Hello! This is a write up I did back in 2019, I always wanted to share my thoughts on this game so I fixed it up a tad and here it is, this is not a review, just me gushing, hope you like it. Slight spoilers ahead but you really shouldn't care for a game like this.
THIS IS AN ACTUAL FREAKING GAME!
This is how games are supposed to be! This beautiful piece of madness is what reminded me of how games SHOULD be; Pure unadulterated indulgence! F*** your open worlds and F*** your slow as S*** levelling up systems and I send a titanic sized F**** you to devs actively making their games no fun by introducing miserable GRIND AND GRIND AND GRIND, this game shreds through most AAA games by focussing on the most important aspect of a game, the aspect so many games forget should be at the core of their being: FUN.
And this game? This game is a lot of fun.
Yeah, who woulda thunk it, a game that wastes no time having fun and bringing you along with it for the ride, this game literally pulled me out of a depression fueled slump where I couldn’t touch a game because everytime I did it would be a game that insist on holding back on the fun, I was genuinely worried if I fell out of love with my favourite hobby… but Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate brought back the love! this game gets it and dragged me back into the light of gaming.
I was gonna write THE LENGTHIEST structured write up on why I love this game and even the parts I didn’t like but you know what? I’m gonna indulge and not take this seriously, this game sure doesn’t.
WO4U is the latest in the Warriors Orochi series, which itself is a crossover of the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series. With gameplay in this iteration specifically from Dynasty Warriors 8 and Samurai warriors 4-II
Now straight up, Dynasty Warriors 8 had my favourite combat of the series, look at my homeboy Huang Gai here:
THAT’S A GODDAM BOAT! HE BEATS PEOPLE WITH A BOAT! “Lots of questions” indeed!
Anywho, the Samurai Warriors were also cool but I never really liked the way they played in the previous Warriors Orochi games (never played the Samurai Warriors games themselves) but here… my god…. They’re INCREDIBLE!!! Their basic “heavy attack” has been turned into a wonderful feeling, forward moving attack that SWEEPS enemies like an out of control bouncing vehicle.
Help I can’t stop!
What rocks is how these games allow you to switch up and add variety mid gameplay by having 3 characters you can switch between at any time, something i've begun calling "The Tag-Team Mechanic" it’s so brilliant I actually wish the mainline warriors games would add the feature because you have to stick with one character per mission in those games. It makes so much sense for a series that has so many characters.
Just remember: KEEP SCROLLING!
SOO MANY CHARACTERS
Unlocking the characters is really great too, in the earlier chapters you will pretty much unlock a new character if not multiple per level, it’s such an awesome feeling. For the “Ultimate” expansion you also get an entirely new mode called infinity mode, which is a lot like the Gauntlet mode from the previous game though it has its differences and is much much longer (not necessarily better but still), in infinity mode you start off with your personally selected crew (and only those characters) and you have a CHANCE to unlock officers as you face them per level, the longer you stick with the mode, the more chances you’ll have at unlocking these characters, it very much pushes the “gotta catch em all” button in my brain from ye old pokemon days, it’s awesome. It’s an interesting take on the style of game and all the upgrades you get carry over to the story mode, making the mode’s inclusion EVEN better
I JUST KILLED DEATH!!!!...wait, what?!
One of the game's biggest strengths is its characters, the game boasts 177 characters TOTAL…. Sorry it’s just sinking in how much time I spent in this game, but don’t worry, they’re all pretty great, there are some characters better then others, but even the characters you don’t like can be played very differently based on the other aspects of the game I will soon talk about. What I love is how each single one of these characters is voiced (In Japanese only though) and are each filled with (necessarily simplistic) character, a huge shout out to the VA for Oda Nobunaga who clearly utterly relishes the role he was given.
Only Nobunaga Oda would have the guts to call Zeus “Worthless” to his FACE! (Who totally deserves it BTW)
Also here’s Gaia, by far the oldest character of the series, grandmother to Zeus and his siblings…. Here’s how Omegaforce designed her.
She also is into Lianshi (who isn’t)
She’s actually talking about hugging… not that it makes it any less suggestive
My personal favourite character was Lady Zhurong and her boomerang of death… or “Doomerang” as I like to call it.
100% Pure Badass
The characters also all have additional abilities based on their type: Speed/Technique/Strength
So what does that mean? It means you can become an unyielding non-stop pain machine that’s what it means! Especially technique characters who gain a BRUTAL punting attack that causes additional damage to every enemy you send airbourne… it can be used to effectively drill into even the toughest enemy officers.
And let’s not forget this games biggest addition: MAGIC
So many reviews I remember seeing kinda glossed over magic or even disliked it
Is it because it’s FUN?
Is it because it turns your character into a literal goddam Dragon Ball Z character? Because it does!
The magic system in this game is goddam amazing! It gives EVERY character not just additional moves, but additional “saver” moves that can save you out of a dangerous situation.
And magic stripper poles sometimes too!... I never said this was a mature game
Then let’s not forget the final additional move you get: Unity Magic, where you and your whole team effectively summon a spirit bomb and nuke every enemy in your vicinity:
We summon the power of every living-
OH MY GOD WHAT DID WE DO!
But that’s not all, the new characters and returning characters (specifically from the DLC expansion) composed mostly of gods or characters from other series like Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden are on an entirely different level.
Even he doesn’t know why he’s here and so much better than the previous game
It almost feels like the crew working on this game were told they only had a short time before being forced to work on the miserable combat of Dynasty Warriors 9, so they went ALL OUT on these (literally) divine characters…. Even though Dynasty Warriors 9 came out before this… so they deliberately chose not to use the combat system from DW9?... GOOD.
Oh… BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!
Unique mounts are back and better than ever (Though some are locked behind DLC even if you get the Ultimate edition, gee, thanks Koei Tecmo!), for the first time since Dynasty Warriors goddam 3 I found mounted combat FUN! Some mounts have different abilities and their controls are TIGHT! Even better instead of whistling and hoping they show up, since they’re “magical”, you press the button combo and BAM! You’re charging through the battlefield on a goddam magical horse. An idea Fromsoftware would later use for Elden Ring because it’s a good idea!
My little Warrior Pony
But wait, there’s more!
The reason for the game being amazing is the AMAZING pace of levelling up, you can level up so quickly you can literally upgrade characters from 0-100 6 times over (you get new abilities and bonuses each time you do this) and STILL improve them further.
But not just that, playing each level earns you “growth points” which you use to upgrade your characters, but since this is shared, you basically get to upgrade characters ridiculously fast
-level up 6x over, doesn’t take too long->
You can also gain skill points which helps you unlock character abilities without necessarily pumping characters full of growth points
No worries, you can easily unlock training camps to level up your characters AND their bonds (which allows your teammates to show up mid battle and save you if you’re in a scrape)
“How are they doing all that?” - A character who’s default attacks involve laser spheres and shockwaves
And here comes the good part
The further you progress through the game, the more unlocks you get to expand your abilities and levelling up rate.
This game goes out of its way to not just deal with grind, but to damn near kill it if you don’t wanna bother with it.
If you do decide to grind, you can go into infinity mode that allows you to grind better.
Which leads me to the BEST part of this game: The weapons and their attributes
In this game you will CONSTANTLY find new weapons with randomized attributes (just like the previous games), if you don’t want a weapon you can either sell it OR destroy it and fuse its attributes to another weapon (kinda like Parasite Eve actually but way better), but unlike previous games, instead of this being something you do per character, you can FINALLY do this for ALL characters and just mine attributes for your devious use.
Yessss… destroy the weapon and make your main EVEN STRONGER - said in a Palpatine voice
Even better, you will inevitably reach the point where you pick up weapons way below your level range, so instead of wasting hours of time sorting through which weapons you do and don’t want to keep, the game can do it for you at the end of each level, turning them either into growth points or materials (always do materials if you can), another improvement from the previous games and is once again a system built in place to not waste your time so you can do the actual fun stuff!
So why is this all awesome?
BECAUSE THIS GAME HAS THE BEST WEAPON UPGRADE SYSTEM IN A GAME
None of the typical RPG BS like a 0.075% increase in damage, nope, here you can add a fire attribute to your sword and it will cause substantial lasting burning fire damage effect per heavy attack, but not just that, you can add MORE fire attributes to make it more powerful and consistent and not just does it do that, but the effects are TANGIBLE! Imagine that!
Have a character who fights miserably slow? No problem, pop some agility attributes and have them swing faster than Sonic on a sugar high.
Want to even the odds on harder difficulties? Add an “Absorption” stat which gives you substantial health for every bit of damage done to enemies.
Feeling gutsy? How about increased attack but taking on more damage.
Feeling insane? Use the special “SUPERGIANT” attribute to literally turn into a goddam Kaiju (I am not joking).
“Special” Indeed, the character doesn’t even fit on screen!
I can’t stress how much this system adds to the game, you can change your entire play-style depending on the weapon attributes you use. It’s creativity and possibilities are WAY out there.
…. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!
Once you progress to the “ULTIMATE” section of the game you get the INCREDIBLE upgrade to add 2 more attribute slots (previously max 8) to your weapon AND in addition to that, weapon attributes that previously reached a max of +10 (eg +10 fire, which is already stupidly powerful) could be boosted to + GODDAM 20! That is RADICALLY GAMEPLAY CHANGING! I WAS FREAKING OUT! EVEN MORE LEVELS OF AWESOMENESS TO MY ALREADY AWESOME WEAPON! YES PLEASE!
I was so overjoyed to see this because I didn’t see it coming, has that EVER happened in a game you’ve played? EVER? Has a game ever given you extra upgrade/mod slots for weapons AND extra everything, in a UI that just hides it until it’s revealed just because it likes you? Have you ever played a game where weapon mod possibilities unlock additional effects and bonuses to THIS DEGREE? Seriously, tell me because I've never seen anything like this! I literally can’t compare this to any other game because I know of no other game that does this! It’s ALMOST like how in Risk of Rain 1 & 2 you can transform yourself to a walking weapon per item/drone you get but it’s not even like that because it can permanently upgrade your character.
BUT THAT’S NOT EVEN BLOODY ALL!
Remember that infinity mode I mentioned? As you play with your characters you get the chance (and it is unfortunately VERY chance based) to find character unique items, why do you want these? On their own they don’t matter too much, but if you get enough of them you can craft your favourite characters ULTIMATE WEAPON that does up to 3X More damage than any weapon you can find in the game. Yes it took me 40-50 hours just to get enough crafting items for my 2 favourite characters but Let me repeat the main point:
Yes i’m repeating this image because LOOK AT IT! YOU CAN TAKE YOUR ALREADY AWESOME CHARACTER WITH THEIR ALREADY AWESOME WEAPON AND TURN THEM INTO A EVEN STRONGER BATTLEFIELD SHREDDING MACHINE!
3X DAMAGE?! I was praising this game for doing a lot to mitigate grind but the grind it does have is always CONSIDERABLY more tangible and worth the effort than ANY game i’ve ever played, I was in ecstasy when I got both my weapons for my two favourite characters.
LOOK AT THE NUMBERS ON THE LEFT! I’ve NEVER seen such insane power scaling, you’d be lucky to get 2x more power for the same amount of grinding in any other game.
So few games let you straight up break and twist the game like this, game balance is a very tricky thing in games, so bless it for not caring in the slightest about it.
EVEN CLOSE TO ALL!
Well okay that is all I have to say about the weapons system itself, mind you, some fans of the series may question my adoration for this entries weapon system, for one, it unnecesarily adds "crystals" which are used for adding extra weapon slots, I never really ran out of these but here is a tip: Only use these for your 3rd or 4th tier weapon and you'll be fine, you're also gifted a tonne of these. Another reason some fans may contest is considering that the previous games also had 2 additional features this game doesn't, for one, each weapon you get, even underpowered ones could be used to add +1 attack to the weapon you are currently choosing to empower AND the 3rd game had a weapon shop, allowing you to buy higher powered weapons before even using a character. These 2 features are great, however, they were restricted to the weapons of the characters themselves, meaning the abilities you can slot into the weapons were up to chance, not choice, being able to dismantle weapons into materials for EVERY character and even buy those attributes individually in WO4U is what I believe makes it the better system and while a combination of these 3 systems would make it AMAZING, I genuinely think as it is, WO4U has the best weapon system i've ever seen in a game, i'll take choosing my weapons attributes any day over randomly hoping I get a attribute by chance.
But seriously the previous games are also great and I would happily recommend them as well, but i'll get to that
Anywho, the awesomeness does not stop there!
Some characters can “Deify” and not only turn into gods, but absolute wrecking machines! So they can use their newfound godly powers to become EVEN MORE POWERFUL. Digivolving Musou characters is pretty much back from Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce! Only it’s objectively funnier here.
...this is the stupidest game.
Yes, Naotora Ii is doing the Birth of Venus pose to attack you with a shower of hearts and then beat you with a field of flowers….. This is the best game.
Oh but if your character doesn't deify? No worries! If you pick up the same power up used to Deify, Dynasty Warriors characters can perform a “Musou” (Each characters individual ultimate attack) attack that lasts longer and takes enemies for a RIDE and if they’re a Samurai Warrior they get the opposite and unleash a stupidly powerful attack which can effectively clear the screen.
The process of clearing the screen AKA “Getting Dizzy”
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (also seriously the amount of unique animations in this game is crazy!)
I hope my feelings of sheer giddiness is coming through in this write up.
Now as for the story….
It’s wonderfully absurd.
The main villain of the previous games (A huge suicidal snake man) is no longer the main driving force, instead it’s Zeus, lord of the greek gods and he brings back both the legendary chinese and japanese warriors together because….
Screw it, why not? He wants to fight, does he need a better reason?
Now that’s not ALL there is to the story but the premise makes it clear it’s nowhere near as serious or ominous as the previous games could feel, here Zeus is a shockingly mythologically accurate version of himself: an asshole. So go kick his ass.
Pictured: An asshole
I love it.
It just gets crazier from that point on.
Another little optional story feature is “bonding”, this allows allies to show up and help you if you are in the act of being juggled (which happens a lot), but even better are the short “cutscenes” the feature has, where they chat or (and it’s hard to describe it any other way) flirt with each other, this is by far some of the weirdest historical fan fiction i've ever seen. Here are some ACTUAL LINES from some of these events barely taken out of context:
Talk more of that poetry talk
He is a cute little psycho aint he?
*gulp* yeah where’d you get em from...
He was freaking out about how smooth Mitsuhide’s hair was right before saying this
*nervous sweating* So what did attract you to him?
*In George Takei’s voice* Oh my
I love it.
I will admit, a CONSTANT peeve I had with the game was the bizarre insistence on really odd choices for recommended characters, in the previous games, the characters you chose for the missions… were the ones leading/involved in the missions, here? They’re almost always tertiary characters and barely involved, I don’t know why either! I know the stupid story doesn’t matter but this always made me feel a degree less involved with what’s going on, the previous game struck a really good balance with letting you play with encouraging you to try out all of the characters AND tie it to the story, it just feels a little weird... But it’s fine because you can beat up Kratos.
He doesn’t stand a chance in this game.
I’ll also briefly mention that features like characters older costumes and the 2d-esque fighter mode have been removed, which is a shame, but honestly the previous games are shining displays of the style of Musou gameplay for their time that I can easily and genuinely recommend playing at least 2 & 3 Ultimate, especially 3 Ultimate (Seriously the Gauntlet mode in that game is such a good idea i'm surprised they haven't made that into its own spin-off series, it also does the best job with the story imo), you wanna see how the musou games of that time attempted to combine the two series and how the various game systems like combat etc have changed? That’s the Warriors Orochi series for you, a completely unashamed celebration of the Musou series.
Go go team!
I could get into more differences between the series or things I didn't like, but this isn't a review and not really the point of this write-up, which is mainly to showcase the wonderful nonsense this game has and to display the utter glee it made me feel.
So do I recommend this game?
Well… obviously…. If you like these sort of games.
But I recommend it more for what it did for me personally than anything else, when I thought I was losing my love of video games, when games constantly disappointed, when games stopped feeling rewarding and I struggled to even pick up my controller…. Along came Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate, a game that simply went; “hey? You wanna have fun!?” and I can say confidently; YES! THAT’S ALL I WANT WHEN I PLAY GAMES!
Turns out I just needed the right game to bring me back up, it genuinely helped me relearn my love for my favourite hobby, just a pure simple power fantasy and a purchase of a GAME, sure it had DLC (some I did buy, just go for the DLC levels and mounts, keep it cheap) but just like with Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate (always wait for the Ultimate version of these games too btw) what was already there was a FULL FREAKING GAME! With so much more “content”, style, flair and lack of hesitation to try out new things than any “AAA game” i’ve seen in years… since Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate frankly. I love this game and will happily put this up there as one of my favourite games of all time.
So thank you Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate! You made me laugh, you made me smile and made me feel such glee thanks to you embracing stupidity above realism, if this is the last entry then this series went out with one heck of a bang.