Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends PS2 Review

There has been that many different versions of Dynasty Warriors released that if the end of the world came tomorrow Koei could die with the solace that plenty of Dynasty Warriors titles have been developed and sold. If ever there was a cash cow to point the finger at, then Dynasty Warriors would be first in line, although complaining about the lack of effort is out of the question…sometimes.

The problem with Dynasty Warriors is that the real effort often goes into the expansions. A good example here is Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, which brought many satisfying tactical elements to the table. The release of Dynasty Warriors 5 spelled a back to basics approach and the loss of these elements, thus resulting in us giving the game a rather unflattering 6. This of course is simply because an Empires version of number five is on its way. Cheeky!

Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends is everything that you love or hate about the series, which means the crux of the game is still that of ripping through legions of enemy soldiers and feeling oddly proud of yourself when the big number flashes up on the screen upon reaching a milestone number of slayings. Some things just never change.

At least some effort has gone into the game elsewhere, notable is the advent of the Destiny mode. If you’ve always fancied starting a Dynasty Warriors game as a mere crawler, and under the general of your choosing then you’ll be pleased to know that this new mode allows you to do just that. Firstly you create your future powerful warrior, and then it’s onto the battlefield to prove your worth by hacking your way through unit after unit of enemy soldiers. Success yields rewards through promotions, and you’ll find yourself turning into a more capable warrior and will eventually possess the qualities of a leader. Staying close to your general during battle rewards you with stat upgrades and health, this also makes promotion come to you sooner as obeying commands is the mark of any good soldier.

RPG elements add a little depth to the Destiny mode when outside of battle. Upon scoring victories and completing challenges (chosen before going into battle) you are awarded with points, which can then be used to upgrade your soldier. Combos can be extended, Musou attacks unlocked for use, tactical advantages learned, health meters increased and more. Some of the upgrades can only be gained after reaching a certain status, which means a lowly soldier can’t order ambushes, as this is reserved only for those skilled in leadership.

Besides the Destiny mode, there’s 18 new missions in Legend mode, a cooperative option in the Xtreme mode and a few tweaks here and there that even the most hardened of fans may not notice (new difficulty level, more powerful heavy weapons etc), but the question is, is it all enough? Combined with the Destiny mode the series lives to fight another day, but with the eighth game on its way, we’ve got to wonder how much longer we can continue to enjoy the series in its current ageing format.