with a few new gimmicks and a story that can be ignored for the most part.
A Step Back in the Right Direction
If you enjoy the mindless destruction of the Warriors series, picking this up should be a no-brainer. Comes with new transformations, a roster of 170 characters and new tools to clear the battlefield with. However, if you are kinda burnt out on this, it's okay to skip it.