With the revised release date of the 8th – we now have only 5 more days until Dynasty Warriors 7. So where were we? Ah yes – Dynasty Warriors 3. Hardcore fans of the series (y’know, people like me 🙂 ) will argue this was the best of the series so far. While the later iterations added a lot of new things that make this one feel old (like air attacks and getting off a moving horse) DW3 represented the biggest leap in the series (not counting the change in genre). The character count was upped to 42 and there were no clone characters – each character had their own move set and voice overs for each and every stage – even if they weren’t historically meant to be there! Each character, aside from the fictional Fu Xi and Nu Wa, had their own story mode campaigns, secret 4th weapons that required special criteria to be met and extra costumes. Not stopping there DW3 added split screen co-op, reduced fogging and elephants! For most players though it was the difficulty that made DW3 special – even on normal it was often impossible to go it alone and try to kill the enemy commander straight away. DW3 required tactics and patience as you moved forward, closing enemy gates and helping allies as you cursed the wretched archers that would pluck you from your steed!
Historical accuracy was also at an all time high in this iteration – something that would sadly be discarded in the following iterations. DW3 had characters die in campaign mode where they would have died in real life. So Sun Ce is not around for the battle of Chi Bi, Lu Meng is not around for the battle at Yi Ling. But in a nice gameplay feature – finish the campaign with a certain character that was meant to have died early and they will be woven into the gameplay next time you playthrough.
Dynasty Warriors 3 was an amazing game and remains one of my best PS2 games! It was followed shortly by the expansion of Dynasty Warriors 3 XL. A lot of people mistakenly consider this a separate game. While it can be played by itself it only provides a few campaigns and levels. As an expansion it adds new characters and weapons for each original character.
The video at the top by the way, is not the proper opening of DW3 – it’s the attract mode. Much like Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast, DW 2,3 and 4 had amazing attract mode sequences that let you insert whatever characters you wanted into the scenes and they would perform specific actions depending on who they were and where they were placed. As a special treat, I did mention the VO’s before didn’t I, well here they are in all their glory 😀