Dynasty Warriors 8 is the newest addition to the Dynasty Warriors series, and surprisingly refreshing. The main focus of the game, like all other DW games, relies heavily--not surprisingly--on combat. Before I delve into that, however, there are three main game modes to choose from, each of which play pretty differently, depending on your playstyle.
First, you can play through Story Mode, which is what I recommend to everyone starting off regardless. From here, you play through stories and histories of families in the Dynasty Warriors franchise, playing through epic battles and scenarios. There are multiple paths to take in the storyline...one with the "historical" route, and one with the "hypothetical" route, adding a nice secondary option to all of the storylines for those who wish to view them all. Each scenario allows you to play 2 or 3 heroes at a time, giving you many options when choosing which officer you like to play.
Secondly, Free Mode has returned, which would make a lot of fans happy. From here, you replay stages unlocked in Story Mode, completing certain challenges by capturing, killing, rescuing, convincing, etc...as the name implies, this is the mode where you are "free" to play whichever playable characters you wish, along with any type of customization you want to use with him or her.
The third and newest mode, is Ambition Mode. In this, you choose a family and an officer from that family, choose the weapon sets and skills you wish to use as you try to raise your own camp to a prestigious state where you are able to serve the Emperor with protection, and honor. In Ambition Mode, you will recruit your own officers, purchase certain buildings to be placed in your camp, buy and sell weapons, talk to guards/citizens/officers in your camp, and fight in battles earning you experience, gold, and building materials. This is a great way to play a character of your choosing and getting a fresh start, playing the game how you like it played.
Combat, while the main part of the game, can sometimes be overwhelming, tedious, and almost a little TOO simple in its fighting style. However, the INCREDIBLE amount of weapons you can choose from really adds a whole level of fun to the replay value of this game--not to mention, some of the weapons you are able to use are laughable, in the sense that you actually feel the need to use them, or at least try them out!
While the game can be pretty repetitive at times, the storylines, character customization options, and music, are a few things that keep you coming back for more time and time again. And although I am impressed with the DLC that is offered, a lot of it seems a little too pricey--although I highly recommend the Japanese voiceover pack! All in all, this is a solid game that is well worth the money if you are a fan of the franchise.
I rate it a 7.6 / 10