An interesting hack’n’slash adventure.
Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper is one of the many ports that found their way into the Wii U’s launch window. It, too, follows the trend of mature, more gamer-centric titles landing on Nintendo’s new gamer-centric platform. However, the Wii U’s unproven track-record along with the fact that the Warriors Orochi spinoff series already has a dedicated fan-base among other consoles, has many wondering whether exploring this hack’n’slash is even worth exploring on Nintendo’s latest offering.
The opening sequence has players take control of the three remaining generals at the end of a lost war against the demon army and a seemingly-invincible dragon known as Hydra. Well, the war is not quite lost. A new character to the series, Kaguya has the power of time travel, and utilises it to send these generals back in time in order to save their counterparts.
Players then progress through numerous battles in the war against the demon army. Along the way, you’ll see numerous powerful allies killed. This is where side-missions come in: you can travel back in time to a past battle and slay mighty enemies. Doing this allows an alternative version of main-story missions to be played: your allies will survive great battles and be unlocked as playable characters (as per the Warriors Orochi formula).
This is entirely optional. However, with such a large roster of characters, many will be happy to play through all side-missions in an attempt to find the one character with that special something. This makes playing through side-missions worthwhile, which is a prerequisite of sorts in extending the longevity of this type of game.
Gameplay itself unfolds across what is a fairly-typical hack’n’slash setup, where players can spontaneously swap between three selected characters. There are a number of combat options at players’ disposal, however most will find themselves endlessly mashing buttons and throwing in a special move every now and then. This makes gameplay accessible, however, the lack of diverse strategic options is still disappointing. At times, it seems as though little skill is required to win. The resulting lack of challenge can be offputting and demotivating at times, and I fear this may turn players off.
Other serious issues with play include the shocking rendering-distance, which has enemies pop-up just metres away from you at times, and the story. The story is good in that it justifies proceedings, but it does little more. Players will rarely, if ever, proceed in order to discover what happens to the characters and their universe. This is a let-down in what is primarily a single-player experience, where story should drive gameplay.
One more annoying issue is found in the audio; all voice-work is done in Japanese with subtitles. This is understandable to say the least, but has the potential to make non-Japanese speaking players feel excluded, as though they’re not meant to experience the story fully. Additionally, it can be annoying and frustrating to hear random exclamations mid-combat which you can’t understand.
Finally, implementation of the Wii U Gamepad’s key features is minimal. There’s very little here which convinces players that the Gamepad is a must-have device for interacting with video games. This will frustrate players who bought the game in the hope of exploring the Gamepad’s abilities. Having said that, controls are quite tight, and the level of control players have over their characters is a redeeming factor
Apart from the rendering issues, graphics are generally quite nice. I wouldn’t say they push the system, for it’s too early to tell, but animation is fluent and settings are presented nicely enough that very few will be disappointed.
It is worth noting that Hyper is a slightly extended version of the same game which hit Xbox 360 and PS3 earlier this year. Additions include a few new characters, and “Duel Mode”, a Tekken-like battle mode in which duel-cards are used to boost your characters’ abilities. This is a great multiplayer mode, and will provide hours of fun to players with real-world friends.
I couldn’t justify the purchase of Hyper to those who already own the game on another platform, unless they are hardcore fans of the series. Having said that, those looking for a new game for their Wii U should give this title strong consideration heading into the holiday season. The game is strong (but not outstanding) in almost all elements of play, making it a worthy purchase for anyone interested in a unique action/adventure title. While it’s not a must-have title in relation to the entire industry, it’s hard not to recommend this to those looking for must-play titles among the Wii U’s miniscule library.
By Harry Hughes