Played on: Playstation 2
This is an expansion pack of Dynasty Warriors 5. It is possible to play this game without owning that other game but it will only feel like half a game if that’s the case. This game really comes together when I import the Free Mode and Musou Mode from the latter game.
Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends contains several gameplay enhancements.
There is the Legends which have eighteen new stages for the familiar warriors of Shu, Wu, Wei, and smaller ragtag kingdoms to duke it out in. These stages reuse the same map as previous stages in the Musou Mode of the previous game, with only cosmetic changes done to the mission and enemy distribution. The most hilarious one is “Husbands and Wives”, though, where the coupled teams of Zhen Ji/Cao Pi (Wei), Yue Ying/Zhuge Liang (Shu), Da Qiao/Sun Ce (Wu), and Xiao Qiao/Zhao Yun (Wu) duke it out to win an Imperial Seal from Zuo Ci. The cut scene where Zhen Ji and Yue Ying trade insults about each other’s husband has to be seen – it’s a riot. But other than that, the Legends mode is the same old stuff from Koei – nothing new is done to the gameplay, although the enemies have longer live bars and damage from weapons seem to be decreased. Also, instead of one guard captain defending a base or a checkpoint, there are now three. Ditto gate captains. The AI is still as dumb as ever though, with them standing still at times to allow free hits from the player.
The Xtreme mode is like a survival of the fittest mode where the player works his or her way through stages. There are no healing items or weapons to be found in the stages, only money which can be used to buy said items in shops. There are also blacksmiths that will upgrade the weapons of the player using iron that the player discovers while testing Darwin’s theory about survival of the fittest in the stages of this mode. Gameplay, however, is still the same.
Destiny mode is a stage where the player creates a foot soldier and then plays through several stages under the supervision of a general from one of the four kingdoms. He or she can move up the ranks, receive new outfits, or learn new skills as the player clears stages. Skills to be learned include combos, musou, and charge, so this means that the player starts out with a foot soldier armed with either a basic spear, sword, or glaive with only the ability to perform two-hit combos with no charge or musou. Fortunately, leveling up is obscenely easy in this game (you can get the full package of musou, charges, et cetera after clearing five or six stages and also, the AI is pretty dumb). This mode is interesting but unfortunately it has only eight stages for each character and therefore the game ends just when things are becoming interesting.
The only reason to get this is if your favorite characters are Diao Chan, Sun Shang Xiang, Da Qiao, and Xiao Qiao because these characters have heavy fourth weapons. This game comes with a fix: heavy weapons now cannot be interrupted in their attack and these weapons also have increased damage. Therefore, someone like Sun Shang Xiang can now perform SSSST without getting interrupted like previously when she’s equipped with the Sol Chakram so playing as her is more enjoyable than before. Still not as enjoyable as things could be if she has a medium fourth weapon, of course, but much more than before!
Basically, Destiny Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends offer some cosmetic enhancements that increase the replayability of the fifth instalment of the increasingly formulaic game by a little more. There’s no hiding the fact that Koei needs to come up with something more than mere cosmetic enhancements to the franchise for it to remain fresh and interesting.