Dynasty Warriors 9 Open World Exploration Is An Endless Stream of War

, but in between those gigantic battles, there's plenty to do. Players can take on missions in [...]

(Photo: Koei Tecmo)

Dynasty Warriors 9 is likely to offer the most game play time ever in its history, and half of that is due to the game's gorgeous open world. Created with real landmarks in mind, the ever-expanding map in Dynasty Warriors 9 breaks players free of previous campaign limits like never before. There are tons of other features, of course: fights are spiced up tenfold by the new State Combo System, and players can raise purchased horses just like they'd level up any character, earning extra points for taking out enemies while on horseback.

Still, immersion seems to be the key when it comes to this new title. Like any other Dynasty Warriors, players face hoards of enemies while in command of a legendary character from Chinese history(/lore), but in between those gigantic battles, there's plenty to do. Players can take on missions in several different ways to determine their ultimate path, multitasking along the way to uncover information from Watch Towers, level up their horses, and even furnish their bases with customization options that go as far as a gong that changes the background music in your home. This might sounds a little like playing something along the lines of Animal Crossing in the middle of a Dynasty Warriors campaign, but when I was able to return to the base that had been set up, it was interesting just to explore and poke around the home to see what kind of reactions I might provoke.

Let's be real for a second, though: the added features and limitless exploration are great additions to the game, but nearly everyone plays Dynasty Warriors for the satisfying feeling of cleaning out hundreds of enemies in a few fancy sweeps of their weapon. As with the older titles, your troops can and will take time to get to you if you're well and beyond their levels, which most of the characters in the available demo were. Regardless, the action is tons of fun, and that State Combo System mentioned at the top chains several attacks together at once for some serious clean-up.

Dynasty Warriors has always been about coming home and relieving some stress for this particular writer, and in that respect, I don't think the game will ever disappoint - it will always be easy for new players to pick up, and challenging for long-time fans who know how to form strategies beyond melee combat. This particular play-through gave me everything I could have wanted in my limited time with Dynasty Warriors 9, so I'm definitely looking forward to trying out the full game when it hits consoles this spring.