Considering Dynasty Warriors 4 is based Luo Guanzhong's novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, it's not what you'd call a particularly romantic game. Hugely violent, yes, but we're at a loss as to where the love element fits in. Ah, apparently 'romance' can also mean 'story' or 'legend'... we'll shut up, then. The fourth instalment of Koei's strategic action series might not rock the boat much, but it certainly refines the series' compelling formula to near perfection.
As before, you select a general from the Wei, Shu or Wu kingdoms and then attempt to annihilate rival armies using the game's smooth real time combat system. This time round, however, the visuals have been noticeably tweaked to allow for greater character detail and the removal of the frequent 'pop-up' that dogged DW3. Your bodyguards and the enemy troops have also smartened up a bit thanks to some much-needed AI modifications, which means that you're far less likely to take on a group of opponents who politely refuse to fight back.
Throw in a bunch of enjoyable and original two-player modes (such as the enjoyably destructive Demolition), and new attack moves to the melee mix and you're left with the finest Dynasty Warriors title yet.
- New 'Siege Engines', including battering rams and tiger tanks
- Improved visuals and computer AI
- 33 unlockable characters
- Customise your own warrior and bodyguard