Matt Keller
12 Mar, 2006

Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends Review

PS2 Review | The end of a dynasty?
Koei’s Dynasty Warriors franchise has been the company’s most successful product since they began operations in 1978, with the series and its spin-offs and sister series Samurai Warriors having sold over 5 million copies worldwide. The Yokohama-based developer is constantly under critical scrutiny for the repetitive nature of their large scale beat ‘em up, though we’ve given them a bit of a break on occasions here at PALGN (the fourth and fifth iterations getting 7 and 7.5 respectively). However, there will come a time when even the most dedicated Dynasty Warriors fan gets fed up, and unfortunately, that time is now at hand.

Dynasty Warriors expansion packs have come in two sets; Xtreme Legends and Empires. The Empires expansion only appeared recently, after the release of the 5th game in the rest of the world, but proved to be popular with fans for the deeper strategical edge it added to the game’s formula. Xtreme Legends started as an expansion for the third game, and has subsequently appeared after the release of each title since, including the Samurai Warriors spin-off, but merely offers more of the same content seen in the main entry of the same number and the fourth such expansion does little, if anything, to change this trend.

Unfortunately, Zigfried and Roy are not selectable characters

Unfortunately, Zigfried and Roy are not selectable characters
So what’s new in this version of Xtreme Legends? Very little, we’re afraid. In fact, Koei have turned to re-adding features that they cut out during the progression from Dynasty Warriors 4 to 5; features that nobody would miss, like the extremely limited Create-An-Officer mode. The premiere mode in the fourth Xtreme Legends expansion is Destiny Mode. The funny thing is that Destiny Mode feels like a method of videogaming torture – players start out as a regular grunt working under their favourite officer with (get this) only a three hit regular combo. You basically have to endure 8 maps (including the Yellow Turban Rebellion, for quite possibly the millionth time), and build your soldier up until he’s about the strength of an officer – or you could just play Musou Mode and skip the useless, limited character creation process and frustrating ordeal of levelling up such a weak soldier. Granted, if you keep replaying the mode, you can turn your once weak soldier into a powerhouse like Lu Bu, but you could really just take Lu Bu or one of the other soldiers and beef them up instead. There are some cool bits, like being able to defect to a rival kingdom for the promise of new skills and weapons, but it’s really just a pointless exercise.

Zhao Yun's new weapon is a big sparkler

Zhao Yun's new weapon is a big sparkler
Xtreme Mode is a slight change of pace from the regular Dynasty Warriors quest, in that it’s a bit like a survival mode, as your officers do not regain health in between battles. Players can choose up to 6 officers to join them (three of which go into battle), and attempt to capture territory, recruit new officers and develop their kingdom’s economy. It’s a bit like Empires-lite, but ultimately, it’s very similar to the rest of the aging series. Legend Mode is a bit of an expansion on the storyline of Dynasty Warriors 5, with some new maps and battles, and a bit of fleshing out of the stories between your officers. Given the poor quality of translation that has affected the series since its inception, and the excruciating pain induced by the voice acting, it’s really not going to inspire anyone into putting too much time into it.

Even as PALGN’s biggest Dynasty Warriors fan, I can see very little incentive for anyone to purchase this particular version of Xtreme Legends. Let’s face facts; the series has changed very little in the last 6 years, and making people pay more this tablescrap-like add-on than they would for the full Dynasty Warriors 5 game is extremely unethical. If you feel like enduring the tortous quest of a weakened down warrior just for a little bit of challenge, or haven’t worn out your Square button, there might be enough in here for a rental, but there’s no logical reason why even the most obsessive fan of the series should pick this up. If you’re really desperate for more Dynasty Warriors, wait for the Empires expansion pack that’s due later in the year.
The Score
Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends shows just how little milk Koei has left in the proverbial cow. 4
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires coming to the 360
22 Feb, 2006 First images included.
Dynasty Warriors Review
02 Sep, 2005 Dynasty Warriors returns in portable form.
Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends Review
11 Feb, 2004 Dynasty Warriors 4's expansion pack will keep aspiring warriors occupied for a little while longer.
8 years ago
I want to like Dynasty warrior games, I had hours and hours of fun playing co-op multiplayer with it, but they just don't fix the flaws! The PS2 is just not powerful enough for starters, enemies just dissapear in co-op all the time, and the AI is shite. Here's hoping a next-gen version will be worth buying.
8 years ago
oh my god - this series got repetitive from 4 onwards.

4 was good simply because i liked creating myself in the create a warrior mode, but i never played through the rest of the game.

Then you had the Xtreme Legends and Empires

Then you had Samurai Warriors and Xtreme Legends

And now with 5 we are getting the same treatment.

Obviously they are designing the game for the fans that pick up the game once every two or three years, but i think people would be happier if they just lowered the price of the product.
8 years ago
Hahaha 4.0... I agree, Koei certainly has milk this cow for too long.
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