Developed by Omega Force and Published by Koei, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is both a standalone game and plays a part of a downloadable upgrade pack for owners or the original Warriors Orochi 4 released last year. For those unfamiliar with the series, it combines two other game series by Koei – Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. If you are unfamiliar with those also, then both are mass hack’n’slash games, with Dynasty Warriors based on the warring factions in Chinese history, while Samurai Warriors focuses on Japanese History. Warriors Orochi combines the warriors from Chinese and Japanese histories and pits them against each other, against demons and, in this iteration, against Norse and Greek gods.
I have played many of the games from each of the series and they all follow the same formula. You choose from one of the numerous warriors, most of which have been loosely based on a real-life warrior in history, and you partake in a mission/battle which itself may or may not have been loosely based on a real battle that happened in history. The objectives of each battle are common in these types of games, such as kill all enemy officers, take over certain bases or rescue someone. Each map usually has you fighting against up to 20 officers who could be other warriors, demons or gods. Along with the officers are usually around three to four thousand soldiers.
These soldiers are your standard duplicated nobodies just waiting to be mauled down; with 3 presses of a button on your controller you can wipe out between dozens and dozens of these soldiers, so they are not too tough to defeat. The graphics have really not changed too much through all of the individual series other than to become crisper and sharper. The models themselves are not too bad considering the variation of 100 or so characters to choose from. The background music of this game is nothing if not consistent. So faster beats are quite catchy but are very quickly forgotten and don’t contribute too much to the game. You do have the option to change the background music, but I imagine many would either not have the music or have their own tracks in the background.
The plot, as with most of the titles in the Warriors Orochi series, sees the heroes from both the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors forced to team up against a bigger evil with the help of heroes from a mystic realm to take on the Evil Orochi. At the end of Warriors Orochi 3 (Spoilers) the combined gang take out the 8 headed Hydra and Orochi, which caused the timeline to break and all the warriors go back to their original place in history with no memory of the event. Warriors Orochi 4 has the God Zeus – who witnesses these past events – pulls all the warriors to a new world where they are once again forming alliances like they did in the previous instalments. It seems Zeus wants the gods to spar with mortals, who he sees as his playthings, only for this to cause disharmony within the gods, causing events to happen that brings about the Norse gods and eventually the resurrection of Orochi, and maybe the end of the universe.
That story was told in the original release; this Ultimate release retells the tale, but with new chapters as well as new characters to use. The new Chapters are probably the best from the story and are packed full of enemies primed to be a hack’n’slashfest. The game also introduces some new features which do improve the original game quite significantly. First off is the Infinity mode for the hardcore fans who really like to grind, raising the stats and weapons of their favourite characters. You can promote your favourite characters over their current level cap to really get to higher stats and turn your favourite characters into gods. One of the newest features I like the best is the ability to switch the sacred treasure of your characters. These sacred treasures control what magic ability you use in battle. Some of them are vastly better than the others, and there is usually the one you get the most out of, which for me was the Trident.
The controls of this game have never been too complicated and even with a few new introductions over the original Warriors Orochi 4 they are still quite simple to use. You have your standard normal and charge attacks along with with your special (Musou) attack with each character. But with the sacred treasure, you can also perform various magic attacks which are an interesting addition this time around. Finally, there is the big area clearing Unity attack where all the characters in your party perform a combined attack which generally kills everything within a certain radius. It is quite common on each map/mission to defeat anywhere between 500-3000 enemies so it’s good to make use of all the attacks available to you.
As a standalone game for fans of the series that don’t already own Warriors Orochi 4, the Ultimate version would be the best option to procure as the added content makes the original a little redundant. As for DLC this a very pricey in comparison to other DLC and could be a tough sell. But if you enjoy this hack’n’slash series then it is very fun to play and worth picking up. For hardcore fans, the extra chapters, characters and infinity game mode may be enough to persuade you to add it on.