The Xbox 360 was supposed to have gotten somewhat of a software push on the 22nd, but a few last minute bugs had Yukes' Wrestle Kingdom pulled from shelves just hours after release. In its place, the only option for hungry 360 owners was Koei's Shin Sangoku Musou 4 Special, a powered-up version of the PlayStation 2 title known in America as Dynasty Warriors 5.
When we heard the small list of changes Koei had planned for the title, we immediately expected the worst. Surprisingly, Dynasty Warriors 5 Special looks and sounds pretty nice. The game runs in 720p at a constant 60 frames per second and uses depth blurring effects and Dolby 5.1 to add extra life to what's become (due to years and years of rehash) stale presentation.
Outside of the updated visuals, Dynasty Warriors 5 Special brings about a few updates. The game has new items, a new beginners' difficulty setting and, with the ability to save to the hard disk, now allows for 100 save files. A few gameplay tweaks have been made, giving your warriors extra abilities. We also noticed faster load times throughout.
The game also adds a couple of new modes. A Legends (side story, or gaiden) mode adds 18 new stories to the Dynasty Warriors saga. Shura mode is a set of short scenarios which you work through in succession, earning new, powerful items along the way.
Even with all these changes, it's pretty clear that Koei took the quickest route possible to getting Dynasty Warriors on the Xbox 360. There's no Live support, the graphics are still pretty basic, with plenty of draw-in in the distance, and character models don't look all that different from their PS2 equivalents. It's likely that the game will be nearly indistinguishable from the PS2 version when played on a standard definition television (see if you can tell the difference in our SD-sized videos). Gameplay feels exactly like previous Dynasty Warriors games, and that includes a lack of camera control (that right analogue pad just sits there!).
This definitely isn't what Xbox 360 owners had in mind when plucking down their 40,000 yen to step into the next generation, but it will have to be enough until Ninety-Nine Nights comes along.
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