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Dynasty Warriors (真・三國無双, Shin Sangokumusō?, Shin Sangokumusou in Japan, literally translated as "True - Unrivaled Three Kingdoms") is a series of tactical action video games created by Omega Force and Koei. The award-winning series[1] is a spin-off of Koei's turn-based strategy Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, based loosely around the Chinese classical novel of the same name. The first game titled Dynasty Warriors, Sangokumusō in Japan, is a fighting game and different from the rest of the series. All English titles are a number ahead of their Japanese counterparts due to the English localization of naming Shin Sangokumusō, a spin-off of the previously mentioned Sangokumusō game, as Dynasty Warriors 2.

Since November 18, 2007, the Dynasty Warriors series has sold more than nine million units worldwide[2] and is Koei's most successful franchise.[3]  

Contents [hide]*1 Game characteristics

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Game characteristicsEdit

The first Dynasty Warriors was a traditional one-on-one fighting game, released in 1997 on PlayStation. Its gameplay style was reminiscent of Tekken with the addition of weapons and some exotic moves.

The next game was released in Japan as Shin Sangokumusou. This game was released in other countries as Dynasty Warriors 2, leading to the discrepancy in title numbers. From this game onwards, the player chooses a playable character and plays a number of levels representing particular battles in the Three Kingdoms period, eventually defeating all other rival kingdoms and uniting China under a common ruler. In this game mode, known as "Musou Mode", the generals are usually chosen from one of the three kingdoms (Wu, Shu or Wei; however, from Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends onwards, independent generals were given full stories as well). Dynasty Warriors 3 had two secret characters, Nü Wa and Fu Xi, that are not playable in Musou Mode.

Both Dynasty Warriors 3 and Dynasty Warriors 5 have individual Musou Modes for each character. In Dynasty Warriors 4, each of the Three Kingdoms have its Musou Mode, in which all characters from a particular kingdom will play the same mode and the player can switch characters during the game.

The stages are presented in a third-person view, with the camera set behind the player as they engage the enemy forces. Each scenario can have different win/lose conditions, but the common losing conditions (defeat of the commander-in-chief, health bar reaching zero and maximum time limit reached) still hold.

The order of events in a full Musou game follows the events depicted in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, with allowances made for non-canon results (e.g. the player's army winning a battle it lost in actual history).

  • A typical order of events in a Musou Mode game for a character from either of the Three Kingdoms
  1. Suppress the Yellow Turban Rebellion
  2. Defeat Dong Zhuo's forces
  3. Defeat other warlords (eg: Yuan Shao, Liu Biao, Lü Bu) except the founders of the Three Kingdoms
  4. Defeat one of the two rival kingdoms
  5. Defeat the last rival kingdom

As for the other characters not from either of the Three Kingdoms, their Musou story modes are purely fictional since in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, most or all of them were eliminated until only the Three Kingdoms were left.

In Dynasty Warriors 5, a relatively more realistic Musou Mode is introduced for each character. Instead of participating in the entire set of their kingdoms' events, the characters appear only in certain battles that they had fought in, as according to the novel or factual history. Therefore, characters will start at different points in time and they may never have opportunities to encounter some of the other characters (eg: Zhuge Liang will never meet Lü Bu or Dong Zhuo in his Musou Mode). In between stages there are some dramatic cutscenes, in which the character will express his/her thoughts on the situation, adding a more personal touch and keeping the player updated on the events. Besides, a character's Musou Mode may end before the unification of China at any point of time. However, some characters such as the three founders may continue to participate in battles that occurred after their deaths (eg: Cao Cao appearing in Battle of Wuzhang Plains).

For the Game Boy Advance version, Dynasty Warriors Advance has only thirteen playable characters and the battle system has been reduced to basic moves with the addition of a power-up system, due to space constraints. The weapon system has also been overhauled with over 200 weapons. The maps have also been altered, such that characters move between spots on the map on each turn while fighting real-time battles on a smaller scale. The plot of the game also changes due to the limited number of maps and characters available.

The Dynasty Warriors game series is also known for changing the traditional ways of how some of the historical characters were depicted in Romance of the Three Kingdoms or in historical records. For example, Zhang He appears to be more feminine while Wei Yan becomes a bestial tribal warrior. Some of them also wield weapons that are anachronistic, such as Ling Tong's Nunchaku and Sun Ce's Tonfas. A touch of mysticism is also added, as some characters such as Zhuge Liang, Sima Yi and Zuo Ci have the ability to use magic in their attacks. Female characters (except Zhu Rong) who did not participate in any battles in the novel or in history are depicted as fearsome female warriors with exceptional fighting skills and weapons.

CharactersEdit

Main article: List of Dynasty Warriors charactersThere are a total of 48 playable characters in the Dynasty Warriors game series as of the fifth installment. Four characters from the earlier installments were removed while an additional seven characters from the 48 do not appear in Dynasty Warriors 6. Each of these characters is armed with a weapon that may be a conventional historical one, an exotic martial arts weapon or a magical weapon that enhances his/her mystical powers. From Dynasty Warriors 3 onwards, each character can choose from a range of weapons with their own power-ups and ability enhancements, as well as higher-level weapons that extend his/her attack chain.

StagesEdit

Many of the stages are recreations of notable battles in the late Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms periods, that are usually depicted in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There are also some original creations in the newer installments that are purely fictional, such as the battle between the Nanman and Wu. The following is a list of common stages featured in almost all the installments:  

SoundtrackEdit

The music for the Dynasty Warriors game series is a mixture of traditional Chinese instrumentals, hard rock and heavy metal. Most stages have their own exclusive music tracks played and the tracks change according to the battle situation or events. Lü Bu, the most powerful character in the game, has his own theme song.

SpinoffsEdit

Following the success of Dynasty Warriors, Koei released Dynasty Tactics in 2002 and its sequel in the following year, focusing on strategy and tactics in the same Three Kingdoms setting.

Probably the third most recognized franchise of Koei, Samurai Warriors (Sengoku Musou in Japan) series, was introduced in 2004, instead using Japan's Sengoku Period while still retaining similar gameplay like its predecessor.

2006 saw the release of Dynasty Warriors Mahjong (Jan Sangoku Musou in Japan), which is completely different from the rest of the series, as it has the same characters play the game Mahjong, rather than having the gameplay of the original games.

In 2007, Koei released their first game for the new generation consoles XBox 360 and PlayStation 3; Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (Gundam Musou in Japan), combining the popular Gundam series with their gameplay, and earlier that same year, Warriors Orochi (Musou Orochi in Japan) was released, combining the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series into a fictional crossover. A sequel to that game, Warriors Orochi 2, was released in April 2008 in Japan and in September in North America.

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, based on The Hundred Years' War between the Kingdoms of England and France in the 14th and 15th century was also released in 2007, using gameplay similar to Koei's earlier Kessen series. Hokuto Musō (北斗無双?), a spinoff based on Fist of the North Star was announced for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the October 15, 2009 issue of Weekly Famitsu[4].

Warriors: Legends of Troy, the first game in the series to receive an M rating by the ESRB, will also be released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles.

Xtreme Legends and EmpiresEdit

In 2002, an Xtreme Legends (Moushouden in Japan) was released as a supplement to Dynasty Warriors 3, featuring story modes for the characters in the Other category. Since then, Xtreme Legends expansions have been released for every main Dynasty Warriors title for PlayStation 2 to date, adding new gameplay modes and more powerful weapons. It is currently unknown if an Xtreme Legends will be released for Dynasty Warriors 6.

In 2004, another expansion was released beginning with Dynasty Warriors 4. The Empires supplement uses the action gameplay of the regular series while combining strategical and tactical elements from Koei's earlier series Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Dynasty Warriors 5 also received an Empires expansion in 2006 and in 2009 for Dynasty Warriors 6.

The Samurai Warriors series follows its predecessor by having Xtreme Legends and Empires expansions too, with the first Xtreme Legends for the first Samurai Warriors released in 2004 and the first Empires expansion released for Samurai Warriors 2 in 2007.

Ports on other systemsEdit

Dynasty Warriors 3 was ported to the Xbox system in 2002 and since then subsequent titles have been released for the same system with the Xtreme Legends and Empires expansions.

In 2004, Koei created the first Dynasty Warriors title for portable game handhelds, Dynasty Warriors, on Playstation Portable, and in the following year, Dynasty Warriors Advance for Game Boy Advance.

Dynasty Warriors 4 Hyper in 2005 is marked as the first game for PCs. In 2006, Dynasty Warriors BB (renamed Dynasty Warriors Online in 2007) was released as an online game.

Mispronunciation of namesEdit

The English voice-overs of the Dynasty Warriors game series mispronounces the Hanyu Pinyin names of characters and locations.

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