Dynasty Warriors 6 (真・三國無双５ Shin Sangoku Musōu 5?) is a hack and slash video game set in Ancient China, during a period called Three Kingdoms (around 200AD). This game is the sixth official installment in the Dynasty Warriors series, developed by Omega Force and published by Koei. The game was released on November 11, 2007 in Japan; the North American release was February 19, 2008 while the Europe release date was March 7, 2008. A version of the game was bundled with the 40GB PlayStation 3 in Japan. Dynasty Warriors 6 was also released for Windows in July 2008. A version for PlayStation 2 was released on October and November 2008 in Japan and North America respectively. An expansion, titled Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires was unveiled at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show and released on May 2009.
This installment varies greatly from past games in the series. One of the game’s key additions is the Renbu system, a new way for characters to build up their attack combos. In previous installments in the series, combos were affected by the quality of weapon the character was wielding, with more powerful weapons allowing characters longer, more elaborate and often more powerful consecutive attacks. The Renbu system replaces this system with a gauge that gradually fills as you perform attacks. Performing attacks and dealing damage to the enemy fills the Renbu gauge, eventually earning a new rank/level, while taking damage and not attacking for a time drops the gauge; if you take a lot of damage or go for a long time without inflicting damage then the gauge may even drop back down to the previous level. However even at Renbu Rank 1 characters will be able to perform non-ending combos on the enemy. Without unlocking Renbu Ranks 3 and Infinite from the skill tree though, players can only progress to Renbu Rank 2 (with the exception of the temporary Rank Infinity acquired temporarily by collecting a certain item on the battlefield).
Another major addition is the skill tree, from which characters can earn higher Renbu Ranks, special abilities and improve their attributes. As the progression of the skill tree moves from left to right, those on the right side of the tree are harder to unlock than those on the left. Typically the one which unlocks Infinite Renbu is on the farthest right.
Unique movesets for each character have been largely reduced. Only characters who have Musou Mode receive original movesets; the rest of the characters playable only in Free Mode have cloned movesets based on the Musou Mode characters with altered properties (with the exception of Xiao Qiao, who retains her fan moveset). Due to the addition of Renbu system, the traditional “fourth weapon” from previous games have been removed with the three normal weapons no longer being quality-based. Each weapons obtained have random stats and effects implemented and the “weight system” from previous game have been replaced by weapon categories; Standard (default type), Strength (greater attack power at the cost of Renbu Gauge being kept for a smaller amount of time), and Skill (greater attack speed with low attack power). Unlike previous game, horses can be found by obtaining saddles randomly dropped from boxes or beaten officers. These horses can gain levels, skills, and some can even change into the legendary Red Hare, although this is very rare.
Musou Token which enables the use of Musou Rage have been removed. It is instead replaced by Tome item drop which allows the use of unique special attacks. There are five types of attacks; Swift Attack (increases the player’s stats), Volley (launches waves of arrows), Fire (sets eruptions of fire), True Speed (boosts the player’s speed), and Rockfall (launches giant boulders from above).
Dueling from Dynasty Warriors 4 returns, but has been revamped; duels now take place on the battlefield and the nearby soldiers will circle around the two fighters, and other officers may jump into the circle, as opposed to the duel taking place in an arena that appears out of nowhere.
Bases have been altered too; they are bigger and where, before, in order to open the outer gate to a base, the player had to defeat a defense captain, now they must simply break it down with attacks. There is also a new corporal unit which guards bases. Defeating troops and corporals within the base reduces the base’s defense. When the defense of the base drops to zero, the player has claimed the base. However, defeating the corporal is worth defeating 20 troops while defeating the guard captain will automatically capture the base.
Two new ‘innovations’ to the series are the abilities to swim and climb ladders. The ladder means that the player can now climb onto castle battlements in scenarios such as the Battle of Hu Lao Gate, and dispose of enemy ballistas and the new ‘guard’ unit. The first ties in with the improvements to enemy AI, allowing them to travel across rivers and other bodies of water in order to attack you or allied bases. Swimming is now a part of scenarios such as the Battle of Fan Castle.
* Denotes characters added through expansion titles
Note: Jiang Wei, Xing Cai, Pang De, Da Qiao, Zhu Rong and Zuo Ci were removed in DW6. They are not mentioned at all, throughout the entire game, with the exception of Xing Cai, who is mentioned in Lu Bu’s last cut scene (as “the daughter of Zhang Fei”), Da Qiao who is mentioned in Xiao Qiao’s biography in the encyclopedia, Pang De who is mentioned in the generic officers: Dong Heng’s and Dong Chao’s biographies in the encyclopedia as being the end of both officers lives, and Jiang Wei who is mentioned in the “Collapse of Shu” in the encyclopedia.
Note: Only seventeen of the playable characters have a Musou Mode in DW6, with the others being playable only in Free Mode and Challenge Mode. In DW6: Special, six characters were additionally given Musou Modes.
English Voice Cast
- Dave Berón – Ma Chao
- Beau Billingslea – Cao Ren, Dian Wei
- Steve Blum – Xiahou Yuan
- G.K. Bowes – Sun Shangxiang
- Richard Cansino – Pang Tong
- Lara Cody – Yue Ying
- Richard Epcar – Dong Zhuo
- Doug Erholtz – Cao Pi
- Lee Everest – Huang Gai
- Grant George – Sun Jian
- Darrel Guilbeau – Taishi Ci
- Kyle Hebert – Sima Yi
- Steve Kramer – Zhang Fei
- Lex Lang – Zhuge Liang
- Wendee Lee – Zhen Ji
- David Lodge – Ling Tong
- Yuri Lowenthal – Sun Ce, Zhang He
- Erin Fitzgerald – Cai Wenji
- Michael McConnohie – Narrator
- Dave B. Mitchell – Guan Yu, Liu Bei
- Daran Norris – Lu Meng
- Bryce Papenbrook – Guan Ping
- Jamieson Price – Lu Bu
- Douglas Rye – Cao Cao
- Carrie Savage – Diao Chan, Xiaoqiao
- Alan Shearman – Huang Zhong
- Skip Stellrecht – Sun Quan, Lu Xun
- Doug Stone – Xu Zhu, Zhang Jiao
- Michael Sinterniklaas – Gan Ning, Zhou Yu
- Terrence Stone – Zhao Yun
- Kirk Thornton – Xiahou Dun
- Travis Willingham – Xu Huang, Zhou Tai
- Wally Wingert – Chen Gong
- Dave Wittenberg – Yuan Shao
- Roger Craig Smith – Zhang Liao
Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot said that “The combat is still dreadfully repetitive,” “The visuals are still ugly,” and “The sound effects and voice acting are still awful.” VanOrd went on to say of the game “Environments are bland and lifeless; water looks awful; and character models, while clearly upgraded from Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires, still look primitive by today’s standards.” He scored the game a 5.5/10.
GameSpot went on to nominate Dynasty Warriors 6 for ‘least improved sequel’ in their 2008 award show.
Ryan Clements of IGN was slightly less critical, scoring the game a 6/10. Clements said “Dynasty Warriors 6 is not a good looking game, and it performs even worse on the PS3 than on the 360 (even when you opt to install the game data).” He did note that “Dynasty Warriors 6 does have a number of cool things to note. The amount of leveling up you can do is fairly impressive and each character’s campaign takes at least a few hours to work through, providing you with quite a lot of content (despite the repetition).”
Amanda L. Kondolojy of CheatCodeCentral gave the game one of its better reviews, scoring it at 3.4/5. Kondolojy enjoyed the game, saying that “One aspect of Dynasty Warriors 6 Empires that was surprisingly fun to tinker with was the character creator. Although DW5 Empires had a warlord creator, DW6 Empires gives you more creative control over your newly-made character. In addition to having a wide variety of costumes and customizable features, you can also integrate your character into the main Empire mode as a vagrant, and can work your way up to become leader of the land.”