Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce PSP Review

Another year, another Dynasty Warriors game. Fans of the series probably have the formula down by now. You take a soldier from the Chinese Dynasty era, drop him into the middle of a battlefield and mow down hundreds of soldiers with regular and Musou attacks. We didn't expect Strikeforce, the latest addition of the series, to be any different. Well, silly us, because a couple of new features actually make this one stand out.

In the game, you choose from various characters in three dynasty clans, including the Shu (headed up by Liu Bei), the Wu (with Sun Jian in the lead role) and the Wei (headed up by Cao Cao). Given the variety of campaigns and characters available, there are a number of directions the storyline can go. In the end, however, the basics of combat still remain. It's either you or them, and you'll be damned if you're going to be the loser.

The biggest change to the Dynasty Warriors brand is Strikeforce's multiplayer component. Up to four players can join the fight, although they'll each need a copy of the game. No matter. Playing with friends creates new strategies because you can make decisions on your battle tactics and which missions you think you're ready for. Feel like defending a base? Bring it on. Maybe you feel like battling two versus two in Cao Cao's snowy forest. Have at it. Working alongside others is a lot of fun, especially compared to the single-player campaign. Without the team, the action becomes mundane, just like in previous Dynasty Warriors games.

Along with the impressive multiplayer mode, new options are available in Strikeforce. You can go into a village and manually equip your player with tools and other items, enhancing your performance in the process. You can also take advantage of the Fury Transformation, which temporarily shape-shifts you into a large, unstoppable creature that mows down dozens of soldiers in seconds. Considering that some of these enemies are actually trickier to defeat (some of them fly), you'll need every technique you can get. Last but not least, you can download extra missions from the PlayStation Store. At press time, we weren't notified of a price for these missions, but they shouldn't cost too much.

Considering that the previous Dynasty Warriors games didn't look that hot, Strikeforce is a step in the right direction. We dig the character animations and environments, and the game rarely slows down during hectic moments. There's also no lag in multiplayer, a huge plus for a game like this. Unfortunately, we wish more work was done with the game's audio. Strikeforce has the same bland rock tunes as other games in the series, and the voicework is laughably bad.

Nevertheless, this is progress, and we'll take it. The multiplayer options and new battle additions make Strikeforce better than other Dynasty Warriors games. Perhaps Strikeforce 2 (we're sure Koei's already working on it) will be the ultimate battle game.

What's Hot: The addition of multiplayer is a huge plus, Fury Transformations look cool, there are a variety of missions across three campaigns, downloadable missions.

What's Not: Single-player experience is mostly the same as other Dynasty Warriors games, sound is still below average with cruddy rock tunes and voiceovers.

3/5