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[Review] Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper (Wii U)

The release of a new console always ushers in a myriad of ports as well. For owners who already have the game from a previous console, it would likely be a dubious purchase, but it presents a grand new way for others to enjoy the title. In recent times, the Tecmo Koei’s Warrors series has received little love on Nintendo’s end, making Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper the perfect game to return to the red plumber’s console and give their loyal fans another chance to enjoy the series.

Fans and naysayers of the Warriors series alike know what they’re stepping into. Players play as a three-person squad thrown onto a field of thousands of warriors and troops, where the objective could vary from escorting a general to defeating a key general. The key change in the Warriors Orochi is the inclusion of this three-person squad and an ability to switch back and forth between characters,  extending combos and creating a more intense pace.  Rather than create a game where all the characters have identical movesets, Omega Force has actually created different types of move sets based on the games characters are from, simulating the EX centric attacks from Dynasty Warriors 7 or the long strings of charge attacks in the Samurai Warriors series.

The culmination of all of Tecmo Koei’s Warriors franchises, Warriors Orochi 3 throws the typically rivaling forces together, including all the historical and fictional characters from both Dynasty Warriors  and Samurai Warriors, and pits them against the new evil known as the Hydra. Placed initially in the final battle, players have to travel through time and recruit others previously brainwashed by the Hydra in order to prepare for a final showdown. Obviously non-canon and nonsensical with questionable time travel components, the  story is one to be ignored.

From the beginning, it is obvious that the game is one made for fans. While some may decry its exclusion of English voiceovers in favor of a Japanese dub only release,  the reality is that the Japanese dub is vastly superior to any English one in every way possible, making this incredibly satisfying. In addition to characters from Warriors of Troy and Ninja Gaiden who were already in Warriors Orochi 3 for the PS3, additional characters exclusive to Hyper have been added to the mix, including the gun slinging demon slayer Rachel and other Tecmo Koei originals.

Unlike a straight port, Hyper does more than bring the title over to the Wii U. Instead, it brings over a slew of extras that are certain to entice even Playstation 3 owners to buy the title, including the aforementioned extra characters and a new Duel Mode. Additionally, players can expect full compatibility with the Wii U GamePad, whether it be used as an external minimap or as a replacement for TVs with all gameplay taking place on its 6.2 inch screen.

Unlike the modes found in previous iterations, which seem largely experimental in comparison, there was quite a bit of work put into Hyper‘s Duel Mode. Throughout the game’s Story mode, players will be able to collect cards that carry special effects when activated, including simple effects like recovering health to something more complex such as applying more damage over time. It plays out much like the actual game and feels similar to a combo intensive game like the Marvel vs. series, filled with constant switching between characters that make for both big combos and strategic character switching to prevent deaths.

Unfortunately, with the upgrades in Hyper comes some shortcomings. Most notably, the screen can neither handle the same frame rate or number of troops as the game’s Playstation 3 counterpart. As enjoyable as all the new content is, it’s marred by a somewhat desolate looking screen and a fickle frame rate that will change everything to slow action during the most exciting fights.

Though the series is often decried most gamers, diehard fans of the series will likely have picked up Warriors Orochi 3 on the Playstation 3, and would probably be laughing at Wii U owners who have to sit through Hyper‘s frame rate. However, those who have not or only own a Wii U would do themselves a favor by picking up this title, which can best be described as the ultimate Warriors game.

Available on: Wii U; Publisher: Tecmo Koei; Developer: Omega Force; Players: 1 – 2; Released: December 11, 2012; ESRB: Teen; MSRP: $59.99; Official Site

Note: A retail copy was provided to Denkiphile for review purposes by the publisher.

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