-sigh- Where do I begin?
Well, I gotta start by saying, if you're looking to get into the Warriors/Musou games, this would be the ideal title to start with. Easily the best title in the series (at least since DW5).
For those new to the series, Dynasty Warriors (a.k.a. Shin Sangoku Musō) is, basically, a hack-n'-slash based on era of the Three Kingdoms of China, and the romanticized novel of the same name. In its stages, there are thousands of enemies of various calibers to mow down. You got your peons that go down in a few hits, your commanders that are a little tougher, your generic named officers that are a threat, and other playable characters that have the same abilities you do. You have a more-or-less equal amount of allies on your side, and how they fight is determined by your side's overall morale, which itself is determined by your performace. Each character has their own string of combinations, but I'll get into that in the next paragraph.
Being a combination of the base Dynasty Warriors 8 and the Xtreme Legends expansion, this game is chock-full of content. There is a wide variety in the 82 characters available to play, each with their own set of weapons, combos, 2 signature attacks, 3 Musou attacks and 1 devestating Rage attack. Levels are capped at 150. Over 220 stages (300 if you purchase the DLC) accross 60 different maps you get to play through Story and Free Mode. There are six factions, each having two Story Modes, the first of which branches into two different paths, the Historical and Hypothetical route. So that right there can take about 100 hours to complete. If that's not enough, you unlock additional stages to play in Free Mode as you play through each faction's Story Modes. Also, a wide selection of mounts and companion animals (several types and unique variants of horses, elephants, tigers, pandas, bears, attack birds, wolves, and Tenko from Toukiden).
And then there's Ambtion Mode... the beef of the game. There are actually two parts to it, elongating this already-lengthy experience. It is a much less linear game mode. The first part invloves amassing enough materials in battle to build a town to please the Emperor, all while recruiting every single named officer in the game (There are 816, including the 82 playable characters). Developing your town leads to many advantages, notably the ability to customize weapons, either to put on a flashy lightshow, decimate crowds in seconds, or even one-shot even the toughest of opponents. Another important function is the return of bodyguards, who can protect you, go off on their own assault, defend important position, and use their own special skills (fire attacks, emergency support etc etc) on your command. You may select three out of the 816 (that includes the playable characters) to be your bodyguards in between battle. The second phase of Ambiton Mode involves conquering territory. Long-time fans will immediately liken Ambition mode to a very watered down version of the Empires spin-offs. If you like this game but grow weary of just hackin'n'slashin', look forward to that as well, since DW8: Empires is coming out Q1 2015.
On with the story. Divided into five factions (the sixth one is really just what-if scenarios for unaffiliated characters), you get to witness the conflicts that took place during the eras of the later Han and of the Three Kingdoms from Wei, Wu, Shu, Jin, and Lu Bu's perspectives (It covers battles from about 184 to 264 AD). That era in particular is very mesmerizing as it is, but Koei went the extra mile and added a hypothetical ("What-if this happened instead") route to explore the possibilities of how things could have been different as a result of YOUR actions. For example, Cao Cao suffered a infamous defeat at Red Cliff/Chibi. Saving the right people might just change that. I was very pleased with this.
I have had my fair share of misgivings with some of the historical inaccuracies, bias towards Shu, and defamation of other factions (particularly Cao Cao) that have been a thing in earlier titles (you can thank the writer of the novel for this). I am happy to say that this is no longer the case by DW8. Each faction has been made likeable, with their own motives for doing what they do.
Now, some people like to thrash the series for being a "mindless repetitive button-masher." I am one of those people that refute that claim. Most people who say that haven't played beyond "Normal" difficulty. Bumping it up to Hard from the get-go makes for a far more interesting experience, as you must then find the most effecive means of dealing with various situation. What playstyle works best with this character? What works best on crowds? How do you prevent your morale from plumetting since you can't just "mash button square to win" anymore? What works best against an officer on steroids? Ambtion Mode (notably the subjugations) have you make use of your three bodyguards to guard important positions that could easily fall since the morale bar is pretty irrelevant in that mode. Yeah. A lot deeper than just a "mindless button-masher".
Dub fans will enjoy a pretty solid cast of voice actors, and for those who prefer the good ol' consistent Japanese voice track, it is available as Free DLC.
Also, the music is just the bomb. Not only is this game's soundtrack solid by its own right, but fans of the older games might notice some of the music from the previous games are in this game as well. The hypothetical routes of each story mode feature music from DW2-DW6, and included as free DLC are old BGM packs for DW3-DW7.
The PC version is the only one to not suffer from any slow-down whatsover. Though your framerate may drop depending on your rig, lag is virtually non-existent.
Of course, it has its fair share of cons, as well. The gameplay can grow repetitive if you're not invested in the small details enough or its story. That and Ambition Mode can get a liiiitle too grindy. Though, it's still a great way to blow off some steam. The naming can be a little deceiving for new-comers to the series (the game does NOT include the DLC available for purchase), and the DLC itself is rather pricey. Admittedly, this is a pretty niche title, for a niche audience. But all-in-all, if you can get past that, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition makes for a solid gaming experience.