Dozens of myriad fighters! Full-scale battles! In this review, we examine whether Warriors Orochi 4 can defend its turf on Nintendo Switch!
Blazing Onto The Battlefield
For those whom have played Fire Emblem Warriors or Hyrule Warriors, Warriors Orochi 4 should be familiar territory. The army-based action game will have you controlling individual warriors against hordes of enemy soldiers. Each chapter usually takes place on humongous maps, where your main objective is typically to overtake enemy camps and defeat several stronger commanders.
The main draw of the game is really its massive roster – featuring nearly 170 characters from the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series. This was easily the most interesting part of the game for me, and I had fun building up my own oddball team of kick-ass women. You’ll definitely find a small subset of characters that you want to stick with for the entire game.
Warriors Orochi 4 isn’t necessarily a button-mashing fest, either – as each character also showcases their own unique move-sets. mixing up light and heavy attacks to produce flashy spectacle moves was really satisfying overall. You can also further mix it up with new ‘magic’ attacks, which add devastating crowd-clearing techniques to your arsenal. Once I had grasped the basic mechanics of fighting, I was blazing through waves of pathetic underlings in mere seconds.
But as I played on, things just took a horrifying nosedive.
Seriously Sluggish Slugfests
Using flashier magic attacks only made things worse – with everything moving at the pace of a PowerPoint presentation. My attacks generally felt unresponsive, as I couldn’t even see them connect on enemies with the terrible frame-rate occurring.
Pop-in was especially horrendous, due to a lack of fog or environmental effects. It was really jarring to observe an empty field from a distance, only to have enemies literally materialize just 30 meters from my character. It’s painfully obvious that Koei Tecmo made no attempt to accommodate the Switch’s weaker hardware.
The game still looks decent at face value – character models are beautiful, and the Japanese voice-acting is actually more than passable. But the same just cannot be said when it’s in motion. It just didn’t feel great to play.
War…War Never Changes
Literally all battles followed a similar format: defeat enemy commanders, move to a new area, and defeat more enemy commanders. Additionally, the enemy AI was as dumb as bricks, and didn’t change up its strategies – so I had no incentive to vary my own tactics. I just spammed magic attacks for an easy victory. The game would try to mix it up with extra objectives like escorting other characters, but it never veered away from the status quo.
The barebones story is just as guilty of being a repetitive snooze-fest. Every chapter was just about rescuing and recruiting various characters, with little to no interesting twists. In fact, I found myself skipping many story segments because of this.
The only credit I can give Warriors Orochi 4 is its fair difficulty curve. For the first 10 missions or so, the game felt reasonably paced for beginners to the genre. Veterans, however, are just going to fall asleep at how little changes from battle to battle.
Warriors Orochi 4 had the potential to be great with the Switch’s handheld form factor. I personally enjoyed building up a perfect team over the course of several hours, all from the comfort of my bed.
Hours later, however, the shoddy presentation of Warriors Orochi 4 just broke me. The frame-rate was absolute garbage at the worst possible moments, enemy pop-in was egregious, and the story never took a meaningful turn. I was bored senseless by the time I reached the end of the story. I’d probably feel more productive staring at a colony of ants at work.
That’s not even taking into account all of Koei Tecmo’s horrible DLC practices – with apparently dozens of cool alternative costumes locked away as paid content. If you want to reward good developers with good intentions, do not buy this game – not even at a discount.
It’s not a war worth investing in.
- Huge variety of characters and upgrades to play around with.
- Difficulty curve is fair, and eases players into game pretty well.
- The game turns into a PowerPoint slide when the screen gets crowded.
- Combat feels weightless due to the jarring frame-rate.
- Story never really evolves from its bog-standard premise.
- Game gets repetitive. Very quickly.
Verdict: The basic ingredients were fine – but this soup is so overcooked that it’s nearly indigestible. Even die-hard fans may struggle to stomach its terrible texture on Nintendo Switch.
A review code for Warriors Orochi 4 was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.