A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dynasty Warriors 9 is an action/adventure game for the PS4, Xbox One, and Windows that focuses on combat. While there's no blood or gore, players assume the role of more than 80 playable characters who wield axes, spears, crossbows, and swords in combat to take out hundreds of enemies. Because of its "one versus thousands" approach, the game isn't very realistic, which parents might appreciate, including over-the-top visuals, such as knocking 20 soldiers up in the air 20 feet with an attack. The game also has some references to alcohol and some mild profanity.
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What's it about?
As with previous games in the series, DYNASTY WARRIORS 9 is a tactical action game that follows a number of heroic characters, each of whom are fighting to gain control over ancient China. The game takes place during a time when feudal warlords fought for dominance over the final days of the Han dynasty and through the emergence of the Three Kingdoms era. More open-ended than its predecessors, this game lets you take on many thousands of soldiers from a cinematic third-person perspective, using a number of melee and range weapons -- like swords and spears -- to take down as many enemies as possible. As one of more than 80 playable characters, you'll set out to complete various objectives across a huge map, and venture out through a variety of landscapes -- from snow-covered mountains to enormous green battlefields, and with varying times of the day and dynamic weather.
Is it any good?
If over-the-top, hack-and-slash action is your thing, you'll find this is an immersive war game, if you can overlook the technical glitches, confusing storyline, and repetitive gameplay. While there's room for improvement, Dynasty Warriors 9 is overall a pretty good game -- especially if you're a fan of previous titles in this franchise. First the good news: the developers did a great job in giving players the feeling of pure power -- as you can take on dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of enemy soldiers -- with your unlocked officers and other warriors. The combat is epic in scale, and with the more open-world approach with a huge map, it's super fun to take on missions, ride horseback or on a boat, and then plan and execute a dramatic attack. The melee battles are especially rewarding. You can also trade, buy and sell weapons and other items, take on sub-quests, and engage in optional activities like hunting and fishing.
Unfortunately, the combat -- while initially entertaining and gratifying -- feels repetitive after a few hours of play. Perhaps if there was more depth in the fighting mechanics, and if you didn't have to play through the same battles, the thrill of cutting down numerous soldiers with a few swipes wouldn't get old so quickly. The story can be confusing to follow, and the voice acting is horrible. While the character and costume designs are impressively detailed, the animations are stiff and there are lots of distracting graphical glitches and long load times. Overall, Dynasty Warriors 9 is a B-grade game that has some positive things going for it -- a huge and open world, exciting combat, and many dozens of hours of play -- but with some repetition and a convoluted story, perhaps you should wait until some of the technical issues are ironed out and the price drops to make this game more worthy of your time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Do kids and parents care if video game violence takes place in modern times -- such as shooting an automatic rifle in Grand Theft Auto V -- as opposed to many centuries ago? Does it matter or not?
Talk about games with historical context. Does a game like Dynasty Warriors 9 make you interested in learning more about the time period?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Koei Tecmo
- Release date: February 13, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, History, Horses and Farm Animals, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Mild Language, Violence
- Last updated: January 31, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.