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''Dynasty Warriors'' (''Shin San Goku Musou'' [[note]]Literally ''True -- Three Kingdoms Unparalleled''[[/note]] in Japanese) is a series of games produced by Creator/{{Koei}}. They're based on the ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'', which covers one of the most turbulent eras of ancient Chinese history (and the basis for Koei's popular series of hard strategy games of the same name).

The games epitomize the HackAndSlash genre, although many of the games have [[UnexpectedGameplayChange special levels and "modes" of gameplay]], which allow single and multi-player duels between characters, as well as special "Challenge Modes", which allow the player to select a character and have them perform feats of strength and skill (although most of these are just an excuse to mash buttons).

The games feature a colorful cast of characters, most of whom are part of the storyline's three main warring factions, the Kingdoms of Wei, Wu, and Shu. There are also a few other characters thrown in, including the unsavory usurper Dong Zhuo and his [[EvilMinions Evil Minion]] UsefulNotes/LuBu, the greatest [[BadAss Badass]] in all of Ancient China. The games also feature lots of hammy voice acting, which is either very funny or very annoying... or sometimes both. This may make you want to plug your ears, but then you wouldn't be able to hear the game's cool Chinese-Techno-Rock Guitar soundtrack.

''VideoGame/WarriorsOrochi'' is a spin-off crossover of ''Dynasty Warriors'' with ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'', while ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriorsGundam'' [[XMeetsY combines the formula with]]... [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin well]], Franchise/{{Gundam}}s. Meanwhile, ''VideoGame/BladestormTheHundredYearsWar'' transposes the action to UsefulNotes/TheHundredYearsWar and takes players to the battlefields in medieval France, as well as giving the player a whole squad to do the incredible feats with, instead of one man, but is otherwise the same. There's also a game (and a sequel) based on ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' called ''VideoGame/FistOfTheNorthStarKensRage''. There's also ''VideoGame/WarriorsLegendsOfTroy'', based on the Trojan War. There is also a ''OnePiece'' game called ''VideoGame/OnePiecePirateWarriors'', which got two sequels. Aside from anime-based spinoffs, there's also a game based on ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' called ''VideoGame/HyruleWarriors'' as well as a game based on ''DragonQuest'' called Dragon Quest Heroes. There is also an [[VideoGame/DynastyWarriorsOnline online spinoff]].

New releases in this franchise are ... frequent, and charges of CapcomSequelStagnation are often levied by reviewers.

Given the games' LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters, here is a [[Characters/DynastyWarriors character sheet]] to learn more about them.

Has nothing to do with the 1980s TV show ''{{Series/Dynasty}}''.

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!!This game series provides examples of:

* AbsurdlyHighLevelCap: Played straight in DW 8:XL, where the highest level attainable is 150!
* AcousticLicense: A staple of the game, dialogue from characters when they appear in the ticker is heard as if they're standing right in front of the player. Even when an enemy is discussing their secret ploy.
* AnachronismStew: From types of clothing and weapons that would not be seen in China at that point of history to ''sentient tanks with flamethrowers'', things can be pretty anchronistic.
* AndYourRewardIsClothes: Before ''7'', one of the benefits you get for leveling up is the ability to select alternate outfits for your character. These are often taken from previous iterations of the game. From 7 onward alternate outfits are available from the start.
* AnnoyingArrows: {{Zig Zagged|Trope}} depending on the game you're playing and in some cases what cutscene you're watching. In some games archers are deadly player-killers, in others they're just as much of cannon-fodder as any other mooks. The same goes for cutscenes: sometimes you'll see a character become a HumanPincushion and laugh it off as JustAFleshWound, and other times they get KilledOffForReal with a single shot.
* AntiFrustrationFeatures:
** In ''7'' and ''8'', if an allied officer calls for help and you rendezvous with them, they'll automatically recover a portion of their health. This gives you a chance to actually rescue and abandon critical [=NPCs=], as opposed to being force to babysit them through the rest of the stage.
** Story Mode in ''7'' and ''8'' gives characters stat boosts to ensure they're ready to survive later stages with higher difficulties without any LevelGrinding.
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit: Your kingdom in the ''Empires'' spin-offs is generally limited with how many officers you can hire with the only logic being avoiding making the game laughably easy. [=AI=]-controlled kingdoms, however, have much more hiring power and can usually squeeze as many officers in a handful of provinces as you can fit in your entire kingdom.
* ArtificialBrilliance: Varies wildly between individual games. In some games, even the lowliest of cannon fodder will use teamwork and do fairly clever things...
* ArtificialStupidity: ...while in others the [=AI=] may appear to be programmed to being bipolar between AttackAttackAttack and DirtyCoward tendencies. As a rule of thumb, higher difficulty settings affect the [=AI=] only by making it more aggressive, but not really any smarter.
* ArtisticAge: Just about every non-patriarchal character looks to be in the late-teens/early-twenties range, with only a handful of characters looking any older.
* AscendedExtra: Over time many of the "generic" officers (those without unique character models and weapons) have become playable characters.
* AscendedMeme: ''Dynasty Warriors 3'' gave rise to the meme "DON'T PURSUE LU BU!", good advice considering [[ThatOneBoss/BeatEmUp Lu Bu was a beast who would wreck you if you did]]. Come ''Dynasty Warriors 7'', the achievement/trophy you get for defeating Lu Bu for the first time is "Okay, you can pursue Lu Bu."
%% * AutobotsRockOut: Roughly 70% of the soundtrack.
%% ** OrchestralBombing
* AutomaticCrossbows:
** The ballistae from ''7'', which are basically machine guns with arrows for ammunition.
** The "orbiting crossbow" weapon in ''8'' is basically a portable ballista.
* BabiesEverAfter: A feature promoted for ''8: Empires'' is that you can [[BabiesMakeEverythingBetter have babies with the character you marry.]] And about a year after the birth event the child will be ready for battle, and be a custom character automatically created with characteristics of both parents.
* BackToBackBadasses: Happens in the [=DW3=] opener, as well as whenever a Double Musou is performed, and occasionally in cutscenes too.
* BarbarianTribe: The Nanman Forces; the name 'Nanman' literally translates into 'southern barbarians'.
* {{BFS}}: Most blades are pretty huge, but the Greatswords really take the cake.
* BigDamPlot: The battles at Xiapi and Fan Castle. Both use a scheme of flooding castles during heavy rains by opening flood gates.
* BodyCountCompetition:
** A few mission objectives invoke this, but it tends to inevitably happen when two players start playing co-op.
** The "Defeat" mode in [=DW=] Online is also a bodycount race.
* BookEnds:
** In''7'', the first campaign you're likely to play is Wei, since it's the first selected. The last one is Jin, which is essentially Wei under a different name and ruler. Not only that, but the last battle for Jin has "[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Last Battle]]" as its theme, which contains a section of Crush 'Em All, the theme from the first battle in Wei.
** Wei's story in both ''7'' and ''8'' occurs this way with Xiahou Dun. Cao Cao even lampshades it in ''8''.
** Most of the final hypothetical stages in ''8'' attempt to invoke this with the roster of playable characters generally mirroring those from the first stages.
* BowAndSwordInAccord: In ''3'', ''4'', and ''5'', all characters can switch between their normal weapon and a bow at will. Huang Zhong had the Curved Dao and Bow until ''6'', and Xiahou Yuan uses the Bow and Rod, which is essentially a Bow and Club in Accord.
* ButtonMashing:
** Practically a defining quality of the series, and a big reason for its LoveItOrHateIt status.
** Literally mashing the main attack buttons during a Storm Rush in ''8'' puts a lot more swings into it.
* CallBack:
** ''7'' has this with music in Story Mode, with each faction having two to three songs that are combined to their final stage's theme(or they're all based on it). Both ''7'' and ''8'' use musical callbacks in non-battle themes.
** Some Musou and Rage attacks in the ''8'' series are fanservice-y call backs to movesets from the older entries in the series.
%% * CameraCentering
* CallToAgriculture: A common feature of many of Wei's endings, due to the presence of WorkingClassHero Xu Zhu, though many of the characters involved are [[TwentyFourHourArmor still wearing their heavy armor]] as they work.
* ChangingGameplayPriorities: In the early game, you care about your character's defense and health a lot. Later on, especially on higher difficulties, it's much more effective to just kill everything before it can become a threat to you. As better weapons and higher levels start rolling in, you'd want to maximize your attack efficiency and/or musou power in order to kill enemies faster. This is both for the GuideDangIt treasure acquisition missions and for the fact that enemies can combo-kill/musou you on any defense level in harder modes anyway.
* CharacterCustomization: Starting with [=DW4=] some games, particularly ''Xtreme Legends'' and ''Empires'', would allow you to create your own characters to use.
* ColorCodedArmies: Blue/Purple for Wei, Red for Wu, Green for Shu, and Teal/Light Blue for Jin as well as Yellow for the Yellow Turbans, Purple for Dong Zhuo, Black and White for Lu Bu, and Gold for Yuan Shao. In Story Mode, Unique Officers are even colored as such when they are in their original faction or when they changed faction much like [[TruthInTelevision what occured in actual medieval China]].
* CombatHandFan: Comes in a few varieties, including folding fans, feathered fans, and a polefan (a fan at the end of a stick).
* CombinationAttack: If two players are close enough to each other and detonate their [[LimitBreak Musou attack]] at the same time, they can achieve this. Some games allow this to be done with bodyguards and friendly [=NPCs=], especially in the ''Empires'' spin-offs.
* CompositeCharacter:
** Some canon characters are combined into one for the game's characters, occasionally to reduce the appearance of characters that were essentially [[FlatCharacter one-dimensional]] in the source material.
** The child feature in ''8 Empire'' does this, basically combining the features of both parents, not just looks but personality and weapon choice are also factors they take after their parents.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard:
** There's a way for the [=AI=] to cheat in every single game, whether it be having unlimited musou, treating death [[DeathIsCheap like a slap on the wrist]], teleporting, or even being immune to knockdowns and launches from throws.
** Averted in the Empires spinoffs for ''7'' and ''8'', where ''you'' can now return to the fight if KO'd under most circumstances.
%% * ConservationOfNinjutsu: The Video Game
* CoolHorse: Red Hare, canonically [[RedOnesGoFaster the fastest horse]] in the three-kingdoms era. As the oft-repeated quote goes: "Among men, Lu Bu. Among horses, Red Hare." There are also other notable steeds from the era such as Shadow Runner and Hex Mark.
* CouldHaveAvoidedThisPlot: The tragedy of Fan Castle could have easily been avoided if not for Guan Yu's HonorBeforeReason. A Hypothetical stage in ''8:XL'' drives this home by showing that, had Guan Yu swallowed his pride and honored the deal with Wu, Shu would have been able to concentrate fully on Wei, leading to a decisive victory at Wuzhong Plains.
%% * CounterAttack: In almost every game.
* CutsceneIncompetence: Happens in many character death scenes. Despite the fact that you slaughter them by the hundreds during gameplay, surrounded by 20 or so mooks in a cutscene and it's a life-or-death situation.
* DancePartyEnding: Most of the endings in the third and fourth games of the series; Zhang He's ending in the fifth involves him ''leading'' such a dance party.
* DarkerAndEdgier:
** ''7'' and ''8'' are noticably more dark than previous entries, due to them sticking closer and closer to the actual historical events of the Three Kingdoms era, especially ''8's'' Historical routes.
** Related to the above, Jin's story modes are generally the darkest out of the all the factions. Nearly all the non-Jin characters are already long dead by the time the Jin story begins with the exception of Shu's second generation and a handful of Wu officers, there is a ''lot'' more political intrigue such as assassinations, violent revolts and their equally violent suppression, and there is a seemingly nonstop string of betrayals.
* DarkestHour: Each kingdom's Historical path in ''8'' starts out with one, where key characters dying leaves every faction much weaker and snowballs into further tragedy.
* DavidVersusGoliath: ''Strikeforce'' introduces giant monsters. Anytime you're forced to fight Lu Bu often becomes this too.
* DeathOfAThousandCuts: Generally how you take on most of the harder enemies. It may also happen to a severely annoying [[JustForPun xtreme]] in [=DW4=]'s Xtreme Mode, thanks to having to buy your AfterCombatRecovery at progressively higher costs, and the enemies' tendency to GangUpOnTheHuman and throw MookChivalry out the window.
* DecapitatedArmy: For the overwhelming majority of battles, defeating the commanding officer results in victory. The few stages that avert this tend to have your commander reaching an escape point or wiping out every single enemy officer as the victory condition.
* DecisiveBattle: Chibi, which has the fledgling kingdoms that dominated the era having a showdown with Cao Cao's massive navy being burnt to cinders by a smaller force of scrappy underdogs later forming Shu and Wu.
* DefeatMeansPlayable: Almost exclusively how you recruit new officers in 8's Ambition Mode.
* DemotedToExtra: Several characters went from playable into a generic officer in ''6'', though this was fixed in ''7''.
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything:
** In ''5: Xtreme Legends'', the mission Struggle for the Book involves an undefeatable character named Master Lao. Using cheats, it's possible to kill Master Lao. If you kill him, the mission doesn't end or become {{Unwinnable}}, It just spawns another Master Lao... with no ill effects, and with the "X has defeated Master Lao" messages.
** In ''8'' and ''8:XL'', several stage and character combinations that make sense yet don't occur in Story Mode result in characters giving unique dialogue.
* DidntSeeThatComing: While you have to [[ForWantOfANail do a lot of work to set it up]], the battle the branches off into the Hypothetical Path in ''8'' usually involves a case of this. For instance, Shu's battle of Fan Castle: Extra strategists being alive? Minor annoyance. The flood attack failing? The have contingencies. Extra troops arriving early thanks to inproved leadership in other battles? Wei still has backup from Wu. [[spoiler: The Yellow Turbans, loyal to Liu Bei after being shown mercy all the way back at the first stage, showing up to completely blunt Wu's surprise attack? Not even Xu Shu saw that coming, and it was his rescue attempt.]]
* DoWellButNotPerfect: Unlocking certain "Ways of Life" for Create-A-Warriors in ''Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires'' requires you to do this. Ways of Life are unlocked by doing certain things to obtain Titles in Empire Mode, then beating the game. The problem is, you're automatically assigned the highest tier Way of Life you qualify for and you can't go backward, which makes it difficult to get some of the low-to-middle tier titles. Do you want your character to be known as an Undefeated Veteran? Fight defensive battles and do escort quests, but you better make sure those quests are all for the same person, because if you manage to get too many people to like you the game will automatically upgrade you to Trustworthy Hero!
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness:
** The very first entry in the series was a PS1 fighting game. Justified in that the Japanese version of said fighting game is not considered to be part of the series. The original game was titled "Sangokumusou," and localized in North America as "Dynasty Warriors." A spinoff of that game was released in Japan as "Shin Sangokumusou," but was localized as "Dynasty Warriors 2" due to the characters being essentially the same ones as in the fighting game. The sequel to "Shin Sangokumusou" was "Shin Sangokumusou 2," which was localized as "Dynsasty Warriors 3," leading to an ongoing discrepancy in numbers between the Japanese and overseas releases.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: The Hypothetical Endings in ''8'' require pretty specific actions in several battles and even with 99% of the requirements fulfilled [[ForWantOfANail can be averted with a single choice]].
* ElaborateEqualsEffective: More powerful weapons will look progressively more ornate.
* EliteMooks: In ''2'' through ''5'', the Guard Captains who served as bodyguards to famous officers are this, with equivalents in the Unit Commanders of ''8''. The Empires spin-offs for ''7'' and ''8'' have elites summoned via tactic cards
* ExplainExplainOhCrap: After Shu's victory against Wei at Mt Ding Jun in ''7'', Huang Zhong mentioned to Zhuge Liang about [[spoiler:Cao Cao's statement of being a decoy,]] leading the latter to realize that [[spoiler:their real target is Guan Yu at Fan Castle.]]
* FactionSpecificEndings: ''4'', ''7'' and ''8'' have these endings for each playable faction, ''8'' has two endings for each faction. [=DW=] Online and the Empires spin-offs have era-specific endings.
* {{Fanservice}}: Every female character is attractive and most of them have VERY revealing outfits. A few of the male characters get in on it too.
* FashionableAsymmetry: KOEI seems to love doing this to character outfits, especially to accessories like shoulder-guards or gloves.
* {{Flanderization}}: It has occurred to increasing degrees as the character roster increases, if only so that archetypically-similar characters can be told apart.
* FoeTossingCharge: Use a character with the Special Ability True Speed in ''6'', activate it, rush and keep mashing the Swift Attack. It's hilarious!
* FriendlyFireproof:
** You can rain a hail of death on a crowd of soldiers, or race into said crowd with flaming swords flailing, but miraculously your allies will emerge unscathed. [[ItsUpToYou Not that it really matters, of course...]]
** Zigzagged in [=DW7=], where your Musou attacks can hit your allies but don't damage them.
** Some Evil strategems in 7: Empires [[AvertedTrope will damage allies,]] such as Poison Mist and Ultimate Might. Also the wise strategy Inferno.
* GameplayAllyImmortality: Averted. While most allied [=NPCs=] have finite health and can be killed by enemies, in ''7'' the "Guide" [=NPCs=] in Story Mode (e.g. Lian Shi in Yi Ling and Liu Qi in Chi Bi Shu) are made invincible with no health bar shown, saving players the frustration of having to protect them along the way.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: In the 7: Empires and following Empires games, you can have characters swear an oath or have them get married if they have high enough bonds, but you may also edit special scenes with characters. This allows you to have sworn enemies such as Liu Bei and Cao Cao having an oath of brotherhood. It is also even possible to [[HoYay marry characters of the same gender]], or even a character with their own clone.
* GoryDiscretionShot:
** Xiahou Dun catching an arrow in the eye is done pretty well, given that they don't explicitly show the arrow in the eye (or Dun pulling it out) given the T rating.
** In ''7'', during the Jin Campaign, the execution of [[spoiler:Cao Shuang]] is handled this way.
** The death of [[spoiler:Zhang Liao]] in ''7'' involves a very gruesome sound effect, but the wound is obviously not shown for rating purposes, but instead zooming in on [[spoiler:Zhang Liao]]'s surprised face.
* GoshDangItToHeck: Older entries in the series generally allow lighter profanities, up until ''7'' completely removes them.
* GrappleMove: Throws were introduced in ''4'', limited almost exclusively to C1 attacks and removed in ''5''. Many more were subsequently added in ''7'' and they appear to be here to stay as of ''8''.
* GuideDangIt:
** Yeah, good luck getting any kind of ultimate weapon, special item, mount, or elemental orb on your own. In which game? ''Pick one''. To specify, it's the exact requirements to trigger the [[EventFlag item appearance]] which is what makes them hard to obtain. You are at least informed of ''where'' it spawns via the combat log afterwards though.
** Mostly averted in ''8'', which gives brief explanations on how to unlock ultimate weapons and fulfill hypotheticals after clearing all Story Mode stages, though occasionally [[LostInTranslation the description being unclear or vague due to the language]] does set things back very slightly.
* HackAndSlash: of the "One vs One Thousand" kind, which it is the TropeCodifier of.
* HappilyMarried: All the couples in the game, even when history or the ''Romance of Three Kingdoms'' novels might say otherwise.
* HardCodedHostility:
** The Yellow Turbans. They're very rarely a playable faction in the Story Mode (and then, only Zhang Jiao is a playable officer) since they're pretty much there to be the tutorial enemy; however, it is possible in some games to play on their side in Free Mode.
** ''8'' plays it straight and averts it with Shu's story, allowing the Yellow Turbans to potentially show up later as allies.
* HardModePerks:
** Playing on harder difficulties will get you better weapon-drops, better stat-increase drops, or just faster experience-gain in most of the games, except for ''7''. In most cases, the best weapons can only be aquired while playing on Hard Mode or higher.
** The ''Xtreme Legends'' version of ''7'' changed it back, and added the exclusive [[HarderThanHard Nightmare]] mode to boot.
** Although considering that the game already had ''Chaos'' mode, what would ''Nightmare'' be? [[SerialEscalation Harder Than Harder Than Hard?]]
** Nightmare is pretty much what Chaos was in WarriorsOrochi -- it's the same as Chaos, but now enemy attacks completely ignore your defense, meaning a mook can kill you in half a dozen hits. On the flip side, your allies also get powered up.
* HarderThanHard: The Chaos and Nightmare(or Ultimate) difficulty settings. Chaos increases enemy stats and aggression to the point that officer constantly spam Musou attacks which leave them invincbible very frequently and hitting the player with said invincible attacks tends to result in one-hit kills. The ''Nightmare'' difficulty is even tougher than that, with enemies possessing stats so high even with the player at maximum stats you're likely to lose a tenth of your health if you're hit by so much as a gentle breeze, and enemies kill you just by thinking about it.
* HarsherInHindsight: InUniverse. Lianshi's statement in ''XL'' that [[spoiler:no one would ever betray Wu]] becomes this if you've played Jin's Story.
* HeartContainer: Dim Sum baskets, at least in 3-5 and 7.
* HelloInsertNameHere: Edit Modes, figuring prominently in ''4'' onward, allow you to make your own characters.
* HighSchoolAU: Koei actually did an entire line of college/high school AU outfit DLC for each kingdom in ''7''.
* HistoricalBadassUpgrade: Most of the cast. Granted, some of those ancient warriors were actually pretty badass on their own....
* HistoricalBeautyUpdate: A number of the characters, particularly Yueying; one of the few things we know about the real Yueying is that she was widely considered to be notably ''un''attractive.
* HistoryRepeats: The final battle of Jin's hypothetical route in ''8'' takes place at Chibi, and involves a coalition of Wu and Shu forces trying to foil Wei's advance with a fire attack. This is pointed out in several of the camp conversations.
* HollywoodHistory: Played straight in the early main games and the Empires games. Averted with ''7'' and ''8'', which follow the actual history of the Three Kingdoms Era ''much'' more closely.
* HollywoodOld: Sun Jian. Despite his white hair, he doesn't actually look much older than 35 at the very most.
* HourglassHottie: Basically every female character.
* HyperactiveMetabolism: Buns and meat will heal your character while wine fills your Musou bar.
* ImpendingClashShot: At the end of the openings of Dynasty Warriors 7 & 8. they have Zhao Yun about to clash with Xiahou Dun, [[ArtisticLicenseMartialArts flying towards each other]], weapons brandished.
* ImprobableWeaponUser: You've got anachronistic weapons like a [[ThisIsADrill powered drill]] or the rocket powered Siege Lance, plus plenty of simply unlikely weapons like RazorWire, two [[MusicalAssassin Musical Assassins]] (one consists of smacking enemies with a flute), one gentleman who uses an "arm blade" (it's a boat), a pool cue user, one guy uses a brush... there's quite a few bizarre weapons.
** The DLC weapons runs the full gamut of improbable weaponry which goes from genuine weapons like the Emei Piercers and the Deer Horn Knives to blatantly anachronistic weapons like the arrow gatling gun that is the "Revolving Crossbow" to... a simple bench.
* IncrediblyLamePun: Soldiers in 8 often make one if you talk to them in camp.
* InNameOnly: Jin in [=DW7=] and ''8'' is basically Wei ruled by the Sima family instead of the Cao[=/=]Xiahou clan due to the plot being over before it's renamed.
* InSpiteOfANail: In ''[=DW8=]'', despite changing the outcomes of several important battles, [[spoiler:you still have to persuade Jiang Wei to defect Wei with the sole differences being that you play as someone else and you are in a different level]].
** Saving the lives of [[spoiler: Sun Jian, Sun Ce, Zhou Yu and Lu Su]] in the Wu campaign will still lead to them passing their duties to their successors and the plot continuing as normal [[spoiler:until the battle of Hefei.]]
* InterfaceScrew: Some stratagems can do this. For example, "Archer Ambush" confuses the enemy that falls into it. For the player this removes the map and the health and musou power gauges.
%%* InterfaceSpoiler: In [=DW8=] The battle of Xiapi shows Xiahou Dun [[spoiler: Wearing his trademark eyepatch which is the result of events within the battle. His portrait on previous levels shows him without.]]
%%** Not correct. [[spoiler:In 8, he loses his eye at the battle of Puyang, an earlier different battle with Lu Bu's forces. Many of the other games condensed the events.]]
* ItsPronouncedTroPAY: Up until ''7'', character names are pronounced like a mixture of really low-level layman, English speakers' understanding of Spanish and Japanese rather than Chinese. Starting with ''7'', though, the pronunciations are ''very'' much improved, although ''zhong'', Dong (as in Dong Zhuo), and Lu (as in Lu Bu) are all still off.
-->'''''COW COW!''''' ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0-mP6al7VI Is this how you choose to repay my generosity?!]]''
* ItsUpToYou: While allied units can take out enemy bases and officers, the player still has to deal with most of them. In particular, the player must deal the final blow to the enemy commander in an overwhelming majority of instances.
** Downplayed in the Empires spin-offs, where battles with your side possessing a great advantage can be won without so much as the player attacking a single time.
** ''8'' downplays this in Story Mode and Free Mode with assignments given by the de facto leader in a stage. Generally completing your assignments flawlessly results in your side having such a morale advantage that allows allied officers kick as much ass as the player, albeit mostly offscreen.
** ''8'' fiercely defies this in it's much happier hypothetical routes, where generally your preferred faction lives HappilyEverAfter.
* KilledOffScreen: Numerous instances of this. In historical paths characters die off-screen to coincide with the deaths of their real life counterparts. By the Jin campaign in 7 and 8, any characters who didn't actually die in battle have died offscreen.
* LastStand: Depending on which faction or character you play as, the games until 7 usually have variations of this where the final battle is one of the rival kingdoms putting up a last resistance. In the cases of Shu and Wei this usually happens at Wu Zhang Plains. Played straight in the hypothetical routes for 8 as well.
* {{Leitmotif}}: Lu Bu has always had his own theme(which also served as the game's theme up until ''7''), ''7'' and ''8'' give multiple themes to each faction.
* LegacyBossBattle: [[WarriorsOrochi Orochi, Da Ji, and Kiyomori]] can optionally be fought in ''Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce'' after clearing certain objectives.
* LevelUpAtIntimacy5: In ''Dynasty Warriors 6: Empires'' and subsequent ''Empires'' games and Conquest Modes you can marry another character. "Resting" with them will raise your level. Taking blood oaths with a member of the same gender (since there's no GayOption) will also result in that character randomly giving you gifts and bonuses.
* LighterAndSofter:
** Lots of unpleasant bits from the novel ''Literature/RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' are omitted or reworked to be more family friendly, ranging from a subplot with a princess committing suicide to an infant being thrown to the ground and more.
** While ''8'' follows more or less the same story as ''7'', it is still mildly less dark than its predecessor. The new Hypothetical routes allow you to prevent and negate the darker moments that were present in ''7'', and several characters who were morally grey and/or black in ''7'' have had their personalities reworked. (Xiahou Ba is less of an arrogant {{Troll}} and more of a conflicted, melancholy ApologeticAttacker, Sima Zhao's more ruthless traits have been transferred to new character Jia Chong, Lu Bu [[spoiler:becomes a WellIntentionedExtremist]], etc)
* LimitBreak: Musou attacks.
** DesperationAttack: True Musou attacks, slightly stronger. Unless a specific skill/attribute is in use, they can only be done while the player's health bar is red (as opposed to yellow or blue/green). Additionally, the musou gauge automatically charges when the player's health is this low.
* LivingMacGuffin: The Emperor of the Han is usually treated as such, because he has almost no agency of his own; whoever is in control of him controls the country.
* {{Loads and Loads of Characters}}: 35 in ''3'', 42 in ''4'', 48 in ''5'', 68 in ''7 Empires'' and 85 in ''8 Empires''. And that's just the playable characters!
* LuckStat: Determines quality of found items and frequency of drops or something like that. You can usually equip an item/ability or apply a skill to boost this.
* LuckBasedMission:
** Several quests in the online game have some luck in it. Usually, you can get a pretty high rank, even if you're completely screwed, but there are some quests where rank is determined almost completely by luck (we're looking at you, Rescue the Apprentice). Can also get like this in the single-player titles, since your allies have the tendency to [[ArtificialStupidity get themselves killed at the most inconvenient time.]]
** The "Infiltrate the Official Residence" quest in ''Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires.'' There are five total places where Wood Oxen can randomly spawn, and you need to find and break three of them to win. Two of them, however, are in an area where, due to poor AI pathing, you ''can not'' avoid the guards - you ''will'' be seen, which means several super-powered officers spawn in and the mission becomes unwinnable on all but the lowest difficulty settings. Better hope all three Wood Oxen decide to spawn in the space you can actually reach!
* {{Mooks}}: The troops. Only on the higher difficulty settings and in large numbers will they even manage to inconvenience you. The main difficulty of achieving 1000 (or 3000 in 7) K.O.s is finding enough of them to beat up.
* MoraleMechanic: The series eats and breathes morale. Morale determines who wins the battles when you're not in the area, and can make enemies harder to fight if they have a lot of it. You can reduce overall enemy morale and raise your own by killing troops, defeating enemies, and activating (or preventing) certain events.
* {{Mukokuseki}}: Designs for some characters look decidedly non-Chinese, ranging from a barbarian BattleCouple that could pass as African to a blonde tsundere to a young man the western fans think looks suspiciously like Music/JustinBieber.
* {{Multishot}}: Attacks with bows of any sort fired by an officer more often than not do this.
* MyNameIsQuestionMarks: A few enemy officers in the Zhuge Dan's Rebellion stage of ''8'''s Jin campaign are identified only as "???"[[spoiler:, as they were secretly dispatched by the Wei Emperor himself.]]
* {{Nerf}}: Zuo Ci's weapon gets one hell of a downgrade for the online game. It's [[GameBreaker kinda understandable, though.]]
** The ridable elephant in the online version as well. They no longer damage enemies by running into them, their basic attack is stupidly hard to aim at anything not as big as it is, its charge attack hits in a cone area instead of around it, and it's possible to dismount a rider with an attack that knocks someone down aimed at the elephant, along with killing the elephant outright. On the other hand, its musou is changed to a more powerful version of its original charge attack, it has its own life and musou bars, and if the enemy isn't relying on charge attacks, it is much harder to dismount a rider from his/her elephant, since attacks made onto the rider count as hitting the elephant instead.
* NeverASelfMadeWoman: [[JustifiedTrope Justified]], since it's based around feudal China and almost every single female character is either the love interest or relative of a male character.
** Averted with Wang Yi as her husband, Zhao Ang, is never referred as such.
* NeverTrustATrailer: The PC version of [=8:XL=]uses the graphics from the PS3 over the [=PS4=] version, after Koei advertised it using the [=PS4=] graphics.
* NoobCave: The Yellow Turban Rebellion is this in most games, albeit that's pretty similar to the book, where several of the major characters would establish their reputations from fighting against the rebels.
* OddballInTheSeries: ''Strikeforce'' replaces the vast armies and epic retelling of [=ROTK=] with huge monster bosses, [[SuperMode anime powerup forms]], and four player online co-op.
* OhCrap - "Lu Bu has entered the battlefield."
* OldSaveBonus: You get a few things when playing an ''Xtreme Legends'' or ''Empires'' title if you have a save for the corresponding game in the main line.
** The Xtreme Legends titles generally carry over all progress from the vanilla game's save.
* OneManArmy: Most of the time figuratively, but occasionally literally, as well. Lu Bu and Guan Yu are treated as such, with entire stages devoted primarily just to defeating them.
* PyrrhicVictory: Invoked in numerous battles. More especially present in Shu and Wei's endings beginning with 7, and picking the historical route in 8's branch out battle.
* PimpedOutCape: 7 Xtreme Legends gives this everybody, after you get the top title in Legend mode.
* PowerupMount: Horses and elephants, as well as {{bears|AreBadNews}} in ''7''.
* ProductPlacement: ''Dynasty Warriors 8'' has [[http://www.siliconera.com/2013/02/28/grab-that-refreshing-7-up-dynasty-warriors-8-costume-for-free 7-Up armor]] for Zhao Yun. This is because the game is actually the 7th in the series [[note]]Shin Sangoku Musou 7; MarketBasedTitle shenanigans are why Europe and North America are "ahead" by one. Only because the original Dynasty warriors is just Sangoku Musou.[[/note]].
* {{Public Domain Character}}s: Most characters are historical persons. Of those who aren't...
** Fu Xi and Nuwa are Chinese mythological deities.
** Bao Sanniang (and arguably Guan Suo) comes from another Ming Dynasty era work, ''Hua Guan Suo Zhuan'' (花關索傳).
* RealityEnsues: For all the high-flying action, giant explosions, and unrealistic weapons it contains, ''Dynasty Warriors'' is still technically HistoricalFiction. In real life not everyone gets a dramatic or heroic death, and not everyone gets to live out their dreams. That's reflected here, and can lead to a lot of {{Bittersweet Ending}}s and {{Downer Ending}}s.
* RecurringExtra: An unnamed peasant that continues to appear in the main camp in Shu's Musou mode in [=DW7=], who joined from as far back as the Yellow Turbans Rebellion and moves up the ranks as Liu Bei (and eventually Zhuge Liang)'s campaigning went on. He's back in ''8''.
** In [=7XL=], we get the "It's Me!" guy. He shows up in literally every camp, which puts him on something like 11 different sides over the years. The closest to an explanation we get is that he's a history buff, and likes being where the action is.
* RedshirtArmy[=/=]YouAllLookFamiliar: Does the character have a unique model and fighting style? If not he probably has no less than thirty identical twins in the game, provided he's a named officer at all. Does a name appear above his head at all? If not then he's so low on the foodchain that [[WhatMeasureIsAMook morality doesn't even apply to his life]], and he'll die for nothing just like [[AMillionIsAStatistic the thousands of his identical twins you yourself just finished killing]] in the span of about three minutes. Of course, given how often characters in these games get beaten in battle without dying, it's not much of a stretch to assume that a significant number off these casualties produce a NonLethalKO
* ReplayMode: Most entries in the series have Free Mode which allows replay of story stages and cutscene viewers that allow swapping characters around.
* RoaringRampageOfRevenge: Invoked numerous times within the game. Wang Yi, Ma Chao and Liu Bei are just a few examples of people who invoked the trope.
* RPGElements: Varies depending on the individual game, but defeating enemy officers is the one consistent trait in the series, either their defeat directly helps to level you up via [=EXP=] or they drop items that give permanent stats boosts.
* RubberBandAI: [=DW4=] is notorious of this. You've maxed out your character stats, acquired [[InfinityPlusOneSword the 11th weapon]] and had the "Slay" Elemental Orb equipped, ready to rock and roll the stages that you've been struggling with most of your playthrough. It's pay-back time, right? WRONG. Because suddenly you find that the mooks are even stronger than they were on your first play-through, with even more devious A.I. and insane damage that renders your maxed-out stats and high attack feat moot, and you'd probably have a better chance of beating it playing as a fresh-start character...
** Inverted in ''8''; see AntiFrustrationFeatures above.
* RunningGag: In ''7: Xtreme Legends'', [[ObfuscatingStupidity Liu Shan]] will intrude on certain battles, commenting that he was just taking a stroll and got lost. [[ComicallySerious Xingcai]] follows close by to berate him for his "clumsiness."
** In ''8'', Han Dang being constantly unremembered in Wu's story is source of many frustrations for him. Also in the same side, there'll be a soldier who'd comment on what Lianshi is doing behind the scenes, even if she's not present in the camp. Mostly about her budding romance with Sun Quan (or the soldier's being jealous at how Lianshi gave the attention to Quan).
** Sima Yi and Sima Shi calling someone an imbecile.
** Also in ''8'', each stage that has a camp will have a Private who tells his own little sidestory depending on which faction you're playing as. The Wei Private tells you historical trivia about Cao Cao, the Wu Private comments on Sun Quan and Lianshi's budding relationship, the Shu Private [[spoiler:and later his son]] talks about how he will follow Shu to the end as repayment for Liu Bei saving his life, and the Jin Private talks about how he eavesdrops on Sima Zhao getting in trouble with his family and officers.
* SceneryPorn: Inverted. The scenery in this series is infamous for being as bare-bones as possible so the computer can render as many enemy soldiers on screen as possible. Only much later in the franchise, like [=DW7=] or ''WarriorsOrochi 3'', is there decent scenery.
** Played straight by [=DW6=] which, for all its faults, features some of the best-looking stages in the series, which are consisted of amazingly detailed landscape and nice lighting. The combined effect looks splendid, holding a strong contrast to its rather dull-looking counter-parts in the previous titles.
** Played straight again in ''8'', the developers obviously put a lot of thought into area graphics, with levels like Baidi castle being downright awesome to look at.
* SchmuckBait: Some people will view the words "Do not pursue Lu Bu" as an invitation. They will most likely get their asses handed back to them.
** In the online game, any canon officer announcing they have entered the battlefield will be unless you know what is going on.
* SelfImposedChallenge: ''[=6E=]'' and occasionally ultimate weapons require this.
* SequenceBreaking: Before ''6'', a common and effective tactic is to just bum rush the enemy commander since they're usually spawned immediately and defeating them immediately ends the stage. Since ''6'' though, there are usually hurdles in place to prevent this.
* ShoutOut: A set of DLC costumes in ''7'' turn the cast into fairy tale characters, most especially western European ones.
** Some of the DLC costumes for Shu characters very clearly turn them into a SuperSentai / PowerRangers type of group.
** There's even a case of a ShoutOut to a Chinese ''idiom''--"[[Main/SpeakOfTheDevil Speak of Cao Cao, and Cao Cao will appear]]". ''Dynasty Warriors 8'' has a running gag in the Wei story mode where people keep commenting on Cao Cao's uncanny ability to appear soon after he's mentioned, and how he must have an incredible information network to accomplish this.
* SlowMotionFall: Happened frequently in 8.
* SpinAttack: Quite a lot of Musou attacks (and a few Charge attacks) have an element of this.
* SprintShoes: Equipment and weapons with the Speed attribute increase running speed. There's also a temporary boost dropped by enemies, which is a pair of boots. Mounts also fit to some extent.
* SpreadingDisasterMapGraphic: This is a standard depiction of the kingdoms' conquests and territorial expansion during the pre-battle narrations; with the occasional Tetris T-block to represent a particular officer or ruler moving from one province to another. Also ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Green for Shu, Indigo for Wei, Red for Wu, Cyan for Jin.
* SuperMode: All officers have this in the Strikeforce games.
* SuspiciousVideoGameGenerosity: Does your army start with a higher morale than the others do? Then be prepared for something really bad to happen within the level.
* SympatheticPOV: Every playable faction gets this in their campaign, and it works.
** Wei: Pragmatism is the only way to fix things.
** Wu: Unity and bonds are what it takes to unite the land.
** Shu: Benevolence fixes everything.
** Jin: Only the Sima Clan and those who work for it has the right to rule the land, the rest are all imbeciles.
** Lu Bu: Only strength gets things done.
* TalkingToYourself: Invoked in the Japanese side. A few notable mentions include both Qiao sisters, Sima Yi and Shi, and Zhao Yun and Zhuge Liang.
* TacticalRockPaperScissors: ''8'' introduces the three-point system, where every weapon has one of three affinities (Earth, Heaven, or Man). Having an advantage over the opponent's weapon gives enhanced attack and defense and allows a powerful "Storm Rush" attack, having a disadvantage means reduced stats, but allows the player to perform a [[CounterAttack Switch Counter]] to switch weapons, stagger the enemy, and enter Hyper Mode for a moment.
* TechDemoGame: ''Dynasty Warriors: NEXT'', the first game in the series to be released on PS Vita, has game elements with touch-screen control schemes shoehorned in as an attempt to show off the console's touch-screen capability. The results range from being mildly fun, tediously dull, [[{{Waggle}} to downright frustrating]].
* TimedMission: Omnipresent but mostly superficial as you'll generally need to go out of your way to run out of time.
** Averted in ''7'', which has no stage timer.
* TitleDrop: Achieving 1000 kills in the Japanese versions have characters or their allies call themselves a "Truly Peerless Warrior of the Three Kingdoms."
** English localizations use essentially the same wording, though in a few examples we find ourselves being called "True Dynasty Warriors."
* TooLongDidntDub: The combat vocals in ''3'' have no non-Japanese recording.
** The English dub for ''8'' doesn't include audio for the narration between story mode battles or for most camp conversations.
** Only text is translated in the English versions of ''7: Empires'' and ''8: Empires''.
* TraumaCongaLine: The canon story progression in ''7'' and ''8'', it's just one tragedy after another.
* TrueCompanions: ''7: Empires'' and ''8: Empires'' let your character become "sworn siblings" with up to two other characters. There's a special event based off of ''RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms'' if you arrange for Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei to become sworn siblings.
* UnstoppableRage: The rare Rage coins in ''5'' improve your character's attack, defense, walking speed, attack speed, and allow use of an even stronger Musou attack for 60 seconds.
** Rage mode in ''8'', which does most of the same slightly better but also allows the Rage Musou attack to last as long as you can keep picking up Musou refills. This leaves playable characters at levels of destruction just shy of making them a living FantasyNuke.
** Soul Orbs in Dynasty Warriors Online. For the length of the battle, you are allowed to turn into the officer corresponding to that soul instead of having your weapon's Advanced+ ability for a LONG time.
* VictoryPose: [=DW7, DW7E DW8=] have an odd aversion: win poses were removed, but you can still run around until the screen fades out or you push a button.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Since only you are capable of downing the enemy commander, one of the possible amusements to get out of this is to strip the enemy commander of all his troops, have half a dozen or so allied officers surround him, then stand back and watch the poor soul getting juggled up and down like a helpless human volleyball.
* VillainExitStageLeft: All defeated enemy commanders do this during a given character's story, unless it's the last battle in the story, or if it was their time to die historically.
** ''7'' has Jiang Wei doing this no less than ''four'' times (in four failed invasions of Wei -- though he had three more in the novel) in Jin's story before being the final boss of Battle of Chengdu, and one of Zhuge Liang's Legendary Stages in ''7'' has Meng Huo doing this a whopping ''six'' times before finally surrendering after his seventh defeat -- again, right out of the novel.
** In ''5'', Zhang Liao reappears '''4 times''' in the battle of Hefei.
* WarElephants: War elephants are generally used as mounts by the Nanman, and sometimes unlockable as a companion animal by the player character.
* TheWarSequence: Dynasty Warriors is the very epitome of the war sequence. Pretty much the whole series is made of them.
* WeaponOfChoice and almost all its subtropes, most notably BladeOnAStick and SwordFight: Absolutely ''everyone''.
* WelcomeToCorneria: The soldiers in the camp from 7 onward always say the same things no matter how may times you talk to them.
* WhatIf: The Hypothetical routes in 8, which essentially tell what would happen if everything just happened to work out exceptionally well for each kingdom.
* WorldOfBadass
* WorldOfHam
* WrestlerInAllOfUs: More prevalent in 7, but many officers use wrestling moves for some throws, such as Giant Swing for Zhang Fei and any wielders of the Gloves moveset, Backdrop Suplex and Muscle Buster for Huang Gai, and Armbar for Deng Ai. ''8'' gives Huang Gai or any who wields his default weapon the [[StreetFighter Spinning Lariat]] (via Huang Gai's Rage Musou or the weapon's Storm Rush). Also Zhuge Dan gains an elbow drop.
* XtremeKoolLetterz: The non-Empires expansion packs are titled "Xtreme Legends".
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