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Edge Preview: Dynasty Warriors 6

Edge writes, Koei has the kind of problem most developers would love. The Dynasty Warriors series sells, sells and sells in Japan, devoured by adoring fans who demand more of the same. At the same time, the series is criticized for only implementing tweaks asked for by the community rather than the radical re-imagining some think it needs. There isn't a halfway house, and Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn't pretend otherwise: it knows it's a franchise iteration, but is beyond caring what the snipers think. And because of that, it's confident enough in its conservatism to make any changes additions to a formula that works, rather than readjustments that risk upsetting the apple cart.

Is that such a bad thing? Among the most distinct changes is a move away from linear battlefields towards more open environments which can be controlled by capturing particular strongholds and feature several avenues of approach to their main objectives.

The visuals and animations aren't up to the standards of this generation's finest, but they're significantly in advance of Dynasty Warriors 5. There is a particular improvement in the number of enemies onscreen and their actions as they try to avoid your whirling weapons, which make them somewhat less lamb-like than in previous games. The lead characters have also been rethought, the incorporation of motion-captured animations for the first time in the series allowing a re-imagining of their physiques and weapons – no big deal, perhaps, for western audiences, but an important element in the mythos from which Dynasty Warriors draws.

It's all adding up to an accomplished installment in the series, and while it won't convert unbelievers, perhaps that's because they've already convinced themselves it won't.

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