Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends Review (PS3)

Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends is for all intents and purposes an expansion pack. What it does is takes the gameplay groundwork set by Dynasty Warriors 7’s release and adds new scenarios, characters and missions to that, fleshing it out to something that Koei believe is an acceptable disc-based release – though if it really is that or not is up for debate.

While those who don’t know better would claim all Dynasty Warriors titles are the same, the seventh game in the series marked something of a restoration to what fans wanted and expected – it did away with the lacklustre Renbu character progression and combo system in favour of a simpler but overall better system more similar to those on offer in the earliest games in the series.

Some new warriors join the fight in XL...

That change is still present here, and is very welcome – and this release likewise follows the tradition of the other Xtreme Legends titles of old – and I’ve always assumed it was deliberate on Koei’s part that the subtitle for the expanded versions of these games abbreviated to ‘XL’. That’s what they ostensibly all are, and the intention to expand on the content of the core release is still here even if the execution appears to be lacking.

3 new characters have been added to the roster – which was already massive – and that pushes the number of hugely embellished real-world warriors and heroes you can play as to over 60. Alongside that there’s of course new weapons that they’ll use and new combos for those characters, but the biggest new addition comes in the form of a mode – Legend Mode.

Legend Mode and Xtreme Legends in general doesn’t mess around, allowing you to choose from all of the 60-plus warriors from word one. One must be selected as the leader and one as second-in-command, and the pair is then tasked with rebuilding a stronghold from a near-wreck to a powerful base.

The stronghold is essentially like the city states from Dynasty Warriors 7’s regular edition’s Conquest mode, functioning as RPG-like city hubs with characters to talk to and stores to visit that allow you to upgrade weapons and buy new ones. Even battles, which strengthen the stronghold, are ultimately launched from this hub.

Old faces keep on killing...

I found this mode less compelling than Dynasty Warriors 7’s ‘one more turn’ Conquest mode, which dumped players onto a huge RISK-like map, and it lacks the proper story hooks to be as engaging as that game’s story mode, either. Battles in Legend Mode appear to be more exciting and packed with enemies from early on, but you’ll soon find that any semblance of narrative is disappeared in favour of straight-up battles where all you do is kill. Dynasty Warriors games have always been about X, X, X, Y, Y – and repeat – but this game does a worse job of hiding that fact than its predecessor.

If Legend mode fills the shoes of Story mode from the original release, Challenge mode fills in for the extremely addictive Conquest mode and is even more lacking than Legend mode is. It offers a few different challenges that really aren’t all that interesting – and it’s strange to me that this mode makes little use of some of the more dynamic mission options and twists from the previous game.

Remix Mode is the final thing on offer in this package, but the catch here is you need save data from Dynasty Warriors 7’s regular disc to actually make it work. Importing that save data into the new game allows you to slot in the Dynasty Warriors 7 disc, load data from it, and play through a tweaked versions of that game’s Story and Conquest modes.

Playing 7’s modes this way means that some new story events will be peppered in, and you can pick any of the officers from the get-go – a potentially big deal to Warriors fans. It’s a shame that the Dynasty Warriors 7 content isn’t just included, though – Xtreme Legends is like a standalone, expensive expansion – that then requires an old disc be inserted for one of its modes. To put it politely, it’s cheeky.

Ultimately, it’s the same old Warriors experience

If you want to know how good the core gameplay is in Xtreme Legends, head on over and read our review of the core original Dynasty Warriors 7 release. In terms of combat, visuals and having properly traversal battlefields it’s a transformative moment for the series, and that gameplay is replicated to a fault here. It’s satisfying and addictive if simple, and pushes Dynasty Warriors forwards.

Xtreme Legends, though, is a proposition only for the hardcore Warriors fan or at a bargain basement price. With the original Dynasty Warriors 7 now reduced, picking up this package that arguably has less compelling content and asks for the original disc for some of its modes seems crazy. If you’re just looking for some mindless hacking and slashing, though, this’ll do fine.

Game advertisements by <a href="" target="_blank">Game Advertising Online</a> require iframes.