A re-release of a game that originally launched back in 2018, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is out now for Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC – we played the Xbox version for this review.
A series developed by Omega Force, Warriors Orochi is a crossover franchise for two of the developer’s other well-known series: Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. They all follow a similar pattern though, pitting your protagonist against overwhelming numbers as you take on hundreds of enemies in a hack ‘n slash format. Since I don’t have a particular interest in either Chinese or Japanese history, I’ve always leaned more towards the Warriors Orochi games myself, because they bring both worlds together (and throw a few others into the mix as well). Needless to say, I was eager to check out the latest release since I hadn’t played the original Orochi 4 game yet. If you did – not to worry, all of the ‘ultimate’ content is also available as DLC (though the added content is more expensive than I would have expected).
If the number of enemies you face doesn’t impress you, then perhaps the roster of available characters to play with might. The ultimate edition gives you seven new characters to choose from (one of which is Ninja Gaiden’s Ryu Hayabusa), and while that’s not a staggering number by itself it does boost the total number to an impressive 177. This is part of why I like the Orochi branch of Warriors titles, because the roster is an impressive, diverse and sometimes eclectic mix of characters that helps with what can become a tad repetitive as you mow down wave after wave of enemies. In addition, you can now swap out what is your character’s sacred treasure that gives them special powers, adding even more gameplay diversity.
Of course those enemies of yours aren’t quite as diverse as your own roster, but powerful enemy generals do break up the flow of clone soldiers that you easily do away with. There’s an overarching plot as well, which involves Zeus bringing warriors from all corners (and time periods) of the world together – which even throws Norse gods into the mix and brings back antagonists from previous entries of the franchise. It’s crazy, it’s over the top, and it’s exactly what you expect and want from a game in this series – it just feels like a more natural fit than the “inspired by actual battles” angle that the other series sometimes use. There’s so much going on in the story that it can get hard to keep track of everything, but even that strengthens the nature of a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. What’s also nice is that ‘ultimate’ adds even more story chapters to the game, so there’s something new even for existing players.
Besides new characters and story content, the updated release also contains a brand new gameplay mode entitled “Infinity”. Using Zeus and a series of trials as a loose ‘plot’, the new mode has you trying to ascend a tower full of ever-more-challenging enemies while constantly leveling up your characters and weapons with the experience points you gain. It’s nice to have a new way to play, and it’s way more fun when played together, but it can feel incredibly grindy – perhaps intentionally since level progression is a key element.
Visually, it feels like not much has changed since Omega Force first started developing and releasing games for this console generation. I mean…. Dynasty Warriors 8 was shown at 2013’s E3 and I get a very similar vibe from Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate even though it’s almost seven years later. Hopefully, the upcoming console generation will also mark a leap forward for the various Warriors franchises, as a sense of deja vu is certainly slipping in at this point.
Having said that, I still had a fun time with Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate, which content-wise is a great package that does a good job at showcasing what the Orochi series does best – mixing and matching characters and plotlines in over the top ways. Playing around with various attacks and weapons is also still fun, but if I had played the original Orochi 4 then I don’t know how much enjoyment I would have had out of this one. It’s starting to feel like more of the same, but luckily for me it had been long enough since I last played to enjoy it.