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    Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate

    DURING THE FIRST year of a new console's lifecycle, you expect some level of graphical overlap between the twilight games on the old hardware and the fledgling games on the new hardware. It just stands to reason that the full potential of the new processors will take some time to unlock. However, what you don’t expect is for a non-indie title to come along that’s more reminiscent of the generation before last unless, of course, you’re talking about the Warriors series, in which case it’s less of a surprise and more of a forgone conclusion.

    It’s easy to criticise the Warriors series for its old-school sensibilities and unwillingness to change, but when you look at the combined sales figures which are just shy of 30 million it’s clear that some of us just can’t get enough of the runaway lawnmower routine. To this end, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is about as typical a sequel as an Omega Force game gets. It’s an updated version of the third game in the Orochi crossover series, and while that translates to a lot of characters and content, the only real difference between this and the PlayStation 3 version are the larger crowds of enemies, the higher resolution textures and the option to hear dialogue through the DualShock 4 speaker.

    As far as generational jumps go, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is more of a tentative hop than a lunging leap. The previous game introduced the new ‘Wonder’ character type, the formidable True Triple Attack Mode and a playable version of Ryu hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, and for the most part, Ultimate follows suit. The inclusion of Kasumi from Dead Or Alive and Sophitia from Soul Calibur brings the total number of playable characters up to a hefty 145, and although the story still has
    you travelling back in time to stop the advance of Orochi and his demon army, the addition of four new chapters effectively doubles the length of the Story mode.

    The general flow of the game will be familiar to anyone who’s played a Warriors game since the latter half of the PlayStation 2 era. Each mission has its own victory conditions, and by hunting down the enemy officers and creating space for your AI soldiers to advance, you’ll gradually turn the tide of battle. That aspect of the game is still rewarding, especially when you ramp up the difficulty, but what ultimately lets Ultimate down is the tepid combat system. You can parry an enemy’s attack, commandeer a dragon-shaped tank and switch between your three characters mid-combo. But even when you add all these elements together, it rarely feels like experimentation is encouraged. It’s far easier just to find something cheap and then abuse the hell out of it.

    That’s always been one of the series’ less desirable traits. It doesn’t have the technical sophistication to challenge the hack-and-slash greats, and yet, there’s something haphazardly admirable about the way Omega Force continues to innovate within its own creative vacuum. The new Gauntlet mode is a prime example of this. It takes the basis of the main Story mode which is to dominate the battlefield
    and applies it to multi-tiered dungeons.

    You start on the first floor with five characters that you can arrange into different formations, and as you fight your way through the assembled enemies and loot the various chests, you advance to the lower levels with better gear.

    It feels almost disingenuous to compare this makeshift mode to Blizzard’s finest but you’d be hard pressed to find a more relevant comparison. The same is also true of the returning Duel mode and its rough attempt to turn Ultimate into a three-on-three fighting game.

    Marvel Vs Capcom 3 it certainly isn’t, but as interesting sideshow that harks right back to the very first Warriors game, it’s forgettable at worst and a guilty pleasure at best. That sums up Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate fairly well. There’s nothing here that’s going to change your mind if you dislike the series already, but if your love of Musou attacks and Eastern history hasn’t faltered since 2000, there’s a lot of game here for the money.


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