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Dynasty Warriors Vol.2 PSP

Published by Koei
Developed by Koei
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £24.99

The Dynasty Warriors series has long been a popular mass combat action game so it made sense then that a version of the game was made available for the Sony PSP when the console launched. As most of you probably know the game uses the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel as its source material and you’ll find many of the officers from the novel included in the game. Now, more than 15 months after the original PSP Dynasty Warriors, we have Dynasty Warriors Vol.2.

Dynasty Warriors Vol.2 offers a Musou Mode, a Free Mode, a Multiplayer Mode and a Camp section that allows you to look up information on all of the officers and hints etc. that you have acquired in the game. The main mode in the game is the Musou Mode. Here you’ll select an officer from the forces of Wei, Wu or Shu. Once you’ve picked your officer (initially there are about half a dozen officers for each force and each officer has their own special abilities and attributes) you’ll have to fight through various stages to conquer a map. Free Mode basically allows you to create your scenario with up to eight stages. The game also includes support for ad hoc multiplayer gaming for 2 - 4 players. There are four different game modes, Bombs Away, Battle Royal, Time Attack and Sudden Death.

In Musou mode the idea is to conquer a map that’s broken up into small stages. The stages will differ according to the force you’ve chosen. You’ll battle one stage at a time, which means you don’t have the expansive battlefields that you’d find in the Dynasty Warriors games that have appeared on the PlayStation 2 or Xbox 360 consoles. The battles don’t require you to defeat every enemy but simply to achieve victory conditions. Essentially you’ll have to reduce the enemy’s moral to zero or defeat the enemy generals etc. You have to keep an eye on your side’s morale and provisions because should they reach zero then you’ll be defeated. Upon clearing a stage your officer (or officers) you've used in battle will acquire growth points that can be used to improve their various attributes.  Your officers will also gain experience according to how they performed in battle and eventually level-up. In Dynasty Warriors Vol.2 your officers can also gain mount experience from riding horses and it’s possible to acquire horses. You can have up to eight horses at any one time.

Dynasty Warriors Vol.2 is a game for those enthusiastic fans of the series that just can’t get enough of the mass combat action. It’s not going to appeal to those who haven’t enjoyed previous versions of the game or indeed those who were hoping for some major changes to the tried and tested formula. The basic combat mechanics and the AI you fight against are all pretty much as they were in previous games, which again will either please or displease you depending on your thoughts of the other Dynasty Warrior titles. You can bring other officers into a battle and these have their own support abilities that can help. At times though, it doesn’t feel like they are doing a great deal to help the cause.

Graphically the game looks good but it’s not any better, visually speaking, than any of the previous Dynasty Warriors or Samurai Warriors games that have appeared on the PSP. The problem of enemies seemingly popping up out of nowhere still exists. The terrain textures are not the most detailed but in fairness no one would have expected a PSP version of Dynasty Warriors to set new graphics standards for the series. The frame rate is pretty impressive and you’ll experience no slowdown apart from in the most hectic battle sequences and even then it’s never problematic. The load times are also pretty good considering how long they can be on the PSP. The character art used on the menus and in dialogues is once again impressive.

Deaf gamers won’t have any problems with Dynasty Warriors Vol.2. The game is subtitled (in fact I don’t think there’s any speech in the game) and you’ll be aware of all the important dialogue and mission briefings and objectives etc. All of the information in the Camp mode is displayed in text as is all of the information on the various screens you’ll access during the game. During battles all conversations and objectives are shown in text. Dialogue outside of the battles has the relevant character portraits and names displayed next to the text so you’ll always know who is saying what. The game makes a good use of icons to convey information. The game manual is pretty comprehensive in explaining how to do everything, which makes a nice change from the usual pamphlet you get with most PSP games.

PSP owners looking for some more Dynasty Warriors action on the PSP can’t really go wrong with Dynasty Warriors Vol.2. The missions are of a smaller scale than those found on the PlayStation 2 versions but the same real-time mass combat action mechanics are all here and just as they were before. Of course if you’ve grown tired of the Dynasty Warriors formula this may not be a good thing and those hoping for some major changes to the basics of the game play will probably be disappointed that this hasn’t happened in Dynasty Warriors Vol.2. Still Dynasty Warriors Vol.2 will please those who like the series just how it is and it feels as at home on the PSP as it does on the PlayStation 2. I just wish Koei would bring their Dynasty Tactics series to the PSP.

Overall Game Rating 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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Dynasty Warriors Vol.2 is a good game, let's make no mistake about that, and at the asking price it's good value for money but it would have been better to have seen some major changes to the Dynasty Warriors formula rather than small refinements.