Hey you, yeah you! Do you like games where you can hack and/or slash without ever using more than two buttons at once? Well then Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate may have exactly the button mashing mayhem that you’re looking for.
The plot is, as you would expect from a Warriors game, 100 per cent cuckoo bananas. Zeus, and the other Greek Gods of legend, have constructed magical bracelets that they intend to use to remake the world. But the bracelets have been stolen and given to some of the heroes and villains in the world of men, which allows them access to the power of the gods. If that weren’t enough, the Norse Gods soon join the tale, trying to mess things up for Zeus and the gang. The story is the crazy fever dream of a writer who downed too much night-time cough syrup and fell asleep in classics class. It’s exactly what you would expect from this sort of game and its equal parts hilarious, bizarre and captivating.
Combat is fun and fluid, as you would expect from a hack and slasher. You’ll truly feel like an unstoppable warrior as you wade through hordes of enemies, counting your “Knockouts” by their thousands. The game does a good job of staggering the number of units onscreen at any one time, because you will notice that, once the animated bodies start flying, you’ll get some lag in the presentation. For the most part it works smoothly, which makes those moments it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb.
While you’re able to complete this game using one or two button combos, there are an amazing variety of magical attacks that you can chain together with the other members of your party to add extra style points to your battle scores. The genuine fun of this game comes with making your attacks and combos look as pretty as possible. After all, what is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women (or other family members who might likewise lament).
Hilariously, this game has a difficulty setting, which seems completely out of place. Not even under the hardest difficulty will you ever feel truly in any danger from your opponents. The focus here is to look as much like a flawless warrior god/goddess as possible. If you’re getting low on health, which seems to happen out of the blue and for no discernible reason, you can rotate between your other party players and give the damaged character a rest. During our entire playthrough we didn’t once feel any danger of losing a battle, instead we rotated players specifically to keep the game play fresh and exciting. The pressure is off, which lets you worry about the important job of looking oh-so pretty.
The maps are easy to traverse, although it can be difficult to see the mini-map in handheld mode on the Switch. There’s no such problem when it’s in the docking cradle, and the definition of characters translates well to the big screen with vivid animations and a truckload of bright colours.
The weapons in Warriors can be upgraded with item drops coming from fallen enemy generals. One of our main characters, who stayed with us throughout the campaign, got a special weapon drop early on, which turned out to be immensely overpowered and stayed in his arsenal the entire time. You’ll find new weaponry with different buffs which do all sorts of awesome damage and look awesome while you’re doing it. There are a bucketload of weapon skins and playstyles to choose from which can enhance your favourite characters.
There is a HUGE cast list of generals in the game, from Cao Cao and Zheng Fei all the way to Liu Bei. Fans of this series will be incredibly happy with a selection of 170 playable characters, plucked from multiple game versions, to choose from. Each of them has unique animations and apparently unique voice actors. Although every single line is delivered with the gusto of an actor playing matinee pantomime with some incredibly hammy – but entertaining – dialogue.
“As a hack and slash game, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate ticks all the boxes.”
As a hack and slash game, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate ticks all the boxes. A huge character library, customisable weapons, awesome-screen-crunching effects, massive battle maps, powerful combos and thousands upon thousands of enemies waiting patiently for their own destruction. Huge pass marks all round.
Where it falls down, as with the majority of games in these franchises, is the repetition factor. Quite often you’ll be spamming the same combos on the same characters, because it’s effective and it looks awesome. And then the repetition and the size of the battles starts to drag on you after 15 to 20 minutes of doing the same thing. To counteract this, there are individual challenge tasks within each of the battles that push players to try new things, like using a particular combat style to take out a certain number of enemies, or ensuring an allied general survives combat. They add a little bit of flavour to the mix, but it might not be enough to tempt the tastebuds of most casual players.
If you enjoy hack and slash games, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is a surprisingly deep package which is enjoyable and will offer hours of entertainment.
Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is available now on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.
Check with your local JB Hi-Fi for stock.