[Review] Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate – Nintendo Switch

Written by Derek Wright
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo/Omega Force
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Release Date: 14/02/2020
  • Price: $59.99 / £54.99
  • Review code provided by Koei Tecmo

Introducing: Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate Switch Review

The greatest wars in history are remembered by all, not because we lived through them, but because the tales are retold over generations. Retelling the history of the Spartans holding their ground against the behemoth that was the Persian army or the Allies fighting valiantly on the beaches of Normandy during WWII keeps these stories alive. These are all tales of war that are passed on, but what about the ones we forget? Like how the ancient armies of Japan traveled through space and time to team up with Chinese Warlords to fight the god of destruction and the gods of Olympus! Don’t recall that one? Our friends at Koei Tecmo will help you remember in Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate!

Omega Force, a division of Koei Tecmo, is widely known for their signature 1 vs 1000 Musou/Warriors games. Starting with their original series Dynasty Warriors and growing to the many licensed titles including Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors and One Piece: Pirate Warriors, to name a few; this overarching series is renowned for its chaotic nature. None of their series gets quite as crazy as the Orochi series, though, which pulls in characters from the Dynasty and Samurai series, as well as original characters and guests from other Koei Tecmo properties.

Everyone Is Here!

Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate, or WO4U for short features seven new characters and a veritable army of returning ones, for a total of 177 characters. This game is an updated version of WO4, which is available as both an upgrade pack and a standalone physical title. If you already had a copy of WO4, fret not! All the content is available for you in a nice and neat pack. If you missed out on the hubbub the first time around, the physical edition or the Ultimate digital version are the ways to go.

The base game consists of five chapters, each containing multiple missions, with three more chapters included in the Ultimate edition. Each of these missions feature a different objective that falls into the category of “defeat this character” or “protect this ally.” Nothing too complex, but sometimes a curveball will be tossed your way, which changes who to attack or protect. Maybe the antagonist will change sides, or *gasp* your teammate will betray you!

The story of Warriors Orochi can be a bit humorous at times, with combatants that have just fought tooth and nail talking as if nothing happened at all. As mentioned previously, characters switch sides more than they switch their under garments. Without getting into spoiler territory, the gist of the game revolves around the Greek gods causing havoc on the allied soldiers of the Chinese and Japanese warriors, while also splitting them from friends and family and forcing them to fight!

There is a total of three endings in this package. The first one is achieved when completing the main campaign from “vanilla” WO4. The second comes when completing the extra missions found in the Ultimate expansion. The final and true ending comes from finishing the “final” chapter which isn’t unlocked until you collect all of a certain collectible. It’s a slight spoiler, so I will not go more into what that is, but it is heavily tied to the story. Completing all the main missions, side missions and getting the collectible will place you well over 40 hours.

Musou my Basara?

If you have been living under a rock since the PS2, the gameplay of the Warriors/Musou series has been greatly refined. It features, at any point in time, a team of three warriors taking on hundreds of enemies at once in glorious hack n’ slash action. Combos are easy to execute, and more are added as you continue to level up your warriors. It’s easy to get attached to a single character early on and I was extremely attached to Tadakatsu Honda in the later half of the game (over 50 battles with him). Yet, with 177 characters available by the end of the game, you would be at a loss to not experiment with at least some of them.

Afraid to bring new characters into the battle after you have been leveling your team up? WO4 has you covered. Growth points are awarded after each skirmish and can be given to any warrior you wish. You can also send your warriors to training camp. Doing so will give you weapons, materials and, of course, experience points for your fighters. This can all seem a bit overwhelming and it really is. Your characters, weapons and camp can be upgraded. This extra layer of resource management can help to push you to play one more level, at least it did with me.

Aside from story mode, Infinity mode adds even more replay value to this ginormous package. Climb up the towers while completing challenges and earning more items to help level up your characters and weapons. No real story arc is present, but it can be a bit more enjoyable than Challenge mode, which is very close to Infinity mode. Again, more content is not bad, and they are not carbon copies of each other. Also included is a 3v3 multiplayer mode. I tested it out and while it was fun to mess around with, it wasn’t my cup of tea.

By the Grace of the Gods

All of the main characters are beautifully detailed and are filled with so much personality. From Yoshitsune Minamoto with his light saber to the devilish, almost inhuman Oda Nobunaga, each combatant is larger than life. With 177, I was worried that some characters would be clones of each other, but both graphically and in playstyle, but I was pleasantly surprised. Each had their own significant look and feel. Omega Force put great love and care into this title, and it shows. The stages on the other hand can be a bit bland. After you have played 70 to 80 missions, they can blend together. Grunt soldiers are also overused, but when you are slicing through 1000 or even 2000 in a stage, having them each look unique would be hard, especially if they are onscreen for only ten seconds.

The music in the Warriors titles has a certain feel to it that I immediately recognize, but have a hard time describing. It’s like an 80s thrash band decided to dabble in synth and Asian culture. It’s fast paced and exciting, but it doesn’t have the most substance to it. There were plenty of tracks that got my blood boiling before an epic battle, but the music quickly became background noise to the destruction that was present on my screen.

Power Lifting

While playing endless hours of Warriors Orochi in both handheld and docked mode, I was quite impressed by how great it ran. In docked mode, textures for characters were higher quality and more enemies were present on screen at any given time. Handheld mode was still fun, but the models were downgraded and less character models were on the battlefield. I did notice in some of the later levels that introduce large creatures to fight, the game would chug if more than two of them were on the screen. This happened in both docked and handheld mode. Again, this was a rarity, as the game ran flawlessly for the rest of the time.

Final Thoughts

Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is quite an impressive package. While it does not add heaps and bounds of content over the original WO4 release, if you had missed it entirely, this is the perfect jumping on point. With 177 characters, tons of levels, and multiple modes, this game is a perfectionist’s dream (nightmare?). If you have ever enjoyed this hack and slash series and wanted just one title to exemplify it as the purest form, WO4U is that game.

Pros

  • 177 characters?!?
  • Tons of content
  • Easy to pick up and play

Cons

  • Can get monotonous
  • Framerate drops occasionally

Verdict

Warriors Orochi 4 Ulimate is the penultimate release in the Warriors series. This title offers so much for the player to experience and makes it hard to put down.

4.5/5

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