Recently there was an interview with Akihiro Suzuki, lead producer at Omega Force. Surprisingly, he readily admitted that the Dynasty Warriors series hasn't changed much over the years and doubted that it ever would.
The Asian audience love it and Westerners simply don't understand the significance of China's Three Kingdoms story. So, why alter anything and alienate the core fans in order to please a minority?
Why jeopardise what has been a nice little earner (over 12 million games since 1997 - that's a third of what all the Halo games have sold) for the sake of a few whiny Western game journalists?
And so, as whiny Western games journalists bracing ourselves for another Dynasty Warriors review, we dive screaming into Dynasty Warriors 7...
Unsurprisingly, first impressions are that little has changed: there's the same relentless, pumping rawk guitars as your flamboyantly dressed warlord hacks and slashes through endless waves of identical axe fodder pausing momentarily to hack and slash for a bit longer when faced with slightly beefier opposing generals.
The voiceovers are still awful and RSI from mashing your way through remains a threat. So far, so Dynasty Warriors. However, there are indeed some new features and some of them, dare we say it, are quite entertaining.
For starters, the retelling of the Three Kingdoms here is the most coherent it's been in any Dynasty Warriors we've played (it now includes events and characters from the later Jin Dynasty too).
Once in battle, we also noticed a few other tweaks - characters can wield any weapon (in fact, alternate between two weapons). Earning skill points (from defeating enemy generals) can be used to enhance your combo moves and improve your Musou (special move) gauge.
We also sampled the occasional siege weaponry (like catapults and ballistas) and unleashed tigers and elephants into battle. We even found ourselves getting stuck into Conquest mode, which is effectively a colossal game of Blockbusters on a China-sized board with each hexagon representing a geographical battle you take part in.
Does this make this the most enjoyable Dynasty Warriors we have played? Possibly, but that's like us saying "the most erotic episode of Emmerdale." It's unlikely to win new fans but, frankly, we don't think DW7 gives a flying slash.
Order Xbox World 360 here and have it delivered straight to your door
A few pleasant additions to the tried and tested formula but DW7 isn't searching for new fans.
- Coherent story
- Conquest mode
- Rinse and repeat gameplay