Warriors Orochi 4 is the fourth instalment in the wild, weird war simulator with the idea of uniting old Chinese and Japanese warriors from history that have appeared in other games along with a few other characters to fight a deadly shadow being who has fused worlds together.
The plot is strange. We go from something sensible in tracking down magic bracelets, then the Greek gods get involved, at some point the Mystic realm joins in, then the Norse gods, then Orochi himself. There’s so much going on within the story with treachery, Warfare and subterfuge that it becomes baffling to try understanding everything. It gets worse when the upgrade system lets Orochi be on your team before you’ve beaten him.
Over the course of the game the player will collect characters as allies, they each have their strengths but the best bit about them is how they interact with each other in short conversation pieces. Demons become relatable, enemies form friendships and those that lust for battle finds kinship in others.
Battles work by having a team of three player controlled characters which can be switched between on the go. The player will have to fight their way across battlefields by button bashing which swings whatever weapon to kill thousands until you reach an enemy officer or gate or something. The battles are ranked based on time and kill performance so you’re always chasing that sweet S rank. Battles also come with three special objectives which will grant extra rewards, some can be easy while others seem near impossible which gets a bit irritating when you have little control of a required situation.
Upgrades come in three styles. Camp upgrades are general buffs to experience gain, character strength and character unlocks. Character upgrades provide buffs to health, attack and defence as well as situational bonus effects, all this gained with skill points and level ups. Weapon upgrades are about finding weapons in levels, then applying extra effects using resources collected in the game world.
The menus for selecting everything are laid out in a simple list format which is alright in the case of levels, however it’s hard to find a particular character when you want them because there’s no alphabetical or faction based sorting options which got a little annoying when I’d unlocked something new.
Every sequel in any series tries to bring something new and Warriors Orochi 4 has a magic system which wasn’t in previous titles. For many characters the magical attacks are the best abilities, they end melee combos but benefit from having a high combo when activated. The magic attacks come in two forms, character based and team based with both regenerating as you play. With magic comes new creatures like cyclops or griffins which are weak to it, there are also green Chaos creatures which make groups of surrounding enemies nearly impervious to all damage except magic which can be really annoying depending on the attack currently being used but was sort of expected with a new damage type.
The Samurai Warriors were some of the strongest characters due to their Hyper attacks being so big and brutal, the fact that this was the case made playing as other characters a problem as they were laughably weak in comparison. There are also three classifications for characters: Power, Speed and Technique. Personally, I found that technique characters were the least useful in battle as you want fast, hard hitters with a lot of reach which didn’t fit almost any Technique characters.
My enjoyment of this game faded once I’d got around halfway through and realised that I couldn’t switch my team as freely as I’d have liked. There are so many characters that levelling up enough of them for the gameplay to keep variety was a chore, then of course there’s the weapon upgrade system which quickly gives a powerful weapon to the player who then has little reason to change.
Overall, I really enjoy the Warriors Orochi games but 4 seemed to be lacking a few features that were in 3 Ultimate, obviously stripped out for 4 Ultimate later. It’s a fun one that I’ll go back to for the S ranks but I’m not keen on the magic system being almost a necessity to use and although I quickly found two characters who were always in my battle party, I’m not a fan of how there’s little reason to change up the team, and dialogue was a pain for time based objectives. Warriors Orochi 4 is an easy enough game though, with the hardest part being learning how to read the map. For anyone who likes fast paced fighting games with a touch of history and mythology I’d definitely recommend.