A back-to-basics approach is taken with the latest Koei Tecmo offering, as we’ll detail in this Warriors Orochi 4 Review. Developer Omega Force had a rough time in early 2018 with the poorly-received “open-world” of Dynasty Warriors 9(My Review).
Warriors Orochi 4 opts to play it safe, returning to the stage and objective-based hack and slash gameplay that puts enjoyment well above historically accuracy.
Zeus – a Greek God – has scattered snake bracelets across this new world and brought the Warriors of China and Japan together once again. With their memories wiped, these legends of East Asian history clash with each other over the new-found power of the Gods.
Whether it’s on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or Steam; gamers can enjoy this PvE power trip both at home and on the go. But is the experience worthy of its godly cast? Read on to find out.
How does Warriors Orochi 4 play?
Returning to what it does best, Omega Force utilises the tried-and-tested formula of the Warriors games for Warriors Orochi 4. Pick a character, select a story chapter or side mission and go to town on thousands of enemies that litter the battlefields.
Hack and slash plenty of fodder, take down enemy commanders and complete objectives for bonus currency, experience and brand new weapons.
Each character has their own unique weapon style – though they play largely the same – so finding the one that suits you could take some narrowing down but every character is ultimately workable and effective.
The stages are plentiful and each has its own objectives. However, it usually boils down to defeating the enemy commander.
Warriors Orochi 4 does a good job of shielding the commander from immediate defeat for the most part, meaning that battles can range from two minutes to twenty depending on the level.
New Features: Oh, Ho Ho – it’s Magic!
As well as the usual normal attacks, unique charge attacks and the devastating Musou attacks, Warriors Orochi 4 introduces three new attacks courtesy of the Sacred Treasure system.
There are quite a few “Sacred Treasures”. Many are shared between characters, but there’s enough to add a great deal of variety to the already-huge 170-character roster.
On PlayStation 4, by holding R1, the warriors can use one of three “Magic” attacks based on their Sacred Treasure type. My main throughout the game – Tadakatsu Honda – remained a favourite due to his Trident.
The square attack creates a sweeping tidal wave that carries yourself and any enemies caught forward. Triangle creates a hard-hitting whirlpool that draws in and decimates enemies.
The third is a Magic Musou, draining the Musou gauge to swing a huge trident down and shatter the surrounding area. Honestly, I didn’t use the Musou too often. The standard attacks were the most useful.
Experience Points: Highs and Lows
In Warriors Orochi 4, as per Orochi tradition, teams of three are taken into battle. Though each can be swapped in and out at the touch of a trigger button, it’s not necessary. A single character benefits the entire group.
For example, only using Honda would level up my Athena and Zhou Tai. Not only that, but each of the team members will receive new weapons at the end of a stage if enemy officers have dropped them (which they often do).
Sadly, unlike previous Warriors Orochi games, farming experience seems much harder. Even in the late game stages, it’s actually more beneficial to put your characters in the training camps via the main menu.
Training camps aren’t perfect either, however, as they only benefit you after a certain amount of mission completions. That may be fine during the main game, but for after-story levelling, it’s a massive chore.
It’s not that important in the long-run, but end-game fast levelling in the previous games encouraged the use of various characters. As a result of the slow pace no matter which difficulty I played on, Tadakatsu Honda was the only character I could take out and use reliably.
Honda became strong through the investment of Growth Points, which I thought would be the saving grace of the slow pace. Sadly, Growth Points can only go so far and require a ridiculous amount of farming to have any real impact.
In short, I wish the experience system was as broken as it used to be. Especially seeing as there’s nothing else to do but check out other characters once all of the story and side missions are done.
My advice: pick a character you love early, or hang on to those growth points as they come rolling in through the natural story progression.
Weapon Systems: Finding and Fusion
Weapons come in one of four grades, each colour-coded and with a more impressive design as they rise in rank.
The best weapons are obtained on the hardest of difficulties in the later stages. When the story is complete, Chaos difficulty is unlocked. If the player completes all of the objectives in a stage, they’ll obtain a unique, top-tier weapon for a specific character, depending on the stage.
Dismantling weapons will break their skills down and bank them for fusing in to other, more powerful weapons. The best skills can be found by completing Hundun special missions.
If Hundun appears after a mission, he’ll turn a random stage into a “Pandemonium” level of difficulty. Death comes easy but the rewards are worth diving in, with plenty of crystals for levelling skills and unique weapon skills that can’t be found anywhere else.
Skill Trees: Characters and Camp
Each character has a basic skill tree. Per level up, they’ll accumulate skill points to invest and expand their attack combo strings or some other aspect of their abilities specifically.
There are some generic spots that are the same for all characters but the unique traits are enough to make you consider each character carefully when picking a favourite. Skill Orbs can also be obtained from objective completions for fast-tracking a character’s skill tree.
Warriors Orochi 4 also has a Camp Skill Tree. Requiring a much heavier investment of gems (one of the three currencies in the game), crystals and special objective completions, these are the most difficult to obtain after a certain point.
From improving basic stats for all characters to unlocking new Training camp styles, Camp Upgrades are worth pursuing.
Presentation and Graphics
Warriors Orochi 4 is presented largely via static menus and brief conversations. Honestly, I feel more could have been done in the menu and transition department. It’s somewhat bland in this respect. However, the cut-scene movies in the game are thoroughly enjoyable. Even if they are a bit short.
Ordinarily, there’s not much to speak of when it comes to a Warriors game’s graphics. This time, however, the character designs and costumes are of a remarkable quality. I’ve legitimately spent hours combing through the huge roster in the Gallery. There, the models can be inspected.
Camera control is limited in this mode, but it’s here that you can see the great detail in Nobunaga’s ebony armour with the gold trim and violet split-cape.
For the more lewd-inclined, there’s definitely some jiggle physics involved when it comes to Lianshi and the like. I’ve done the hard work for you already and checked so you don’t have to. I’m sure you won’t bother now….
But all kidding aside, it’s rare that we appreciate those fine details amidst the battlefield. I don’t know if I’ve just never taken note of it before, but even inspecting Xu Shu’s green, white and gold hoodie gave me a new-found respect for whoever is designing these character models.
And again; Lianshi, Athena and Diaochan. You didn’t hear it from me though.
Warriors Orochi 4 consists of a Story Mode featuring five chapters and a Side Stories section.
Each stage has a grading for each difficulty level and there’s a trophy for getting S Rank in Chaos difficulty in every mission. I can’t speak on whether or not there’s a gameplay benefit for doing so, however.
Personally, I’m a bit disappointed with how Warriors Orochi 4 compares to 3 in this respect. I much preferred the timeline branches and the more interesting objectives.
Many of Orochi 4’s objectives are after-thoughts and don’t have any real gameplay benefits, whereas its predecessor had story events unfold and characters unlock as a result.
Some may prefer the more streamlined experience for 4, but I wish it had a dash more personality as it’s superior in almost every other way to the previous games.
Sadly, I can’t speak much to the online component: Battle Arena. I’ve tried over and over again to start a game and it just doesn’t seem to be connecting me with other players.
The game does support two-player co-op in the story, however, so there’s some way to play together locally at least.
There’s an entire relationship mechanic that returns in Orochi 4 known as “Bonds”. Its impact is minor, but increasing the character bonds leads to little bits of dialogue between characters that are fun to watch.
Again, I just wish they were more than static story-board scenes. They *are* fully voice acted, though only in Japanese. Given the state of Dynasty Warriors 9’s dubbing, however, maybe that’s for the best.
There’s a Gallery to view character models, expressions and hear their various voice lines. It would be better if the camera were more flexible, but it’s good enough. Previous cut-scenes can be re-watched at your leisure once unlocked.
All of the music in the game can be listened to in the Gallery. Finally, some brief recaps of the previous Warriors Orochi games are available to read.
Should You Play Warriors Orochi 4?
Warriors Orochi 4 is a has given me renewed faith in Omega Force as a developer. As far as gameplay is concerned, it’s the best in the series. The three new magic attacks increase that tried and true power trip feeling, allowing for a few more crowd control options in particular.
What’s most interesting to me is how this game makes me reflect on Dynasty Warriors 9. It was ambitious, but it sacrificed what made the series enjoyable for something more semi-realistic.
Warriors Orochi 4 is a step back in terms of ambition but brings back that god-like feeling of mowing down thousands of enemies in the immediate vicinity.
I’ve loved my time with Warriors Orochi 4, but there’s very little worth doing in the end-game. The severe level grind even in the post-game discourages experimentation with other characters. In a game with 170 of them, that’s a problem. Especially when its predecessor allowed for that.
Finally, I wish there was a bit more style to the substance. Instead, there are many static cut-scenes and menus to roll through. What cinematic moments there are tend to be enjoyable but short-lived.
Gamers who will suit this game…
As always, Musou / Warriors games are a niche market. It’s a fun, mindless power-trip perfect for catching up on podcasts and losing yourself in. There’s plenty of content and a huge cast of characters to test out.
Though the game does make it difficult to test said characters out at full capacity.
Warriors fans that found themselves disappointed with Dynasty Warriors 9 should be pleased with Warriors Orochi 4.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Three new magic attacks enhance the Warriors power-trip gameplay.||Levelling more than one character is a chore.||None experienced|
|Returns to the classic Warriors style of individual, smaller stages with heaps of enemies to destroy.||Bare-bones presentation for menus & character interactions.|
|Beautiful character models with splendid armour and weapons.||Story layout not as interesting as the previous Orochi game.|
|Lianshi is great.|
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