Warriors Orochi 4 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 22.10.2018

Review for Warriors Orochi 4 on Nintendo Switch

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate set a new standard for the long-running Musou series. As a sequel to one of the most packed games in Omega Force's hack and slash library, Warriors Orochi 4 would tell the audience a lot of just how much Koei Tecmo's studio was willing to go to deliver the levels produced in the previous entry, which went through a number of iterations and ports before it settled on the definitive current-gen release in 2014. Love letters like Hyrule Warriors have only increased the excitement for the fourth Orochi title, so does it meet demands?

It's no secret that Koei Tecmo likes to milk its franchises. The Warriors games are perhaps the worst offenders, with updated port after updated port, endless lists of downloadable content, and multiple games in the series year on year. There is an audience for these 3D brawlers, but the games are so up and down that it can become a pain as a fan to play cracking little gems like the aforementioned Zelda crossover and Ultimate edition of Orochi 3, and then be fed refuse like Dynasty Warriors 9 and other new entries that are devoid of content or don't meet their potential.

Warriors Orochi 4 is a classic example of a half-baked product that is screaming, "The ultimate edition is on its way, and it will have twice as much content." If you haven't got a Nintendo online subscription then there is one single mode available for you to play in this brand-new game in the series. One. The battle arena, allowing you to play with and against others, is locked behind the paywall, so non-subbers only have the story mode to rely on.

Screenshot for Warriors Orochi 4 on Nintendo Switch

As far as Warriors games go, the five-chapter story is fun enough. Nothing remarkable in terms of plot - the same old characters from past games of the Three Kingdoms and Warring States periods are summoned to halt Orochi's return again - but there are plenty of stages to work through that jot up to a good 25 hours or so, and it can even be played in local co-op. A whopping 170 playable characters make up some sort of world record, and the new Olympian gods are pretty good additions to the roster.

It does seem, however, that the Samurai Warriors cast has been given preferential treatment, as their distinctive Hyper Charge attacks allow them to smash through hordes of enemies a lot easier than the majority of other characters that don't have the same luxury. On the whole, gameplay is fast and fluid, and the switch combo, allowing you to flick instantly between each of the three chosen characters in a level, lets them glide across the map with ease, taking out foes along the way.

Special team attacks are replaced with a magic system, with gauges of their own to raise and keep an eye on, and different levels of attack that work to take out multiple foes at once. The types of magic attacks are a bit limited, varying between groups of characters, so aren't really as exciting as the unique main weapon moves at the warriors' disposals. A horse can be summoned at any time for instant fast travelling, it should be added; a much-needed feature for these games.

Screenshot for Warriors Orochi 4 on Nintendo Switch

Whilst gameplay is generally good brawling fun, then, Orochi 4 is let down in multiple other areas. The developers said they didn't add guest characters in order to focus on the interactions of the standard cast. That means familiar Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden heroes like Kasumi, Ayane and Ryu Hayabusa are absent. These three alone are often reason enough for people to buy Warriors games, and their omission is definitely felt when they have such exclusive play styles. Surely they still could have been added in without needing much dialogue? Heck, adding them as unlockables after beating the campaign would have sufficed if having them appear in the story was that much of a worry.

Where modes are concerned, there is no Musou Battlefields (the stage creator), Gauntlet (the five-warrior team mode that put players through their paces with various trials and original stages separate from the story), or Challenge Mode. The latter, however, is actually downloadable content, which is just absolutely typical of Koei Tecmo to carve up its game and sell bits of it piecemeal. Of course, plenty more of it exists on the eShop, with costumes, background music, some sorts of trials, and more, readily available to purchase. Not unexpected for the costumes and music, really, but when a game is launched with just a story mode and an online-only battle arena, selling challenges and trials for a separate fee is just unbelievable. A Free Mode isn't entirely needed this time around, as every character can be played in any stage once unlocked, anyway.

If the last entry in the series set the bar for content, why should the next game be stripped bare? Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate was indeed one of numerous updated ports that continually added extras, be it characters, modes, or other features, but how does the franchise go from that to Orochi 4, which has a fraction of what the former had to offer? The icing on the cake is putting other modes up as DLC right after launch.

Screenshot for Warriors Orochi 4 on Nintendo Switch

This isn't counting the terrible frame rate and shoddy menu presentation. The character sorting and filter options are too confusing and messy for their own good, and the lack of an actual camp to walk around in is another obvious exclusion. Oh, and while nobody expects English voice acting in a game with 170 characters, it's still almost impossible to read the in-game dialogue during combat. In the end, it's better to just ignore it entirely, because it isn't worth taking damage over. Still, with how much Koei Tecmo surely rakes in with these low-budget ports and sheer number of Warriors games, it wouldn't be a surprise if they could afford to dub the entire game, anyway.

The overall tone of this review might sound pretty harsh, but there is fun to be had here, for sure. The story mode is shorter than what is on offer in the likes of WO3U, but still meaty enough if hack and slash is your thing. Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors fans looking for something to satisfy that same craving on Switch will get mileage out of this, but just don't expect the same level of content - particularly when comparing to the Zelda crossover.

The wisest decision you could make, though, would just be to wait for the ultimate edition, which will hopefully add more modes and fan-favourite characters - or pray that Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate makes its way out of Japan between then. It is probably with intent that Koei Tecmo never brought it over on Switch before releasing this game, as it would have really shown Orochi 4 up for what it is.

Screenshot for Warriors Orochi 4 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It is so difficult to recommend Warriors Orochi 4 right now when the series has made a name for itself through re-released games with added story content, characters and modes. Why would this title be any different? The main story is an enjoyable enough ride for hack and slash fans, but that's really all there is to it (unless you have an online subscription and want to battle with friends). Just wait for the inevitable ultimate edition in a year's time.

Developer

Omega Force

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Brawler

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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