Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is an SRPG developed by Koei Tecmo, creators of Dead or Alive and the just released Nioh. Featuring cast members from the previous Dynasty Warriors titles, which have traditionally been exclusively musou games, it’s interesting to see a spinoff in a time when Fire Emblem has garnered so much success for reviving the genre. However Godseekers sets itself apart by being on a full fledged console as opposed to a handheld device.
Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is available on PlayStationNetwork for the PS4 for $59.99
The story takes place in the times of the Three Kingdoms, and features a truckload of characters from previous Dynasty Warriors games. It focuses on the main characters Zhao Yun and Lei Bin with most of the generals from games past serving for a few fights at a time as allied units. Without going into spoiler territory, it’s safe to say that the story and characters are nothing special, and quite honestly, both should be disregarded for anyone who’s not a fan of the series already. The events of the game aren’t particularly engaging and we found ourselves skipping story bits as much as possible to get back to the natural meat of the game, the actual gameplay.
While the other aspects of the title are quite frankly lacklustre sans the graphical fidelity, Godseekers shines in the gameplay department by delivering some fresh twists to the SRPG formula. Namely, a directional defense option that allows for aggressive defense by pushing with several units and defending in a cohesive line to reduce enemy damage, and synchro attacks. To elaborate, each character naturally has their own skills and equipment which determine their stats, and as characters fight in battle, and especially as they eliminate enemy units, they will build up the synchro meter at the top of the screen. Unlike many games in the genre, several units can be attacked at once with the base unit skills, as well as with the Musou attacks that charge up as characters deal damage.
Each character starts with a set number of action points that regenerate every turn, and movement is a set amount in any direction for each individual, with no overlap between the two. Attacks as well as Musou moves will both deplete the action point count, putting a hard limit on how much chaos one can cause in a turn. Defeating units or losing allies to the enemy will shift morale in the direction of whoever’s started turning the tides of battle. The benefits are naturally things like dealing more damage as well as taking less in combat, however some characters will have different extents to which they’re affected, which is dependant on stats. Playing aggressive to build up one’s morale and synchro gauges is often the best way to go in engagements, and speaking of the synchro attacks, they’re one hell of a tactical advantage.
Properly combining attacks to eliminate several units at once as well as using Musou attacks to great effect will charge the syncro gauge quickly, and allow units that are close together to unleash a devastating barrage over a wide area. Activating synchro on a unit will instantly fill every character’s action point gauge, and increases the damage done significantly. After every unit has unleashed their individual barrage, one is given an attack with a huge AoE that can be dropped on almost any area of the map, and while this attack is active, mashing X repeatedly will build up the amount of damage done with the synchro attacks, capping out at an extra 20% of damage per person involved in the barrage. With the multipliers from defeating units, comboing them, as well as dealing absurd amount of damage from the mashing, throwing out synchro attacks to build up another syncro attack ends up being the trump card throughout large portions of the game, as once the player has built it up the first time, chaining them together over several turns is trivial.
The game tends to be a bit easy as a result, however those having trouble with the title for any reason will find the skill tree and equipment even more useful, as after each fight rewards are doled out in a seemingly random fashion, and unlike “Fire Emblem” the equipment can have direct percentage gains on specific stats in addition to basic increases in attack power. The skills are also much easier to get a hold of, as each character levels up and gains skill points, which are spent in a pretty basic skill tree to gain stat boosts and various permanent effects like 30% increased EXP gain. All these things considered, Godseekers is often reminiscent of musou games in that it’s incredibly easy to play through. It doesn’t quite offer the challenge or stakes that the Fire Emblem games offer on normal or harder difficulties with permanent death of characters always being a possibility.
Being on such a more powerful system, there are some expectations to be met in comparison to Fire Emblem, namely running at a proper resolution with good environmental textures, plenty of effects and some high quality character models. In cutscenes, the game delivers and looks from good to great depending on the background. In game the story is a bit different as it’s difficult to zoom in on individual characters, but overall it looks great in motion, if a bit janky when it comes to the hit effects on enemies which often juggle straight up in the air on any hit.
Production quality in general seems to be on par with other Dynasty Warriors titles, the only complaint being running at 30 FPS, in stark contrast to the Fire Emblem games on 3DS which run at 60 the vast majority of the time. For the sake of inputs, this is irrelevant as reaction speed means nothing in a turn-based game, but for the sake of looking good and feeling great to play it’s a bit of a letdown. On the rest of presentation, the music is nothing special, and the UI is functional and looks fine, if uninspired.
All in all, Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers isn’t explicitly a bad game, it just seems a bit misguided. It started off on the right foot by having it’s own unique combat system that compliments the individual characters that the developers have built up over time, and continued by actually looking like a proper console game whereas the Fire Emblem titles have been using great, stylised sprites mixed with poorly textured 3D environments during the action scenes, but proceeds to drop the ball a bit with uninspired music and easy gameplay. That said, there’s fun to be had even in the low difficulty, as mowing down an army only to have the enemy generals taunt you on death’s door is amusing and the morale/synchro systems are still enjoyable to play with. It’s just unfortunate that more wasn’t expanded on in the game to give it some more depth and challenge.
|+ Fun gameplay and stylish moves make combat enjoyable for a while||– Story and music aren't anything special, runs at 30 FPS|
|+ Looks good in motion||– Very easy, presents little to no challenge|