Koei Tecmo has made an effort over the years to make everything in the Dynasty Warriors series feel somewhat original and give every game a little something different. So even though the base game still has its roots in being a hack-n-slash adventure, you're also given different elements that can either make the game great or a smoldering pile of garbage—depending on your personal taste. This week, the company released a brand new title called Warriors All-Stars, so we're jumping into the fray to figure out what makes this one different from the rest.
Warriors All-Stars is, at its core, a supermix of Koei Tecmo properties thrown into the DW universe and given an anime story-based game. You get some familiar faces to the series, but they're basically here to put the franchise name and feeling on a very different game. The convoluted crossover storyline has humanoid furries bringing heroes from various worlds to help them revitalize "The Spring", which is an eternal source that gives life to everything. Oh, and it's dying. The heroes get summonsed and spread across the world where, for lack of a better explanation, wackiness ensues until they all get together.
The storyline is the absolute death of this game. It is anime conflict personified as three different rules who happen to be holding three different pieces of an ancient shard want to be in power, and ask the newly transported heroes (who have no invested interest and could not have gained interest so soon) to help them take power. What follows is a shoestring plot that lacks coherency and barely has a narrative that can be followed. Essentially, it's all one giant excuse to bring several Dynasty Warriors characters together with Dead Or Alive, Ninja Gaiden, Atelier, Nioh, Rio, Toukiden, Opoona, Samurai Cats, Deception, and more.
The look and design of Warriors All-Stars is a clash of styles, as many of the heroes were kept into a specific design from their original games and were thrown into the game as-is. Which means you're seeing an odd mix of 3D fleshed out characters chatting with 2D anime style characters in chat sequences, and then watching those characters from their 3D version of other games enter the same battles together with the better-looking characters… it makes my eyes hurt a little.
The one saving grace the game has is in the combat system. It is still the same DW style you're used to with a couple new tweaks. First, you have the Bravery bar, which will build up over time in the upper-left corner and will allow you to pull off devastating moves that will clear the room faster and much more efficiently than before. The second is the Musou Rush, which is a timed-event where you'll kill a never-ending run of enemies as other heroes cheer you on and add time to the clock. Its really fun to jkust wail on enemies and have a bunch of people act like cheerleaders.
Ultimately, Warriors All-Stars is an okay game that suffers from something I like to call "sloppy sandwiching." Someone came up with a good idea in theroy by mixing what they throught were the best elements of different games, but then when they actually built it, it could barely hold together and didn't taste like they thought it would. I'm sure there's a dedicated audience out there for this, but there's no denying, this was a cool idea gone wrong.