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Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce Review

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Tweaked but still shoddy

★★★★★

As anyone who’s squandered their youth reviewing videogames will tell you, there are few things in life more predictable than Dynasty Warriors.

Impossibly popular in their Japanese homeland – but sneered at just about everywhere else – Dynasty Warriors games always boil down to the same thing: weave your one-man army like a whirling dervish of death across sprawling battlefields populated by hundreds of enemies, brutally chopping everyone who stands in your way into bite-sized chunks. Repeat ad nauseam. And while this latest instalment goes some way to bringing extra spice to a tired formula, at its heart Strikeforce offers little new and won’t be the Dynasty Warriors to finally crack the Western market.

A home console port of the 2009 PSP outing, Strikeforce tweaks the standard gameplay with RPG-style character and weapon development, allowing you to customise your hero and finally feel some sort of attachment to the central figure in a Dynasty Warriors game. Unlike before, completing missions also allows players to earn experience and cash that can be spent on evolving their warrior, and the new town area where you can chat to locals and learn about the game’s hidden depths also brings a fresh edge to the experience.

But while the gameplay is largely the same, it’s Strikeforce’s overall shoddiness that makes it a crushing disappointment: the battlefields are smaller than in most Dynasty Warriors games, sacrificing the epic sense of scale the series is famous for; the action is punctuated by irritating loading screens, often slowing the action to a crawl and bringing a distinctly old-fashioned edge to proceedings; and the clever battle strategies introduced in recent Dynasty Warriors are also missing, harking back to the earliest instalments where all you needed to win was patience, thumbs of steel and nothing better to do with your life.

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