Dynasty Warriors the tactical action series is back. If you played Dynasty Warriors 2 you will be pleased to hear that many of its short fallings were spotted and Koei have taken the original and strived for perfection. Ten more levels and brand new two-player and versus modes welcomes you to an improved game of carnage set in the Ancient Chinese era.


Fighting for valour of one of the 3 ancient Kingdoms, Wu, Wei or Shu, Dynasty Warriors gives you a kill tally that any hack em and slash em fan will appreciate, with room for a four figure count the bloodied skies the limit.

Changed from the last version there are now new and more characters, all with unique personality traits. A better balance in power has been achieved than in Dynasty Warriors 2 giving each their own advantages. Forty-one characters, some un-lockable are splendidly attired and over the top. With their own story line to play each character has 4 weapons to find and every one means a new combo to master.

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New cinematics offer a compelling if somewhat linear story line but its unique every time you play. Updates as the game unfolds are now dubbed rather than subtitled which results in you missing far less of the action while trying to keep up with the story. RPG style weapons management and "found items" make an easy feature for controlling items successfully and so improving your battle statistics.

However the major improvement and a severe betterment to the replay value is the two-player mode. Slicing through the enemy is far more fun in co-operative mode with your mate at your side. With Split screen 2 player action and a co-operative Musou (Campaign mode), Free mode (allowing you to retrace your steps and explore each level more) and combative single games, a whole new dimension has been added to the title. If it weren't for the alarming camera angle such fluid and effortless fighting game play would be close to perfection.


Other new modes include Challenge mode, Time Attack and Endurance but none escape the Limp-Bizkit-esque soundtrack, which somehow seems to jar with the oriental era. And while retracing a level to pick up hidden goodies is a nice element of the game the maps are beautiful but sparse which doesn't help the slightly repetitive feel.

Graphics have been downgraded to maximise the flow of combat and the result is a compromise between the distance visible, which is suicidally limited when hit be falling rocks, and the amount of figure action on the screen, which is virtually unsurpassable. A full 50 warriors can be processed at any one time (reduced to 25 in the split screen action) and all are exquisitely rendered.

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Largely the screen will be filled with confusing and chaotic action. With Squads of troops running this way and that, more mayhem incurs due to the somewhat intrusive fogging. There is nothing more frustrating that the enemy you are hacking melting off into the haze around the edges of the screen.

Controls are effortless to learn and use but essentially you are looking at mashing the square or X button until everyone is dead. Vast complicated combo's just need a quicker and more abusive button mash from the normal slash and hack. Running into a crowd to kill them all fulfils the blood lust but doesn't have a great artistic value.

Dynasty Warriors 3 offers much for those addicted to battle action, and there's weeks worth of playability in the levels within the game, but if you like to think good games require skill to play, then this button masher might not be for you.

Overall score: 5 out of 10
Publisher: THQ
Players: 1 or 2
Recommended Price: 34.99
Available: Now
Buy Dynasty Warriors 3 for the PS2 from Amazon