For over 20 years, the Dynasty Warriors series, which popularised the action hack-n-slash “Musou” subgenre, has built up a cult following amongst gamers who enjoy dispatching hordes upon hordes of enemies with extreme prejudice. With the ninth installment garnering less than favorable reviews due to its radically different open-world structure, it seems that going back a step and refining one of the series’ most successful titles was ultimately the way to go on the Nintendo Switch.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition is a mouthful of a printed title to say out loud three times fast yet serves as a near-perfect banner for the insane amount of content and value it brings to the table. Forget for a moment that it boasts a roster of over 80 playable characters from across the entire spectrum of the classic Chinese mythos of the Three Kingdoms. Ignore that it can take upwards of 140 hours to finish everything the game has to offer if you’re a completionist. This game has something to offer almost anyone.
Feel like building the most badass base to earn the Emperor’s favour? Ambition mode is for you. Prefer to fly by the seat of your pants by completing time-constrained challenges? You better hit up Challenge mode. Perhaps you’d rather roam about and crush anyone and everything that strikes your fancy. Free mode is for you, then. Let’s not even mention the expansive Story mode that will let you experience all of the big Three Kingdoms battles in glorious army stomping glory. There’s a lot to do in this game package and the best part is that it’s all on the cartridge. No DLC. No season pass.
As far as performance is concerned, the game runs fantastically well in both handheld and docked mode. It’s remarkable how being thrust into even the largest of crowds the Switch manages to maintain a consistent frame rate, even when landing some of the game’s incredibly flashy Musou moves. The only time frame rate seemed to take a hit was during co-op mode (yes, it has a co-op mode, too). Granted, the game’s models and assets are all based on the original Dynasty Warriors 8 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 but with the addition of smoother textures from its various iterations and downloadable content over the years, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition is no slouch and feels very much like a game made for today’s gaming landscape.
This all sounds great for veterans of the genre but how does it fair for newcomers? I’m quite pleased to say, as being one of the said newbies, that despite the astronomical amount of content and the overwhelming size of its playable roster, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition is a great entry point. Whether you’re picky with your game types or are the experimenting type, all you need is to jump in with both feet and you’ll be finding yourself losing hours of your life tearing down wave upon wave of helpless grunts and challenging generals. I had a lot of fun seeing how far I can extend my combos and keep my carnage going through the game’s weapon switching system and special moves. A big bonus comes thanks to the Switch’s portability as the game feels like it was meant to be played on the go.
There is nothing truly new or boundary-pushing in the monstrous game package that is Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition yet the sheer amount of content and potential for replayability makes this a worthy buy whether you’re new to the series or long in the tooth with your Chinese army plowing. With a staggering price-for-content value proposition, near-flawless performance outside of co-op and some of the most entertaining hack-n-slash experiences on the market, you can’t go wrong with picking up Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Koei Tecmo