These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Is Liu Bei a benevolent ruler like he claims himself to be? Or is he an ambitious, naive warlord deluded by his ideals and self-importance? Or is he a cunning politician who uses the words "Benevolence", "Virtue", "Righteousness", etc. to attract the masses and for his political advantage?
Is Zhuge Liang a brilliant, honorable strategist who wished to see justice brought back to the world? Or is he only in it for the prestige and fame?
Shu in general. Does everyone really wish for a land of virtue and benevolence? Or are they only interested in glory and conquest, hiding their real intent behind a veneer of righteousness?
Or at minimum, is Shu (and more specifically Liu Bei) really motivated by the needs of the people, or are they glorified Knight Templars who believe anyone who goes against them is evil? Note that the Shu ending in Dynasty Warriors Next sees Shu killings all its enemies, just as Wei does, including Liu Bei's own wife, while the Wu ending has Sun Quan sparing his fellow warlords and convincing them that they have a place in the new order.
Liu Shan in 7 and Warriors Orochi 3. In the source material, he's basically dismissed as a moron, possibly outright retarded as a result of being dropped on his head as a baby. (See: The Battle at Changban.) DW reinvents him as a Brilliant but Lazy and highly enlightened leader who employs Obfuscating Stupidity to avoid letting things get 'too complicated', and surrenders to Jin not out of cowardice, but because of the realization that this age of strife won't end until SOMEBODY takes the first step to ending the fighting.
Jia Chong: pragmatic political officers who does the dirty work no one else is willing to in the best interests of his leaders, or cold-blooded murderer who enjoys the bloodshed of his enemies and just coincidentally chooses the best course of action?
To elaborate on that, most professional reviewers take the stance of an average gamer who just came to the franchise by random, not interested in any historical aspects, and generally don't care about any of the story-lines. Better example is the vocal protests people get when Samurai Warriors 3 was released, they removed story-modes for a few characters. To say the least, most professional reviewers couldn't care less for that, as for them most characters play the same anyways.
Averted with 8; it was the highest praised installment of the entire series, scoring relatively well with most reviewers (IGN gave it an 8.5) with the exception of Game Informer.
Due to Values Dissonance, Americans do not take to Xiaoqiao well; she's generally likely to be voted as the most disliked Wu character. The reason is mostly because she looks way younger than her husband, which makes Zhou Yu (whom they mostly respect) look like a lolicon. Adding to that the fact that she's a very perky and bubbly girl not exactly known for her intelligence just adds fuel to the fire. The Japanese are more accepting of her, though it's still somewhat acknowledged that she feels too young to be Zhou Yu's wife.
Bao Sanniang. It seems you ever really love or hate her. A Genki Girl who parades around in a Stripperiffic outfit while killing thousands of soldiers. Her haters claim she is just pure Fanservice and tries too hard, while her fans find her refreshing and cute. Seeing her go Cat Girl in her musou only gave her fans more to love and her detractors more to hate.
Liu Shan in DW7. Though given that he is one in real life this comes as no real surprise. Fan either love his Historical Hero Upgrade or hate that he isn't portrayed as the Suck Sessor that he is.
The whole Shu faction in general is seen as this due to many seeing them as Creator's Pets. While some are fine with keeping the favorable line in the novels, others are annoyed, feeling that what better light they got in the novel, they think it's ramped Up to Eleven (these camps are mostly history fans who sees Shu as inefficient) and there's even a base who's annoyed at how much of a downgrade Shu got in the Jin era while the Jin faction got a lot of sugarcoating (as historical Sima Zhao was actually far crueler; 8 tends to foist some of that onto the newly playable Jia Chong).
Recently, Zhao Yun. Koei can introduce all the new characters it wants to the series, but it's clear that he will always be the poster boy of the series, constantly being on the cover and focused on in the intro movies, especially the recent games.
Zuo Ci. Some fans are happy to finally have him back not having been in the series since the DW 5 games. Others feel like he's taking a roster spot from more deserving Others characters and that he should've stayed in the Warriors Orochi series with other "mystical" characters.
Years after it's release, Dynasty Warriors 6. Many fans will tell you they hated the game for it's renbu system, and all of the clones, though they tend to not mention what else the game brought to the table. In it's defense, some players fondly remember Siege Battles, a new Duel System, Parrying, Dodge Rolls, Running charge Attacks, the best AI of PS3/X360 era of DW games, and all the extra graphic work that was done for mood and tone of the stages. Much of this has not been seen in the game since Dynasty Warriors 6.
Or they did, and found that Renbu was so bad it over-shadowed what Dynasty Warriors 6 did right.
The more recent characterizations. Some take them well... some does NOT take well how much Sun Shangxiang goes from a no-nonsense, ball-busting Action Girl into a more girlier version that swoons over Liu Bei and spends more time in Shu (even getting a Shu color scheme); or how Cao Ren focuses more on his 'impenetrable defense' than his anti-chaos stance (which made him an Anti-Villain); or how Zhenji goes from a cool-headed Ice Queen into a haughty Rich Bitch; or how the Shu characters, especially Liu Bei, goes from 'for the Han restoration!' to 'Benevolence!'. Just about the only accepted change would be Cao Cao going from a Card-Carrying Villain into a well-intentioned Anti-Villain.
Xiahou Dun is slowly veering toward this path, having been openly admitted by the producer for being his favourite character, he's received much special treatments from appearing in the opening CG to appearing in battles he didn't historically or canoncially participated, even outright robbing screentime from other characters (Cao Ren and Xu Huang at Fan Castle being the most egregious example). These alone raised many controversies among fans, accusing Xiahou Dun for stealing the already precious screentime from less popular characters.
Best Level Ever: In 8, many people love the Battle of Chibi. Not only does it involve all three kingdoms in one of the fiercest and most famous battles in Chinese military history, it also has arguably the most epic song in the game, Capricious Wind, a track that remixes the theme songs of all three kingdoms into on epic-ass power metal music fest.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Slowly becoming more and more prevalent with the ever-increasing amount of weapons introduced with each progressive game, resulting in many moves never getting used, while others become the sole tactics under higher difficulties. As of DW8, the Halbred's Switch Attack and the Throwing Knives' Normal Attack are two of the most popular tactics. Item and skill selections are also prone to this.
The most controversial change is the Renbu system, actually requiring incredibly long chains of Button Mashing in order to build up to your very best attacks. Or as one fan mentioned on a YouTube video: "Are you ready to press square three times and roll?"
It didn't help that this actually increased the physical toll on the controller's Normal Attack button (X on Xbox 360, Square on PlayStation 2 or 3) even more than previous games did, while the first Charge Attack would have a charge-up time even if comboing into it, making Charge Attack chains an unviable alternative. Probably because of the negative fan reactions, the seventh main game returned to the traditional four-attacks-long Normal attack chains, with fifth and sixth Normal attacks being unlocked by skill points. You're still button mashing, but at least it's different buttons.
Many characters were given radical Unnecessary Makeovers and weapon changes. Liu Bei and Sun Quan both lost their facial hair and look much younger. Lu Bu lost his trademark halberd and gained a strange-looking cross weapon. Most of these redesigns, particularly the more criticized ones, were reverted in DW7, though the younger and better-looking protagonists remain.
Sorcerer units in the earlier games. Not only do their spells do elemental damage (thus ignoring the Defense feat), they can also cast ice spells to freeze you in place for a good 5 seconds. Not something you'd want when you're surrounded by a huge horde, or several enemy officers. It's a relief to see them removed in 6.
They are back in 8, although thankfully only for a brief section in a couple of stages.
Juggernauts from 4 onwards. They have thick armour, breath devasting flames and can turn incredibly fast for something of its size to keep its aim at you. A huge pain if you have to deal with more than a couple at a time.
Things get worse in Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, where they are invulnerable when appearing in weapon bases, forcing you to constantly dodge while frantically trying to reduce the base strength.
In the online game They qualify as well, being just as hard to kill but also being slightly counter intuitive in that require damage (Hits take off more HP from buildings) to hurt them more rather than attack (Which takes off more HP from living enemies the higher it is. They are sometimes required to be defeated for to capture a base. There is an easy enemy trick with either a fast attacking weapon (All attacks against buildings are the same no mater what the attack is, so faster weapons automatically have more DPS than buildings) or the cursed deck (Unlike other structures Juggernauts take damage from indirect attacks, and the cursed deck happens to have an attack that spams many and normally only one of them hits an enemy)
Crossbow soldiers in 5's Extreme Mode can receive elemental upgrades in certain scenarios, boosting their status from Goddamned Bats into this. In these scenarios their arrows are either imbued with the Fire element, thus deal persistent damage as long as the target stays airborne, or with the Ice element, which is practically the Sorcerer's ice spell, but faster, hit harder, and more accurate. They can pose even more of a threat to your lieutenant officers, who have difficulty hitting them due to their tendency to run off when approached, leading your officer to chase after one, only for the other four to casually freeze/torch him to death with ease.
6's Halberd-wielding generic officers are bane to any player, pro or novice. Yes, they are slow, but their high attack priorty and insane damage more than makes up for this flaw, and they are smart enough to work with their allies to infinite-combo you when they get the chance. You'll be lucky if the one you encounter is named, as the unnamed lieuntant halbred officers always attack in groups.
Thanks to new tweaks in 7's Xtreme Legend expansion, Banner Soldiers in Nightmare difficulties can randomly give their commanding officer Offense/Defense/Speed buffs, heal him, or drain your Musou Gauge, all at an interval of less than 10 seconds. Imagine getting tossed in the air, hoping to use an aerial Musou Attack to save your sack, but only to see a flash of blue light goes by and your Musou Gauge suddenly gets drained from full to dry.
And its counterpart, Dynasty Warriors 7, has cavalry units. Their main and only tactic is to charge at you en masse, constantly knocking you down (or juggling you if you're really unlucky), and on Normal or higher difficulty, the only thing that might be able to give you a chance to escape is a musou attack. Which they have a tendency to dodge during the starting animation. Have fun.
And the series' longstanding problem with graphics limitations, which frequently saw enemy soldiers blink into existence around you, became even more pronounced and annoying with the cavalry units.
Ballistae and Arbalests, the former hits hard and causes you to flinch and latter hits really HARD and some are indestructible.
Despite being vastly outnumbered by the male cast, the female characters are incredibly popular and have many fans. Sun Shang Xiang, Da and Xiao Qiao, Diao Chan, and Zhen Ji being the most noted. DW7 introduced Wang Yuanji of Jin who became popular both in Japan and the West for her looks and character. The Jin Kingdom itself became very popular with fans due to its newness and having a Cast Full of Pretty Boys.
If there was any doubt of the females' (Especially Yuanji's) Darkhorse status, theseresults from a recent Japanese poll has 2/3 of the female cast ranking in the top half.
As of 8, the 'Darkhorse' title seems to have fallen from Yuanji to Guan Yinping. She is popular on both sides, and has only two Story Stages compared to Yuanji, and she wasn't even married to an influental person. This is also despite a lot of anti-Shu movement, but both pro and anti sides would agree that Yinping is either tolerable or great. Her moveset and her cute face and design probably helps a lot with her popularity.
Despite the fact that she only serves to be a computer player when there isn't a fourth player on 1 side, Ling Ling is pretty popular among the english speaking community.
In the NPC circle, Wu's Cheng Pu is always a top contender of getting into 'wishlist of next officer to be included in the DW roster', even if his claims were just 'being around Wu for a very long time since Sun Jian's era' and not exactly having a notable event. Koei never seems to bite in so far with this, and in 8 they instead gave the "served with all three Sun males (Jian, Ce and Quan)" role in the Wu roster to Han Dang. Liao Hua seems also to be Cheng Pu's Shu counterpart, always getting into 'needs to be playable wishlist' for serving Shu from birth to collapse, but never got playable. Another good candidate would be Sun Shao of Wu (Sun Ce and Daqiao's adopted son) and Yang Hu of Jin (Cai Wenji's nephew who serve Wei and Jin in a manner of from zero to hero, of sorts)
Considering women in the novel are always overlooked, women that are not yet playable occasionally can become this trope, being discussed a lot and wondered if they'd ever make it to DW. So far, notable examples include Lady Wu/Wu Guotai (Sun Jian's wife and the Wu matriarch, usually thought that she will be a Cool Old Lady), Lady Bian/Bian Shi (Cao Cao's wife who interestingly share some traits with Lianshi, especially Rags to Riches and Team Mom. Above all, though, she's also Token Good Teammate, according to material source), Lady Guo/Guo Nuwang (Cao Pi's favorite concubine at cost of Zhenji and rumored to be responsible of getting Cao Pi to order Zhen's suicidenote considering Zhen is already a RichAlpha Bitch here, how do you suppose Nuwang would out-bitch that? There's implication that Zhenji in the game is Composite Character between historical Lady Zhen and Lady Guo, though.), Sun Shi (Sun Ce's daughter and Lu Xun's wife. No clue whether her birth mother is Daqiao or not), Sun Luban (Sun Quan and Lianshi's daughter, rumored to be a Manipulative Bitch in late-Wu), Xin Xianying (smart late-Wei officer's daughter who advises Sima Yi in his campaign against Zhuge Liang, and a close-relation to the aforementioned Yang Hu and suspicious Zhong Hui like Wang Yuanji), Yang Huiyu (Cai Wenji's niece (and the aforementioned Yang Hu's sister) who becomes Sima Shi's wife), Dong Bai (Dong Zhuo's granddaughter), and some.
Before DW6, Sun Shang Xiang was usually paired with any of the "hot" Wu guys like Gan Ning, Lu Xun, Ling Tong, or Zhou Yu as opposed to her canon Love Interest Liu Bei. Koei seemed to counter this by making Liu Bei much younger and attractive looking in DW6. Before he looked a good 15-20 years older than her. After doing this there was a noted rise of Liu Bei x Sun Shang Xiang fanart and fanfics. Mission Accomplished.
Same thing with Cao Pi and Zhen Zi. Before DW5 Zhen Ji was usually paired with Zhao Yun or Zhang He, especially in the context of Cao Pi's historical behavior torwards Zhen Ji. However Zhen Ji and Cao Pi became more popular with DW 5 given the lattter being portrayed as much nicer towards Zhen in-game then he was in real life.
Guan Ping and Xing Cai. Despite her being based on the historical wives of Liu Shan, Koei has teased that they might have feelings for each other.
On the yaoi side of fandom, Ma Chao & Zhao Yun have had a strong fan following for many years (arguably an example of a Token Minority Couple, given they were both young, handsome, almost exclusively pre-occupied with things like honor and justice, and up until DW6, spear-wielders) before Koei decided to make it official and actually give them an in-game friendship. With proper cutscenes! And special dialogue!!!! Whether it was Koei taking notes or just pairing up the spares is anyone's guess.
Due to how young the Qiao sisters look and how close Sun Ce and Zhou Yu are, it's really understandable how those two are shipped together more than with their canon wives.
Honestly? Actually in Zhenji's legendary battle in 7, Daqiao addresses Lu Xun as her beloved! Could this mean the game's Daqiao is actually Composite Character from historical Daqiao and her historical daughter?
To be fair, the material source doesn't mention that said daughter is born from Daqiao or not. So the said daughter may not be her biological daughter. Despite this, the daughter is still Daqiao's stepdaughter since Daqiao is still Sun Ce's wife/widow by the time the daughter married Lu Xun.
Still Squick, because this implies Lu Xun has an Oedipus Complex with his stepmother-in-law.
Fanon: Despite technically not being owned by anyone, some fans have taken the initiative to pair DLC weapons with the "cloned" characters in DW7 due to their appearance in stages where you fight for the rare versions of the weapons. Some of these pairings do make sense, however as prior to DW6 Yue Ying, Xu Huang and Huang Gai used the Dagger Axe, Great Axe, and Bombs (Somewhat) respectively while Xiahou Dun used the Mace in DW6. However, as of DW7:XL, this has been Jossed as Dun's sword has ascended into its own weapon category.
Thanks to Dynasty Warriors Next,Warriors Orochi 3 and Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires, all the DLC weapons have now been assigned to previously 'cloned' characters, and 8 has no cloned characters at all.
In the earlier games, combine the Shadow Harness with Ma Chao or Zhou Tai for instant win. Even on the hardest difficulty, as long as you don't get one shotted, all generals and masses of enemies can be easily defeat by spamming the attack button and moving around a little. Considerably nerfed in the latter games but still powerful.
In Dynasty Warriors 3, when you encounter a commander face-to-face and their battle taunt cutscene triggers, their "Commander Stamina" activates and, even on Novice, you can barely chip off a few centimeters of their health with every hit. How do you get around this ridiculous defense boost? Pelt them with arrows without triggering the cutscene. Watch their health plummet faster than your army's morale on Very Hard. It should be noted that this does not work on Lu Bu as he always has Commander Stamina. Have fun with that.
The "Steel" element in DW3 killed any non-officer automatically and could do heavy damage to officer characters (a percentage of their current health, regardless of your strength and their defense). Cao Cao, in particular, became nearly unstoppable with this; you pretty much had to set the difficulty to Hard to be challenged at all with him. (And Cao Cao's was achieved in the Yellow Turban Rebellion stage, meaning it was difficult, but not impossible, to get it in the first stage of his story mode. You could then leave the game set on Hard and probably not be significantly challenged for the rest of his story.)
The bow moveset for Sun Shang Xiang and Yue Ying in Dynasty Warriors 6. Once the character is fully leveled up, it is ridiculously easy to mow down enormous crowds and strike repeatedly at enemy officers before they even get within range of you.
Despite Lu Bu's quasi-Nerf in 7, he's the only character with a built-in Synergy "seal" in his skill tree to go with the possible Synergy seal on each weapon, which (by being the only possible character who can "stack Synergy 3x") gives him the highest Attack power in the game. Equip two Halberds with a Synergy seal on each, one preferably the Black Dragon Halberd, then use his Switch Attack (which buffs his attack speed temporarily and can also stun an opponent) on a regular basis and proceed to murder all in your path at super speed.
Lu Bu is also overpowered in the sense that he has no less than 3 unblockable moves, 1 of which is an aerial Musou Attack that deals massive damage and the other has a long invincibility frame. Coupling this with his Halberd's speed buff Switch Attack, and he becomes virtually unstoppable.
Created characters in Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires get whatever weapon you want them to use as a first weapon. Yes, that little girl you just created as a Halberd user can now cause massive shockwaves with its EX attack: an invincible Grapple Move, in the form of a one-handed chokeslam. All the Grapple Moves in this game grant a small bit of invincibility while it's being performed, but that one move...
In Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends, acquiring a title for officers that allows them to absorb a portion of the damage they deal to enemies as health when they wield Speed-type weapons. If your officers have high enough attack and strong enough weapons, they can keep their health at maximum forever. You can practically steamroll even the most difficult (5 stars and above) Chaos difficulty stages with relative ease, and health recovery items are completely unnecessary. The only way to be challenged with this setup is to play the even more difficult Nightmare difficulty stages, where enemy officers gain free attack and defense boosts, along with Combat Resistance (normal attacks do not make them flinch). In hindsight, it appears this ability was made for the Nightmare difficulty in mind...
In DW7 Empires, any characters with the Evil Main Fame are this, largely due to the fact that it gives you ample amounts of resource incomes and allows the use of ridiculously powerful Strategems. To name just a few: the Explosion Strategem can continuously blow away all approaching enemies and set bases on fire for a good 15 seconds, while the Poison Mist Strategem outright kills any surrounding enemies in less than 5 seconds under any difficulty. Ultimate Might, the crown jewel of the Evil Strategems, takes the cake by boosting your character attributes to insane levels that a few hits is enough to take down even the most fortified base, and anything the enemy throws at you will barely give you a scrath. Oh, and this effect lasts as long as you still have remaining Troop Strength.
The Brave Main Fame characters also have shades of this, as one of the main benefits grants by this Fame is insanely fast Musou recharge rate and movement speed, both of which increase proportionally to the character's Fame level. Coupling these with the powerful Strategems it gives you, such as "Immovable", which prevents any if all damage to be dealt at you for a good 30 seconds, and a bit of skill, and you have your unstoppable Lightning Bruiser right here.
DW7's Curved Sword (Zhou Tai's EX weapon). No, not because of its weapon strength, but when combined with a character with maximum Dash skill, they're capable of using a maneuver that makes them as fast as (or faster than) Red Hare: By jumping, air-dashing, attacking mid-air, then jump-cancel, air-dash, attack mid-air, jump-cancel, repeat ad-nauseum. Not exactly combat-breaking, but will break some difficulties about reaching out some Lv 5 weapons with strict time limit.
Sun Jian is obscenely broken in Advance, thanks to the nice coverage on his moveset and his second charge having a VERY long combo chains(with each hits having Super Effective Bonus) that makes killing officer easy. Furthermore, unlike most characters who have simmilarly overpowered offense(namely Xu Zhu, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei), Sun Jian has a standard movement speed, and an easy to control Musou that deals high damage. While a lot of character can be a killing machine in Advance, Sun Jian has a combination of traits that make him stand at the top as the best character in the game.
Zhang Jiao's Shaman Rod weapon in 8. Its C5 attack ends with a fire wave in front of him that DESTROYS anyone caught in it. Even enemies wielding a weapon with the element the staff is at a disadvantage to will get stunned and burned for their trouble. And since it's a Dash weapon, it's best wielded by the most mobile characters in the game. Doing the combo and rapidly air-dashing out of crowds makes the game RIDICULOUSLY easier.
Although it's still substancially overshadowed by Zhang Jiao's own R1 Musou, which comes in the form of a violent storm of fireballs that hit so ridiculously hard it may as well be the DW universe's equivalent of tactical nukes. It is also one of the few Musous that lets you regain control of your character before it has finished firing, so you're free to follow up with another hailstorm of destruction just in case anything survived the first one. Now say it with me:"Fear the wrrrrrrath of the HEAVENS!!"
In Dynasty Warriors 8, each type of weapon has a unique bonus ability. Boosts in attack and defense, being able to cancel into certain moves that would be otherwise impossible, and so on. And then we have the Halberd weapons. When switching into a Halberd, the player gains a HUGE attack bonus, doubles speed (like your character is on fast-forward) and makes all your attacks hit twice for 5 seconds. It may sound not that impressive, but during these 5 seconds you're so fast that you will be able to do two □, □, □, □ combos, wich will kill anyone nearby (filling your Musou and Rage gauges very fast) and deal incredible amounts of damage on officers. And when you switch off from your Halberd, you make a swipe attack that cuts throught all kinds of defesens and immunities (such as Lu Bu being immune to flinching at Hulao Gate) and stuns enyone nearby. By equiping two Halberds on your characters, you can keep the bonus for as long as you need, and keep enemy officers stunned while you tear their HP away. And to boot: you start the game with three Halberds and can equip them on anyone.
In 8, Cyclone is a general Game Breaker because of it always does percentage damage, even if enemies are guarding. This element makes defeating enemy officers absurdly easy and acquiring 5th Weapons a walk in the park, since it activates 100% of the time, so charge-attacks that activate elements multiple times can just fire and chop enemies down like a hot knife through butter. Finally toned down in the expansion by making it only activating if the enemy is guarding, and reducing element activation on many weapons to a single time, but even then, it's still soundly overpowered.
Some skills can become this with the right combination as well, such as the one that increases Power-up drop rate, meaning that the player can just kill a dozen mooks, pick up some axes and wines then proceed to kick the enemy's ass with doubled damage output.
Flame Tiger/Golden Fang/Snow Tiger/Red Fang has appeared!
And in Strikeforce, it's those Goddamn Tigers/Hawks/Butterflies
Depending on what stage and difficulty you're playing on, Archer units may switch between this and Demonic Spiders. Provided you can obtain it, equipping the Musou Armor (arrows don't make you flinch) makes them way less of a hassle.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Character-wise: Lu Bu. In Japan, he's popular enough coming 21st place in the official polls. In the west, Lu Bu is considered to be the most recognised character from the series and would easily be in the top 5 in terms of popularity. The devs have noticed, considering he's gained his own Story Mode in DW8:XL.
This gets even crazier in Dynasty Warriors 6, where in his version of his "defining" battle at Hu Lao Gate, he takes on just about everyone else in the game... and wins (if you as the player complete the stage, of course). Heck, Dong Zhuo and Zhang Jiao came back from the dead, and the leaders of the Three Kingdoms (Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Sun Quan) teamed up (complete with crossing swords Three Musketeers-style), just to fight him! Trust me, you pull this off and you truly are ''The'' Guy.
Zhang Bao (not Zhang Fei's son who just got playable) due to all of us feeling the power of his MAAGGGEEECC!
"The Sun Quan Tactic" has quickly became popular within the Chinese and Japanese fanbase, referring to the Battle of Dongkou scene in DW7, where Sun Quan, enlisting the help of Lian Shi and Ding Feng, kills Zhang Liao in the 3-on-1 fight.
6 introduced a new combat engine, Renbu (which means "Endless Dance"), which no longer limited attacks to a simple string of striking attacks as they could go on infinitely at any time (Including the newly implemented string of charge attacks). As your Renbu level increased, more attacks (striking and charge) are added to your attack string. However, the only way to increase your Renbu level is by constantly attacking enemies (raising your chain counter), but that's not the worst of it. Your Renbu gauge can decrease by either not raising (or starting) your chain counter (Making this very frustrating in escort missions) or by taking heavy damage from enemy attacks. With the right abilities, renbu gague loss was mitigated. The real problem with renbu was that it was a fine idea on paper but not in play on higher difficulties. On higher difficulty levels, it's not uncommon for one of the fifteen or twenty mooks to hit you during a combo, breaking your momentum. Some characters could easily recover; but other characters' movesets (such as Dian Wei and Xiahou Dun) felt so uncomfortable to play with on higher difficulty settings that they were outright unusable. The reception of this mechanic was so bad that Renbu was removed completely from the Empires Expansion Pack in favor of upgrading the weapons themselves to give more elaborate combos. Simplifying of the upgrade system is common for the Empires side games in order to allow more focus on the kingdom management aspects, but this is the first time a core battlefield mechanic was completely excised between a numbered release and the expansion.
Next is full of these, even when you count out its forcefully implemented control schemes. To name just a couple:
Dueling. It's basically a poorly-designed reflex game where you slide your finger across the screen when prompted and tap to attack at other times. It gets really frustrating in harder levels when the enemy can kill you with just a few hits, whereas you have to hack at their thick health-bar for over two minutes to finish them off. And there's no way to skip it. Campaign Mode mostly makes you do it just as part of the plot, but Conquest Mode throws out at least one in every battle, and two or three if you're really unlucky. If you fail in either one, you have to do it again until you win, making it nothing but a tedious nuisance.
The Lockup Strategem in DW7: Empires. It closes the gates of a certain number of bases for about 60 seconds, which really just do more harm than good most of the times, since if you're shut inside your own base, there's no way to get out until the gates re-open. Sure, you will learn not to use it, but your allies won't. There's nothing more frustrating when you're chasing an enemy or trying to get somewhere in a hurry, and as soon as you step into an allied base, it shuts you in. At least your enemies have the excuse of attempting to trap you in for activating this Strategem, whether your allies are just trying to help or deliberately trolling you when they do it is anyone's guess.
What makes it more frustrating is the fact that the previous two games already have a fairly decent mechanic about opening and closing base gates. DW5's bases lockup automatically when enemies approach and re-opens when it's all clear, and each base has ladders for you to leap out when the gates are shut, while in DW6 you can just run up the gate and it will open for you. So it's puzzling as for why we would need a Strategem to lockup bases when it has been done in a clean and simple way in the past games.
On the topic of gate-locking, DW8 brought back the traditional "gate captain" mechanic where you need to kill the guard to get the gates open, which would have been fine if the gates remain closed until you've killed him. But no, they are often opened until the player comes close, and in between the time the guard is on the risk of getting pushed behind the gates, which promptly close on the player, forcing him to run out of the area until the guard returns to his post.
8 has the Storm Rush, which is a multi hitting attack that will be automatically initiated when the player successfully counters an enemy officer with the right weapon affinity. Useful, sure, but the fact that you can't choose when to trigger it or not means that it can easily break your combo at the most inconvenient time, and coupling with its high damage just make this mechanic seems rigid. The fact that the upcoming expansion added in an option for manual triggering is telling.
Weapon Tempering in 8. Like in Warriors Orochi, you can fuse weapons together to create a better weapon. But unlike in Warriors Orochi, the attributes you get from tempering are completely randomised, meaning an excruciating grindfest awaits if you want to get the attributes you want. Later patches improved it somewhat by giving a certain pattern to the type of attributes you can get, but it was too little too late, and the expansion saw Koei sheepishly bringing in the WO styled crafting that lets players freely imbue whichever attribute they want.
So Bad, It's Good: Most people who like Dynasty Warriors 3 the most like the higher difficulty and hilariously terrible voice acting. There are some good voices, but it's not easy to find most of them.
Elephant Liutenants in the online version. Sure, almost every liutenant can be annoying in one way or another (more than they can be useful, anyways), but Elephants are by far the most annoying ally to have following you around. Their attacks will constantly spread out the enemies you've been trying to herd into a small group to kill quicker, and it's practically impossible to string up combos with them since all of their attacks launch enemies into the air. Sure, you could have them charge instead, but then you have to listen to that god damn gong constantly. The worst part is that you have to use them almost 100 times to meet the requirement to be able to ride them (which, depending on if someone is selling them for gold, may or may not mean spending real money to do it).
Computer ally officers are also a huge annoyance. At least you can tell a human player that you don't really need their help to take a soldier base.
The "Musou officers", I.E. the characters from the original game, are some of the strongest characters on the field, but unless you are trying to take over a base, then their "contributions" don't count to a game score; a captured base is counted as being on your side but a mook taken down is not a K.O. for your side, meaning that unless the officer takes down an enemy who needs to be upgraded to kill mooks at the fastest time, they don't really help.
Mounted ally officers are globally loathed by players throughout the series. Not only do they rarely contribute to the fight with their weak and inaccurate mounted attack, they always have the annoying habit to get into your way while you are trying to focus on comboing an enemy officer, often pushing you out of your combo, resulting in a number of consequences, none of them good. Needless to say, it is a relief to see them starting to get wiser in 6 by dismounting first before engaging with an enemy.
Ally officers in general are pretty much this trope, but the lieutenant officers which you can recruit in 5's Extreme Mode really takes the cake. Unlike the bodyguards in normal mode, they can't be ordered to take a defensive stance or stay their ground, which more often than not results in them charging at a squad of enemy mooks and prematurely break their formation with a charged-attack, forcing the player to go after the scattered mooks one by one to clean up their jobs, significantly increasing the risk and time the player has to take to complete the stage. On a special stage filled with elemental cross-bows, them stealing your officer kills and breaking your combo would be the least of your problems.
On a related note. Those expecting enemy officers with the same predictable A.I. routine in 4 and 5 will quickly learn to hate the diabolically elusive generic officers in 6.
That One Boss: Lu Bu at Hulao Gate in almost every single installation. Not just because of his insane stats, but also due to the surprise difficulty lift when you meet him. Since this is one of the early stages, a new player would most likely have had little trouble picking out peons and generics and starts thinking: "Hey, they're not too tough, this is easy!" before arriving at Hulao Gate. Cue Lu Bu bursting out of the gates, Red Hare mounted, Halbred in hand, ready to show him exactly why you don't pursue Lu Bu.
The Ten Eunuchs Stage in 8's Ambition Mode. Thinking Hulao Gate Lu Bu's too easy for a challenge? Well, how do you like to take on ten of them at the same time? Sure, they don't have Musou attacks, but having access to Storm Attacks and a couple of Throwing Knives for support more than enough compensates this little flaw. They also have Hyper Mode activated at all times, so you are pretty much screwed if you don't have a weapon with elemental attributes to kill them quickly. Oh, and because this is an Ambition Mode stage, you can't save in-game, meaning that if you lose, you'll have to spend another 10 minutes to start all over until you get to take them on again. HAVE FUN.
That One Level: Definitely the Nanman Campaign from DW4 mostly because the odds keep getting stacked against you to ridiculous levels. After time passes, the climate starts affecting your team's morale. Furthermore, every time Meng Huo is defeated and comes back for more, he ends up giving his entire army a morale boost to the point where it's really difficult to get anything done without your leader dying in the process. In harder difficulties, it's not uncommon to beat this level by one of two means: playing as the leader of the army or by earning 1000 KOs to prevent morale loss among your team.
DW3, Battle of Yiling, Shu side. The Wu officers like Lu Meng and Lu Xun are bizarrely overpowered on that level, with huge health bars and high defense, so whittling them down takes forever. (Plus it's an arrow-hell level.) Playing the level on hard actually makes it easier because for some reason the Wu guys aren't such a nightmare on the hard setting.
DW3, Wei's Siege of He Fei castle. Unless you're playing on the easier difficulties, chances are the level will end with you in the center, quickly trying to kill enemies and preventing them from reaching your commander, who will be the only other person alive. Eventually, both commanders decide to join this battle.
The Battle of Shouchun in Lu Bu's Historical route in 8:XL. You start out with an incredibly unfair time limit on both a bonus objective and a main objective, the wonky AI makes Lu Bu surviving long enough to break through the ballistae and fire arrow traps a Luck-Based Mission, and if you fail to complete the pincer attack in time, the final battle of the stage pits you against half a dozen supercharged Wu officers who just love to stunlock you into oblivion.
The Battle of Mt.Qi from DW5:XL. If you fail Zhuge Liang's strategy, you are left with no allies, fighting alone against more than 20 enemy offiers who has all gained insane Attack and Defense boost, and much of the map is made up of tight areas filled with huge hordes of crossbow soldiers enough to turn you into a pin cushion, making it by far the most challenging stage in the game. Though seeing the difficulty, many players start to delibrately fail the plan in order to take on the challenge, and Koei has since caught on by releasing a revamped version in DW8 for its popularity.
That One Sidequest: Zhuge Liang's fourth weapon in DW3. Zhuge is arguably the weakest character in the game, and you have to do Wu Zhang Plains, one of the two hardest levels, on Hard to get the weapon. Doing it with two players is about the only way, because ZL just isn't strong enough to fulfill the requirements and keep up with the waves of enemies as your allies fall one by one. Try the level again, fulfilling all the requirements, after you've gotten the weapon; it's still hard as hell.
Actually, most weapon acquisition sidequests can become this, largely due to the fact that they tend to put a previously unnecessary time-constraint on you by forcing you to fullfil certain conditions. Not helped by the Fake Difficulties brought by "message lagging" and quest-essential allies charging forward blindly into getting them killed.
Some Hypothetical objectives can be a pain to fulfill unless you know exactly what you are doing. The one that many consider to be the hardest, though, is killing Tao Qian before he can escape during Wei's Xu Province level. When the objective is made available, Tao Qian is on the complete opposite end of the map as you are, so unless you've been leveling your Equestrian skill, catching up to him will be a hassle. It doesn't help that, at certain points in the chase, enemy officers will seal off the paths until you defeat them, forcing you to waste valuable time.
And the Free Mode version of this stage is even more of a pain if you're trying to complete its stage objectives, since one of them requires your bodyguard to basically reach Tao Qian before he escapes and tag him. So now you not only have to catch up with him in time, but also keep him from escaping - without killing him - until your bodyguard can get there.
Xu Province really seems to attract these kinds of Hypothetical objectives. In Shu's version of the level, partway through three sets of enemy officers led by Yue Jin spawn and start heading to your castle. Shortly afterward, Guo Jia orders them to retreat in order to set up the ambush that seperates Liu Bei and Zhang Fei from Guan Yu. The Hypothetical objective is to defeat all six retreating officers before they leave the map. The problem? The game only counts them if they are defeated after Guo Jia gives the order and arrives on the map. If you defeat even one of the six officers before both happens, it doesn't count and the objective automatically fails, and you won't realize this until after you beat the level!
DW3XL: For focusing on officers not in the Three Kingdoms, often breaking ROTK canon.
DW4: For replacing officer-specific story modes with collective kingdom story modes.
DW4XL: For making the stages shorter and how extreme Xtreme mode took Numerical Hard.
DW4E: For the lack of choices and restrictive nature of Empire mode.
DW5: For derailing and flanderizing characters, adding Zuo Ci.
DW5XL: For both of its modes.
DW5E: Mostly averted. A Fan Favorite, it holds the distinction of even receiving half-way favorable reviews from some American reviewers.
DW6: For epic amounts of Progressively Prettier, dropping characters from the roster, and the controversial Renbu system.
DW6E: For not having said system carry over.
DW7: For making Kingdom mode locked to certain characters only.
DW7XL: Mostly averted, though some people lament the lack of a create-a-warrior feature that was present in the other XL's.
DW7E: For the absence of a Free Mode and English dubbing.
DW8: For the lack of an English narrator and other dub-related corner-cutting. Outside of that, this installment get a lot of praise.
DW8XL: For the lousy grinding experience brought by the new features (bodyguard special abilities, repetitive battles in Ambition Mode, an Absurdly High Level Cap etc.), generally less well-made stages, and the somewhat confusing plot of Lu Bu's story.
DW8E: For needlessly changing several character's EX weapons, assigning DLC weapons to playable characters. Furthermore, most of the weapons being replaced, like Deng Ai's lance and Wang Yi's dual trishula, are already the unique signature weapons of newer charaters, while most of the older characters with more generic "flavors of spear and sword" weapons go unmodified.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Lu Lingqi, despite being heavily marketed in the expansion, appears only in the second half of Lu Bu's historical campaign, and does not appear at all in his hypothetical. The creators expressed some difficulty at writing her interactions with Diao Chan, but it seems they solved the problem by avoiding it.
Uncanny Valley: Player-edited characters can invoke this, whether done intentionally or otherwise. As well as several preset edit characters appear in the Empires spin-off.
Unnecessary Makeover: Yue Ying's DW6 makeover, along with most, if not all, DW6 character redesigns got heavily criticized for being drastic, including changing some characters' weapons, such as Sun Shang Xiang's familiar wind and fire wheels to a bow and even Lu Bu's halberd (one of the few weapons clearly established in the original story) to some wheel weapon. Dong Zhou got even fatter too. Most of the weapon changes have since been reversed, but the character remodels stuck around, and most fans learned to like them.
Values Dissonance: Downplayed compared to the source material. For example, Liu Bei is originally opposed to the idea of an arranged marriage with Sun Shangxiang on moral grounds in most modern games, whereas in the novel he was more in favor of it as a traditional way of life.
Waggle: NEXT on the PS Vita had touchscreen "ambushes" (e.g., knocking down arrows, cutting down charging cavalrymen) and mini-games (e.g., tracing calligraphy, stylized "duels") shoehorned in that ranged from reasonable fun to pains in the neck.
What an Idiot: In 8 during a battle against Lu Bu at Puyang in Wei's story mode a peon from above shoots an arrow and hits Xiahou Dun taking out his eye. Instead of running away he instead stands there and gloats how they will be victorious and gets filled with arrows by Xiahou Yuan and Yue Jin.note In the novel, it's Xiahou Dun himself who kills the assailant.
The Woobie: Cai Wenji is considered a tragic beauty. This is reflected in her poetry.
Emotions stirred, I think of my parents, Whilst I draw a long sigh of endless sorrows.
Wu Kingdom characters
Game Breaker: Sun Shang Xiang in 6 thanks to her new bow move-set. When her Renbu Gauge is fully charged, her normal attack becomes a rapid firing volley of five enemy-piercing arrows, element activating on each. Give her an Ice weapon, and she'll turn every enemy into an ice sculpture within seconds.
Most Annoying Sound: A minor example: Gan Ning's signature bells have a tendency to sound distracting when you can hear them even through the screams of mooks you hack through and when you're walking around the otherwise quiet camp. They're also present on all of his costumes, despite them not having bells.
And just to add to the bells, now Sun Jian's new nine-ringed blade also features the sound effect.
Xiaoqiao's voice. She's probably the sole female character whose English VA triumphs over the Japanese one, if only because the former sounds less annoying.
Never Live It Down: Possibly the reason why Sun Shang Xiang has two stars in her proficiency with bows (despite being known as "The Bow Princess" since 6) instead of three in 7 is because of her Game Breaker status in 6. This is also referenced in Warriors Orochi, where Ina asks her why she doesn't wield a bow anymore, despite being a good archer. Shang Xiang replies she's tried out several different weapons, but likes her fire and wind wheels the best.
Justified, at least to some extent: the axe was a far inferior moveset (the nunchuck was almost a Game Breaker back in 5, as well as just being a lot more interesting), but it was also one of the infamous cloned movesets: the most common at that, being shared by no less than four other characters (Xu Huang, Cao Ren, Guan Ping and Lu Meng).
Same backlash for Zhou Yu losing his iconic sword for a staff, though the staff moveset is pretty cool in its own right.
Alternate Character Interpretation: The Wu Story Mode in 7 paints a less benevolent take on Zhuge Liang's actions surrounding the Shu-Wu alliance, mainly the issue with Jing Province.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Amongst the newcomers of 8, Guan Yinping pretty much dominates the fanarts. Considering in the novel she's briefly mentioned and not an empress or something of regal position like Wang Yuanji, that's one hell of ascension of an extra.
Guan Suo is not very popular with either the eastern or western fanbase, mostly as a result of the west's distaste of pretty boys, and the fact that he's a questionable add, at least in the west. In the popularity polls for the two previous Xtreme Legends games, his popularity is ranked in the 60's.
While less so than Guan Suo, Bao Sannniang is not very popular among western fans either. Reasons include her voice, which some find annoying, being little more than a Satellite Character for Guan Suo, and being an even more questionable add than Guan Suo, since they both originate from what is essentially a Fanfiction of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. (Though Guan Suo at least has been around as a generic for quite sometime before becomig playable.]]
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Fans were not happy when Yue Ying had her trademark Dagger-axe swapped with a bow in 6, and even less happy when they upgraded it into the gimmicky "Blade Crossbow" in the expansion instead of giving her the Dagger-axe back. And now, after finally getting to keep the Dagger-axe for less than 2 games, Koei is getting her revert to the Crossbow again in DW8: Empires!