Dynasty Warriors

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why do these games sell?

...Honestly. What's going on here? There's like 5 million Dynasty Warriors games out there and each of them seem to sell pretty well, I mean they've kept KOEI afloat and now even a Gundam Dynasty Warriors is coming out. I really can't find the fun in these games, you have button mashing and then your running, and then button mashing, and then OH NO some Chinese Horseman Awesome General boss fight hit the X button 5 million times!!!! Not to mention the horribly bland graphics some of these games feature. Etc. etc. I just don't get it.

This however raises a valuable question, the concept behind dynasty warriors is awesome. Hundreds of enemies and you being the awesome field commander that tears it up and becomes a hero but in execution the game becomes dull and repetetive. How can this genre be fixed? A game which I think was a pretty good step in the right direction was Kingdom Under Fire: The Crusaders by Korean developers Phantagram.

This game features alot of the same gameplay as the Dynasty Warriors games do, meaning you have to press a button a whole lotta times KuF takes it a little bit further though and integrates a bit more of an RTS element to the game, throughout the game you also control squadrons of Enginneers, Cavalry, Zeppelins,Archers and other units you don't however control them directly but instead a mini-map showing the area pops up and you move them through there giving the game a bit more of a strategy element. One aspect which I particularly liked is when controlling your Archers if you have them shooting into the sun their accuracy will decrease which makes you think a little bit more before doing something. Another little thing that I particularly liked about this game was when moving your squads you can change how spread apart or close they are to each other, which becomes an important part of the gameplay because when being attacked by archers or cavalry it is better to be close together, but that slows you down, when controlling archers and you want to light up a forest it's better to be spread apart, or when controlling cavalry it's better to be spread apart. Such little aspects like this advance the genre in an interesting direction. KuF though, ultimately falls into the same pitfalls that huant Dynasty Warriors and it becomes repetetive.

Brawlers are repetetive, it's a fact. Just because they're repetetive though does not mean they have to be dull. I believe the problem comes from the control schemes of these games, perhaps a change in control scheme such as controlling individual sword slashing 1:1 with one of the joysticks, or other ideas that are not as stupid as this one might "fix" this genre which is honestly not in need of a fixin'(it's still selling well) just more of a reimagining or renaissance if you will. Another idea is implementing music more closesly into these games, imagine this....The level starts a simple background tune is playing, as you're beating endless waves of dudes, with each awesome kill you make a cool sound is created that complements the song, as your combos increase and uninterrupted kills go on the sound crescendos and gets more complex until in the end you've created an awesome symphony of death....In this way even though the action is repetetive the results are not and instead of just having the same ol' death animation playing throughout there's a better result which motivates the player to keep on going.

In the end maybe the brawler genre in this new era of 3D games will just continue on its way and developers will have the if it's not broke don't fix it policy...but hopefully this will not be the case and someone will come up with some new re-imagining of the genre.