S&S Review: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition

Title: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition
Format: PS4(reviewed), PS Vita
Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Publisher: Tecmo Koei
Developer: Omega Force
Price: $59.99, $39.99(Vita)
ESRB Rating: T

The famous button-mashing hack-n-slasher has made it's way onto next gen, but does Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends take advantage of the PS4's hardware?

Story and Presentation: 
You would have to be a huge fanboy or fangirl of these games if you care about the many stories the game tells you. That's not saying that the story is dull, but it's never interesting enough to warrant your full attention.  Just like in the countless prequels, there are more than one campaigns to complete, meaning you get to see different storylines from different perspectives. The game is loosely based on the historical Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dynasty Warriors follows the stories of the Wei, Wu, and Han clans as they relentlessly fight for control of different Chinese provinces.  It serves as a solid foundation for endless battle, and if you're into Chinese history, it could be intriguing to you.  Dull voice acting and a monotonous guitar-ridden soundtrack don't help the game either.  I found the audio to be the weakest component in the game's presentation, which falls in line with the series' track record.  The visuals are sharper than the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, but not by much.  The PS4 and Vita are actually pretty identical in terms of visuals, and with the obvious hardware performance gap between the two platforms, it's a bit disappointing.  It looks like will have to wait another year or two before we start to see any real changes in graphics.  The most important in every Dynasty Warriors game has always been the framerate, which holds solid throughout even the most chaotic scenes.  The game does suffer from a number of technical and visual bugs that do hinder the experience occasionally, but luckily I haven't encountered anything game breaking.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer: 
The game plays pretty much exactly the same as previous games, so you won't need to look up any tutorials if you're familiar with past titles.  You start off by choosing a member from one of the family lines, and taking them through him or her's respective story line.  The combat is fairly basic, as you'll most likely just hammer on the square button.  You can alternate between light and heavy attacks for more combos, and you still have your always reliable Musou attacks.  These serve as your special attacks which can quickly spike your kill count.  With each enemy you kill, your rage meter slowly fills, and the payoff is pretty cool.  You can activate your rage mode, which greatly increases your attack and speed.  There's also a special rage attack which serves as your ultimate attack.  As long as you keep an eye on your health bar, you can pretty much mindlessly button mash to make quick work of the hundreds of enemies attacking you on screen.  Watching your kill count regularly reach quadruple digits is still a blast, even though you're not thinking too much about what you're doing.  The Complete Edition bundles in story expansions that were added to the original game, and you can easily mine a ton of hours out of the game.  The highlights being Lu Bu's own special storyline, and a cool Challenge mode.  The Challenge mode incorporates a time attack which allows you to upload your score to the online leaderboards.  You can play through the campaign with an online friend, but I  could never find anyone online, so I can't report on any lag.  Split-screen is always a great option, playing with a friend will alleviate the repetitive nature of the game.
Final Thoughts:
If you're a newcomer to the series, this will make a great entry point, as this gives the most content to wrap your head around. Veterans will find enjoyment in the new content that's offered in the Complete Edition, so there's something for everyone.  Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends sticks to the traditional formula while bringing in new content to keep things fresh.

+The Best Looking Dynasty Warriors Yet
+Chaotic Battles are a Blast
+Fun new Additions
-Monotonous Audio
-Buggy at Times
- Doesn't take Advantage of the PS4
S&S Rating: 7.5/10
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