YMMV / Dynasty Warriors

Individual pages for the four main kingdoms are listed here:

In General

  • Alternate Character Interpretation
    • Nearly everyone in the Shu Kingdom, along the same lines as their novel counterparts:
      • 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 fame and prestige?
      • Do the officers truly desire a land of benevolence and virtue or are they only interested in conquest and glory, hiding their real intent behind a veneer of righteousness? At minimum, is Shu (more specifically, Liu Bei) really motivated by The Needs of the Many or are they glorified Knight Templars who believe anyone who goes against them is evil? Note the Shu Kingdom ending in Dynasty Warriors NEXT sees the faction killing all its enemies, just as the Wei Kingdom does, including Liu Bei's wife Sun Shangxiang, while the Wu Kingdom ending has Sun Quan sparing his fellow warlords and convincing them they have a place in the new order.
      • In the source material, Liu Shan is dismissed as a moron, possibly outright retarded as a result of being dropped on his head as a baby (re: the "Battle at Changban"), but Dynasty Warriors reinterprets him as a Brilliant, but Lazy, highly enlightened leader who employs Obfuscating Stupidity to avoid letting things get "too complicated", and surrenders to the Jin faction not out of cowardice, but because of the realization this age of strife won't end until somebody takes the first step to ending the fighting.
    • Is Jia Chong a pragmatic political officer who does the dirty work no one else is willing to in the best interests of his leaders or a cold-blooded murderer who enjoys the bloodshed of his enemies and coincidentally chooses the best course of action?
    • Is Zuo Ci actually some sort of divine being who truly believes in Liu Bei's cause, a trickster whom Liu Bei (or some other warlord who wanted to frame Liu Bei) hired to spread rumors and weaken Wei forces from the inside or, as Xiahou Dun surmises, a mere deluded hermit?
  • Americans Hate Tingle
    • This and Samurai Warriors are well-received in Japan, but in North America, both are far more along the lines of a Love It or Hate It series, generally scoring very poor reviews from professional critics (with the exception of perhaps one individual). The usual arguments are repetitive Button Mashing and the fictional/historical story aspects are boring and redundant (since it is technically telling the same stories with different variations in each major installment).
    • Due to Values Dissonance, Americans do not take to Xiaoqiao well, generally likely to be voted as the most disliked Wu Kingdom character. The reason is mostly because she looks way younger than her husband Zhou Yu (whom they mostly respect), making him look like a Lolicon; adding to the fact she's very bubbly and perky, yet not exactly known for her intelligence, just adds fuel to the fire. Eastern fans are more accepting of her, though it's still somewhat acknowledged she feels too young to be Zhou Yu's wife.
  • Base Breaker
    • Bao Sanniang: you either love her or hate her for being a Genki Girl who parades around in a Stripperiffic outfit while killing thousands of Mooks. Detractors claim she's pure Fanservice and tries too hard, while fans find her refreshing and cute. Seeing her akin to a Cat Girl for her "Musou Attacks" only gave the latter more reasons to love her, yet more reasons for the former to hate. All this is before mentioning Bao is the first playable character on the roster to not come from Romance of the Three Kingdoms or historical fact, making her inclusion a questionable addition.
    • Liu Shan, though given what he was in Real Life should come as no surprise. Fans either love his Historical Hero Upgrade the developers have done or hate he isn't portrayed as the Sucksessor he historically wasnote .
    • The Shu Kingdom is often accused of being the Creator's Pet: while some are fine with keeping this viewpoint from the novels, others are annoyed and believe what better light they got in the novel has been ramped Up to Eleven in the games (these camps are mostly historically-inclined fan who see the Shu officers as inefficient). There's even a base who's annoyed at how much of a downgrade its characters received during the rise of the Jin Kingdom, since the latter got plenty of sugarcoating (the historical Sima Zhao was crueler; Dynasty Warriors 8 tends to foist some of that onto the new playable Jia Chong).
    • Zhao Yun: no matter how many new characters Koei can introduce into the series, it's clear he will always be the franchise Mascot, constantly being on the cover of major installments and the primary focus of the intro CG movies. In the developer's defense, they needed a character to represent what encompasses One-Man Army the most from a game-play perspective, thus relegated to Yun, citing the Battle at Changban from the novel being the motivating reason (even though it never occurred the way it did historically). While some are feeling tired of Zhao Yun being shoved in their faces perpetually by Koei, especially those who look past the source material and into his actual history, others enjoy the notion that for whatever Badass feats he has pulled, inaccurate or not, it's still breathtaking.
      • Further exemplified with upcoming Spin-Off Dynasty Warriors: Eiketsuden where Zhao Yun is the protagonist of the game; aside from two Original Generation sharing the spotlight with him, every other historical character plays second fiddle to Yun.
    • Zuo Ci returning in Dynasty Warriors 8 made some fans happy since his absence post-Dynasty Warriors 5, but others feel he's taking a roster spot from more deserving historical characters in the "Others" category and should be relegated to Spin-Off Crossover series Warriors Orochi, given the majority of "mystical" characters in that setting. On the other hand, Zuo Ci did appear for part of the source novel, and his mystical status against Fu Xi and Nuwa are debatable, since the latter two were recreated specifically for the Crossover.
    • Xiahou Dun is slowly veering toward this path, having been openly admitted by the series producer for being his favorite character. In the modern installments, Dun's received special treatments from appearing in the opening CG movie to appearing in battles he didn't historically participate, even taking screen-time from other characters (Cao Ren and Xu Huang at the "Battle of Fan Castle" in Dynasty Warriors 7 being the most egregious example). These alone raised many controversies among fans, accusing Xiahou Dun for stealing the already minimal- to non-existent appearances of less popular characters.
    • Zhang Chunhua: While many people love her for her movesets and her unique dynamic with her sons (as she's pretty much the first "mother" introduced in the game's roster), just as many people dislike how her role derailed Sima Yi's character from a Magnificent Bastard to Henpecked Husband.
  • Best Level Ever: The "Battle of Chibi" in 8 - not only does it involve all three kingdoms in one of the fiercest, most famous battles in Chinese military history, it also has arguably the best song in the game, "Capricious Wind", a track that remixes the theme songs of all three kingdoms into one power metal music fest.
  • Broken Base:
    • Years after its release, Dynasty Warriors 6: many players will state their absolute disgust for the "Renbu System" and cloned move-sets, though they tend to not mention what else the game brought to the table (or they did, but the Renbu System was so bad it overshadowed what Dynasty Warriors 6 did right). In its defense, some players fondly remember "Siege Battles", a new "Duel System", parrying, dodge rolling, running charged attacks, the best use of AI in The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games-era of the series, and all the extra visual work that was done for mood and tone of the stages. Much of this has not been seen in the games post-6.
    • Characterizations: some take them well, others are not, ranging from how much Sun Shangxiang goes from a no-nonsense, ball-busting Action Girl into a more feminine version who swoons over Liu Bei and spends more time in the Shu Kingdom (even getting their color motif), Cao Ren focusing more on his "impenetrable defense" than his anti-chaos stance (which made him an Anti-Villain), 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 is Cao Cao, going from a Card-Carrying Villain into a well-intentioned Anti-Villain.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Slowly becoming more and more prevalent with the ever-increasing amount of weapons introduced with each progressive game and new characters, resulting in many weapons never getting used, while others become the sole tactic for tackling higher difficulties. As of Dynasty Warriors 8 the halberd's "Switch Attack" and the throwing knives' normal attack string are two of the most popular tactics to use. Meanwhile, items, skill selections and weapon attributes are also prone to this.
  • Contested Sequel: Unequivocally, Dynasty Warriors 6 for certain reasons
    • The most controversial change is the Renbu System that requires incredibly incredibly long chains of Button Mashing in order to build up the Renbu gauge to allow the best attacks to be unlocked. As one player mentioned on a YouTube video: "Are you ready to press square three times and roll?"
      • It also didn't help this actually increased the physical toll on the controller's normal attack button (X for the Xbox 360, square on the PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3) more than previous games; furthermore, charged attacks turn into a non-viable alternative due to long charge-up times. As a result of such negative fan reaction, the seventh major installment returned to the traditional setup of stringing charged attacks after normal attacks, with more combat maneuvers unlocked using skill points. Yes, it's still Button Mashing, but at least it's using different buttons rather than just one.
    • Many characters were given radical Unnecessary Makeovers and weapon changes: Liu Bei and Sun Quan lost their facial hair and look Bishounen, while Lu Bu lost his trademark halberd and gained a strange-looking cross weapon. Most of these redesigns, particularly the more criticized ones, were reverted for 7, but the younger, more "better-looking" characters remained.
  • Demonic Spiders
    • 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.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse
    • Despite being vastly outnumbered by the male cast, the female characters are incredibly popular and have the largest number of fans, to wit Sun Shangxiang, the Qiao sister, Diaochan, and Zhenji are the most noteworthy.
      • Dynasty Warriors 7 introduced Wang Yuanji of the Jin Kingdom, who instantly rose to fame on both sides of the Pacific for her looks and personality. Of the new characters making their debut in 7, Yuanji has the second most Fanart of them on Pixiv, trailing behind her husband Sima Zhao. She even won first place in the popularity poll; note she's the only (new) female character who made it to the top ten, beating veterans Shangxiang or Zhenji.
      • If there was any doubt of the females' (especially Yuanji's) darkhorse status, these results from a Japanese poll following the launch of 7 has 2/3 of the female cast ranking in the top half.
      • As of 8, Guan Yinping: just as popular for Eastern and Western players, despite less stages in Story Mode compared to Yuanji. Regardless of the plentiful anti-Shu sentiments from the player base, both anti- and pro- sides agree Yinping is a great, tolerable addition to the roster; furthermore, her unique move-set, cute physical features and character design was what helped launch her popularity. Want more proof? In the Dynasty Warriors 8 popularity polls, she ranks third for "characters you'd want as a sibling"note  and first for "characters you'd want as a girlfriend"note .
    • Introducing the Jin Kingdom in Dynasty Warriors 7, not simply because the developers were finally taking the story into the closing stages of the era and giving this its due, but many ofs its officers were filled with a Cast Full of Pretty Boys.
    • Despite the fact she only serves to be a computer player when there isn't a fourth player on one side, Ling Ling in Dynasty Warriors Online is pretty popular among the English-speaking community.
    • Of the "characters who should be included on the roster for the next game", Cheng Pu of the Wu Kingdom is always a top contender, even if his claims are "being around Wu for a very long time since Sun Jian's reign", but without any historical noteworthiness. Koei never seems to take the hint, and in 8, gave the "served all three Sun warlords (Jian, Ce and Quan)" role to Han Dang; similarly, Liao Hua would be Cheng Pu's Shu Kingdom counterpart, an individual who was part of a faction since its birth to its collapse. Other major candidates would be Sun Shao of the Wu Kingdomnote  and Yang Hu of the Jin Kingdomnote .
      • Considering women in the novel are always overlooked, those not yet playable will also be part of said wishlist, ranging from Lady Wu/Wu Guotainote , Lady Bian/Bian Shinote , Lady Guo/Guo Nuwangnote , Sunshinote , Sun Lubannote , Xin Xianyingnote , Yang Huiyunote , Dong Bainote , etc. It should come to no surprise then the Android Trading Card Game Spin-Off Shin Sangoku Musou Blast features plenty of women with varying designs, with most of these ladies (except Sunshi) getting featured (including male officers Cheng Pu and Liao Hua); hell, there was even a popularity poll for all characters. The winner? Fan Yufengnote .
  • Fan-Preferred Couple
    • Pre-Dynasty Warriors 6, Sun Shangxiang was universally paired with any of the "hot" Wu officers like Gan Ning, Ling Tong, Lu Xun, Ling Tong or Zhou Yu as opposed to her historical husband Liu Bei. Koei countered this by making Liu Bei much more attractive-looking and younger in 6. Prior to that, he looked a good 15-20 years older than her, and once the game was released, there was a noted rise of Liu Bei/Sun Shangxiang Fanart and Fanfics.
      • Similarly, Zhenji was usually paired with Zhang He or Zhao Yun, especially when the context of Cao Pi's historical behavior towards her deterred fans from such a pairing, but with his debut in Dynasty Warriors 5 alongside his gentler, kinder portrayal towards Zhen in-game than he was in Real Life, fans took and ran with Koei's idea.
    • Guan Ping/Xingcai: even though the latter is based on the historical wives of Liu Shan, the developers has teased since their debut in 5 they might have feelings for each other.
    • On the yaoi side of fandom, Ma Chao/Zhao Yun garnered a strong fan following for years (arguably an example of a Token Minority Couple, given both are handsome, young, almost exclusively preoccupied with things like honor and justice, and up until Dynasty Warriors 6, wielded spears) before Koei decided to give them an in-game friendship with proper cutscenes and special dialogue. Whether the developers were merely taking notes from fans and running with it or simply doing Pair the Spares is anyone's guess.
    • Due to how young the Qiao sisters are portrayed and how close Sun Ce and Zhou Yu are, it's understandable how the latter two are shipped together more than with their canon wives.
    • For a Squick-tastic one, there was a time fans liked the idea of pairing Lu Xun either one of the Qiao sisters, never mind that Lu Xun would go on to historically marry Da Qiao's DAUGHTERnote , thus making it look like Lu Xun has an Oedipus Complex on either his mother-in-law or aunt-in-law! Given they look like the youngest bunch in the Wu group at that time...
    • Sima Shi/Wang Yuanji in their debut for Dynasty Warriors 7 slowly became one, despite the latter being the wife of Sima Zhao. It doesn't help that Yuanji seems to be more affectionate towards Shi than Zhao throughout 7.
  • Fanon
    • Despite technically not being owned by anyone, some fans have taken the initiative to pair certain Downloadable Content weapons with the "cloned" (move-set) characters in Dynasty Warriors 7 due to their appearance in stages where players fight for the rare versions of the weapons. Some of these pairings do make sense, as prior to Dynasty Warriors 6, characters such as Huang Gai, Xu Huang and Yue Ying used the bombs (somewhat), great axe and dagger axe, respectively, while Xiahou Dun used the mace in 6. However, as of Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends, this is Jossed as Dun's weapon has ascended into its own weapon category.
    • Thanks to Dynasty Warriors NEXT, Warriors Orochi 3 and Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires, all previous DLC weapons are now assigned to previously "cloned" characters; in fact, 8 ensures they are no cloned move-sets at all.
  • Game Breaker: Now with its own page
  • Goddamned Bats
    • 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
    • Of the entire roster, Lu Bu. In Japan, he's at around 21st place in the official popularity polls, but the West consider him to be the most recognizable character of the franchise and easily in the top five. The developers have noticed, even granting him his own Story Mode again in Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends.
    • Warriors games, in general, sell much better in Europe than in North America: case in point, Spin-Off Hyrule Warriors sold more copies in Europe than any other region.
  • Good Bad Bugs
    • In Dynasty Warriors 7, due to how the game handles characters being thrown onto a steep slope, it's possible to make an enemy tumble endlessly by throwing them between two objects or even inside a doorstep.
    • Despite the apparent lack of Friendly Fire, it's possible to defeat an allied officer as shown in this Let's Play.
    • In Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires, being defeated while also being continuously juggled by a gas tactic can keep the player's character locked in this position while respawning at the main base. This happens because unlike AI characters, player-controlled characters immediately respawn within a time limit of 10 seconds, and the routine for resetting the character model's position appears to not function when the character is being knocked around. The result is the character bends unnaturally until being knocked down and out of the juggle.
  • Memetic Badass
    • Lu Bu: there's a reason why Yuan Shao at the "Battle of Hulao Gate" enforces the phrase "Do not pursue Lu Bu". When players see him on the battlefield, they'll know why.
      • This gets crazier in Dynasty Warriors 6, where in his version of his "defining" Battle at Hulao Gate, he takes on just about everyone else in the game and wins (provided players complete the stage, of course). Hell, Dong Zhuo and Zhang Jiao come Back from the Dead and the leaders of the three kingdoms (Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Sun Quan) pull an Enemy Mine (complete with crossing swords in The Three Musketeers-style), just to fight him!
    • Zhang Bao (not Zhang Fei's son who shares the same name), due to all of us feeling the power of his MAAGGGEEECC!
  • Memetic Mutation
  • Most Annoying Sound: For in particular again via Values Dissonance, the sound of Diaochan's Japanese voice which gives her a "helpless" tone in her voice. However, her English voice actresses through out the years have sounded more serious and apart from that said Japanese voice; Westerners may not enjoy it one bit. It also doesn't help matters in that Diaochan herself was always very ambiguous character-wise, both in the novel and throughout the Warriors franchise. The only exception is at 4, because for some reason, Diaochan sounded... really raspy that you'd think it's an old woman inside a young lady's body.
  • Narm: The games aren't so subtle about belittling generic officers who are known to be incompetent historically and/or in the novels, especially those from the late era (though they're mostly from the Jin story-line). Cao Shuang is one of the earliest and most common victims of this, with Sima Shi going as far as insulting one of Wu's generic officer's face which, amusingly lame enough, starts getting inevitable.
    Sima Shi: (To a Wu generic officer) "So the rumors are true. You are an imbecile. I can see it from your stupid face."
  • Narm Charm: Almost as entertaining as the game itself is the unintentional hilarity accompanying nearly every line of dialogue and dramatic moment.
  • Scrappy Mechanic
    • Dynasty Warriors 6 introduced the Renbu System ("Renbu" meaning "chain dance"), which no longer limits attacks to a simple normal string, instead can be chained infinitely by simply mashing the attack button. The player's moveset is now governed by the Renbu Gauge, which is filled by attacking enemies and will gain levels once fully filled, with each level unlocking a new tier of moves. However, the Renbu Gauge will deplete if the player stops attacking (thus making Escort Missions even more frustrating) or takes heavy damage from enemies (Although this can be mitigated somewhat with the right abilities), causing the player's moveset to degrade. The real problem with this system is that it's a fine idea on paper, but the poor implementation makes it downright frustrating on higher difficulties, since the aggressive enemy AI means the player is in constant danger of being hit by one of the many Mooks swarming around, and getting hit just a few times will instantly knock the Renbu Level back to 0. This is especially frustrating for characters with slower attacks such as Dian Wei and Xiahou Dun, who would have a hard time regaining their Renbu Levels. The reception to this mechanic was so bad that it was removed completely from 6: Empires in favor of the return of the traditional weapon upgrade system. Although simplifying the upgrade system is common for the Empires expansions in order to allow more focus on the kingdom management aspects, this is the first time a core battlefield mechanic was completely excised between a numbered installment and its expansion.
    • Dynasty Warriors NEXT is choke full of these, even when players disregard the terrible control schemes:
      • In "Conquest Mode", the goal is to capture all enemy territories. Each territory has a "Territory Level", and players can only invade an adjacent territory with a lower level to theirs. On each turn, the player gains 1 Territory Level...to a single territory, which is chosen slot-machine styled, aka the system shuffles through all of a player's territories until a button is pressed or time runs out, making it very difficult for players to level up the territory they want. Furthermore, if there's no territory for the player to attack, the game will lock the player out of action until the situation averts; meanwhile the opponent is free to take over all of the player's under-leveled territories without the latter being able to do jack about it.
      • Dueling, which is essentially a poorly-designed reflex game where players slide their finger across the screen to counter when prompted, and tap to attack at other times. This gets frustrating as your opponent's strength and health gradually rise with the difficulty, until they are able to defeat your character with just a few hits, whereas you have to hack at their thick healthbar for over two minutes to bring them down. What makes it worse is that there's no way to avoid duels. "Campaign Mode" is lenient enough that only put you in a duel as part of the plot, however Conquest Mode throws out at least one per battle (and if players are unlucky enough, two or three). Failing a duel in either mode and players must do it all over again until they win, making this a nothing but a tedious nuisance.
    • The "Lockup" Stratagem in Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires: it closes the gates on a certain number of bases for about 60 seconds, which often does more harm than good, since if players get shut inside a base, there's no way to get out until the gates re-open. Sure, most players will learn to not use it, but AI-controlled allies won't. There's nothing more frustrating than getting trapped in an allied base as soon as you step into it, especially when you are pursuing an enemy or trying to get to somewhere in a hurry. Enemies can at least be excused as attempting to trap you for activating this Stratagem. Whether your allies are just trying to help or deliberately trolling you when they do it is anyone's guess.
    • Speaking of gates, Dynasty Warriors 8 brought back the traditional "gate captain" mechanic where players need to defeat a soldier who's guarding the gates in order to open them, which would have been fine if the gates remain closed until the gatekeeper is defeated, but they don't. Gates will stay opened until players comes within proximity, and in-between the time the gatekeeper is at risk of getting pushed behind the gates, which will then promptly close to shove the gatekeeper out of reach, forcing players to leave the area so the gates will re-open for the gatekeeper to return to his post, then run back hoping the same thing don't happen this time. Thankfully, this is fixed by the time 8: Xtreme Legends was released.
    • "Storm Rush" in 8 is a multi-hitting attack which is automatically initiated when players successfully counters an enemy officer with the right weapon affinity and breaking their affinity gauge. Useful, sure, but the fact players can't choose when to trigger it means that it can easily break an already flowing Combo string at the most inconvenient moment, and when coupled with its high damage output, this makes Storm Rush seem very rigid to use. Fortunately this was fixed in the expansion, which added the option to manually trigger Storm Rush.
    • Weapon Tempering in 8, which is a weapon crafting system akin to Warriors Orochi that allows the player to combine two weapons to create a better one. Unlike in the crossover however, weapon attributes received from Tempering are completely randomized, meaning an excruciating grindfest awaits players if they want to get the attributes they need. Later patches improved the system somewhat by giving a certain pattern to the type of attributes players could get, but it was too little too late, leading Koei to sheepishly bring in the Warriors Orochi-styled weapon crafting that allows players to freely imbue whichever attribute they want for 8: Xtreme Legends.
    • The marriage and children system in 8: Empires is a textbook example of another idea that's great on paper, yet terrible in practice. Two married partners can produce a child together, but only one per play-through, with facial features randomly assembled from a mixture of the parents' facial assets, and a randomly assigned voice type. The usual result from this is the alleged child end up looking somewhere between ugly and pure Uncanny Valley, and more often than not paired with a completely mismatched voice. Unfortunately, there's no re-marrying aspect if one parent or both parents die.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Most people who like Dynasty Warriors 3 the most like the higher difficulty than the preceding Dynasty Warriors 2, alongside the hilariously terrible voice acting. There are some good voices, but it's not easy to find most of them.
  • Stop Helping Me!
    • 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 also 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.
      • 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.
    • Almost literally anytime you're in a fight with more allies than enemies, especially if the numbers are at least 5 to 1. You're probably the one who does the most damage, and your allies are probably the ones who knock enemies out of your combos. It can make finishing enemies a pain when you're trying to find them. At least enemies are rarely able to strike back cause they're constantly thrown around in the air...unless you're playing 7 onwards with the introduction of air musous. At that point, you'll probably either feel pain or see a lot of it.
  • Surprise Difficulty
    • Anyone overly accustomed to plowing through hordes of cannon fodder may be unpleasantly surprised by the giant enemies in Strikeforce.
    • On a related note, those expecting enemy officers with the same predictable AI routine in Dynasty Warriors 4 and Dynasty Warriors 5 will quickly learn to hate the diabolically elusive generic officers in Dynasty Warriors 6.
  • That One Achievement
    • Dynasty Warriors 6 has the "Completist" and "Master Of Chaos" achievements: the former requires players to reach Level 50 with all 41 characters. To put this into perspective, players must complete at least 10 to 15 scenarios with each character! The latter is even more unforgiving as it requires players to complete all stages on "Chaos" difficulty! Given the Scrappy Mechanic that is the Renbu System in 6...
    • Dynasty Warriors 7 with "Quizmaster", which is to answered all questions asked correctly in the game's "Conquest Mode". These questions can range "Who was Liu Bei's sworn brother?" to "In the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel, the Ten Eunuchs consist of ten members. However, in the Book of the Later Han, there are more than ten. How many eunuchs appear in the Book of the Later Han?" Some answers aren't found in the in-game encyclopedia, while others are incredibly obscure; hell, this is before any mention of the shitload of questions in the game (supposedly 500, and players can only answer five at a time). Also not helped by the poorly-handled translation in the English version, which often leaves portions of the text out, abruptly breaking the sentence just to confuse players further.
      • Another extremely tedious one in the same game is "Audio Collector": there are two voice sets that can be unlocked for each character - "General" and "Conquest". To obtain the former, players must gain that character as a sworn ally by talking to them when they come visit in a random town on two separate occasions after completing their "Legend Mode" stages. After that, players must allow them to partake in battles as their sworn ally until their bond with him/her reaches maximum level. In regards to unlocking "Conquest" audio, players must learn every skill from each officer; the difficulty varies from character to character, as some will need about 2,000 skill points, while others may need 3,000+ points. Whereas 6 had 41 characters, 7 had 62; good luck.
    • 7: Extreme Legends and any achievements that require unlocking "titles", with Lu Bu's top title being the hardest (part and parcel for the overall achievement of getting all allies' top title). The first seven titles are a cakewalk, but the last requires 1000 K.O.s while maintaining 70% of total Hit Points, using no Musou Attacks, and selecting a 10-star ranked stage to "Nightmare" difficulty. For the uninitiated, Nightmare difficulty is the most realistic experience of what happens when a One-Man Army goes up against several hundred Mooks, with health easily dropping from 200% to zero in an instant, making this frustrating without proper setups.
    • Similar to "Audio Collector" is "Vocal Enthusiast" in Dynasty Warriors 8, which requires players to have heard all voiced lines in the game. The alternate method to do this would be to max out the bonds between players and a bodyguard in "Ambition Mode". The problem? Players have to do this for each character TWICE: once as a male, once as a female, with nine battles per character to max out the bond required. There are 77 characters on the 8 roster; get crackin'.
  • That One Boss
    • Lu Bu at the Battle of Hulao Gate in almost every installment, not simply because of his insane stats, but also due to the surprise difficulty lift upon meeting him. Since Hulao Gate is almost always one of the early stages in a play-through, new players would most likely have had little trouble picking out peons and generic officers before arriving at the titular location. Cue Lu Bu bursting out of the gates, mounted on Red Hare and trademark halberd in hand, ready to show players exactly why they shouldn't pursue him. Oh, and he's almost always in "Hyper Mode" for the duration of the battle.
    • "The Ten Eunuchs' Rebellion" stage in Ambition Mode for 8: thought Lu Bu at Hulao Gate was too easy? How about taking on the eponymous ten characters at the same time? Sure, the eunuchs don't have access to Musou Attacks, but Storm Rush is available to them, with some armed with the throwing knives for support, which more than enough compensates this little flaw. Worse, they too have Hyper Mode activated at all times, thus having no weapon with elemental attributes is a surefire way to get defeated quickly. Finally, because this is an Ambition Mode stage, Suspend Save is out of the question; lose, and players must start from the beginning of the stage again.
  • That One Level
    • The "Battle of Yiling" (Shu side) in Dynasty Warriors 3: Wu officers like Lu Meng and Lu Xun are bizarrely overpowered on that level (though not to Hulao Gate-Lu Bu extremes), with huge HP bars and high defense, thus whittling them down takes forever; additionally, enemy archers litter the battlefield. Playing this stage of hard difficulty makes it easier because, for some reason, Wu officers aren't such a nightmare to fight against on this difficulty setting (especially due to the usual trope applying if played as a late stage in any character's "Musou Mode").
      • "Siege of Hefei Castle" (Wei version) in the same game: unless playing on easier difficulties, chances are the stage will end with players in the center of the map, quickly trying to defeat enemies and preventing them from reaching their allied commander, who will be the only other allied officer left alive. Eventually, both enemy commanders decide to join this battle and march straight for the allied commander.
    • The "Nanman Campaign" stages from Dynasty Warriors 4 mostly due to the odds being kept stacking against players to ridiculous levels. After time passes in these stages, the climate starts affecting allied morale; furthermore, every time Meng Huo is defeated, he returns for more, but winds up giving the Nanman a morale boost, to a point where it's exceptionally difficult to get anything done without the allied commander getting defeated. At higher difficulties, it's not uncommon to beat these levesl by one of two means: playing as the allied commander of the army or by earning 1000 K.O.s to prevent morale loss among allies.
    • The "Battle of Mt. Qi" from Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends. Unlike the "Legend Mode" version involving Sima Yi getting isolated by himself with mines all around (that of course, will get defused by the rain), it's a bit different this time. By failing to achieve Zhuge Liang's strategy, players are left with no allies, fighting alone against more than 20 enemy officers, all who have gained attack and defense bonuses, with much of the map being made up of tight areas filled with hordes of crossbow soldiers enough to turn the player's character into a pin cushion, making it by far the most challenging stage in the game (even then, in Sima Yi's Legend Mode, players are forced to take on the Shu army SINGLE-HANDEDLY). However, many players began deliberately failing the plan in order to take on the challenge; Koei has since caught on by releasing a revamped version of the same stage in 8 due to popularity.
    • The "Battle of Shouchun" in Lu Bu's historical route for 8: Xtreme Legends: players start out with an incredibly unfair time limit on both a bonus objective and a main objective, while the wonky AI makes Lu Bu surviving long enough to break through the ballistae and fire arrow traps a Luck-Based Mission. Fail to complete the pincer attack in time, and the final stretch of the stage pits players against half-a-dozen Wu officers in Hyper Mode.
  • That One Sidequest
    • Most weapon acquisition side-quests can become this, largely due to the fact they tend to put an unnecessary time-constraint by forcing players to fulfill certain conditions in time. This is not helped by the Fake Difficulty brought by "message lagging" and quest-essential allies charging forward blindly into getting themselves defeated, especially if there are objectives that state certain allied officers must survive the battle.
      • A more specific example is Zhuge Liang's fourth weapon in Dynasty Warriors 3: Liang is one of the weakest characters in the game, and the conditions to unlock the weapon is to play the "Battle of Wuzhang Plains" on hard difficulty. Doing it with two players is about the only way to acquire the weapon because Zhuge Liang isn't strong enough to fulfill the requirements and keep up against the waves of Mooks as allies fall one by one. Even trying the level again while fulfilling the same requirements, after getting his fourth weapon, is still as hard as hell.
    • Dynasty Warriors 8 introduced objectives that could alter Story Mode into either the "historical" or "hypothetical" route. The problem is certain hypothetical objectives can be a pain to achieve unless players know exactly what they're doing. The one objective many consider to be the hardest, though, is assassinating Tao Qian before he can escape during the Wei version of the "Xu Province" stage. When the objective is made available, Tao Qian is on the complete opposite end of the map from where players are; unless they've been leveling the "Equestrian" skill, catching up to Qian will be a hassle. It doesn't help that at certain points in the chase, enemy officers will seal off paths until they are defeated, forcing players to waste valuable time.
      • Meanwhile, the "Free Mode" version of this stage is more of a pain if attempting to complete the default stage objectives, since one of them requires the player's bodyguard to reach Tao Qian before he escapes and tag him. Not only must players catch up with Qian in time, but also keep him from escaping - without killing him - until said bodyguard can get there.
    • Xu Province seems to attract these kinds of hypothetical objectives. Partway through the Shu version of the stage, three sets of enemy officers led by Yue Jin spawn and start heading to the castle. Shortly afterwards, Guo Jia orders them to retreat in order to set up an ambush separating Liu Bei and Zhang Fei from Guan Yu. The hypothetical objective is to defeat all six retreating officers before they leave the map, but the game only tallies this if they are defeated after Guo Jia gives the order AND arrives on the map. Defeating even a single one of these six officer before, it doesn't count and the objective automatically fails; more likely than not, players won't even realize this until after they've beaten the level!
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Unbelievably, given the series' reputation, it occurs with almost every entry!
    • 3: Extreme Legends: Focusing on officers not in the three kingdoms, often breaking Romance of the Three Kingdoms Canon
    • 4: Replacing officer-specific story modes with collective kingdom-based story modes
    • 4: Extreme Legends: Shorter stages and how extreme "Xtreme Mode" took towards Numerical Hard
    • 4: Empires: The lack of choices and the restrictive nature of Empire Mode
    • 5: Altering characterization of many cast members, starting the series' long slide into Flanderization and adding Zuo Ci to the roster
    • 5: Extreme Legends: Adding two modes that both boiled down to sawed-off Eastern RPG Level Grinding
    • 5: Empires: Mostly averted; considered a fan favorite as it holds the distinction of even receiving half-way favorable reviews from some American critics.
    • 6: Abundant amounts of Progressively Prettier, dropping characters from the roster, the controversial Renbu System and its attendant weapon cloning. Notably, only the visual redesigns stuck for the sequels
    • 6: Empires: No system carry-over from 6, which previous Empires expansions did
    • 7: Lack of a Free Mode and locking "Kingdom Mode" to certain characters only
    • 7: Extreme Legends: Another one mostly averted, though some players lament the lack of a "Create-A-Warrior" feature that was present in previous Xtreme Legends installments
    • 7: Empires: Absence of Free Mode and an English dub
    • 8: No English narrator and other dub-related corner-cutting; outside of that, this major installment gets a lot of praise.
    • 8: Extreme Legends: Lousy Level Grinding experience brought on 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 to Lu Bu's story.
    • 8: Empires: Needlessly changing several character's EX weapons in a transparent attempt to assign 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 unique signature weapons of newer characters, while older characters with more generic "flavors of spear and sword" weapons went unmodified. Finally, the developers wouldn't give the game an English dub, despite previous announcements to the contrary.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Lu Lingqi in Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends; despite being heavily marketed in the expansion, she only appears in the second half of Lu Bu's historical campaign, and isn't present in the hypothetical route. The creators have expressed some difficulty at writing her interactions with Diaochan, but it seems they solved the problem entirely by completely avoiding it.
  • Uncanny Valley: Player-edited characters can invoke this, whether done intentionally or otherwise., as well as several preset edit characters that appear in the Empires expansions.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: 6 introduced new mechanics to the series such as grab attacks note , dodging, the need to break down doors to bases before entering them, on-map duels, and attacks after winning weapon locks. However, due to the poor reception of DW6 (mostly due to the Renbu battle system, cut characters, etc.), they decided to scrap all of these features come DW7.
  • Unnecessary Makeover: Zigzagged - most, if not, all character redesigns in Dynasty Warriors 6 were heavily criticized for being drastic (such as Yue Ying's makeover and Dong Zhuo getting even fatter) alongside changing some characters' weapons (Sun Shangxiang's familiar wind and fire wheels to a bow, Lu Bu's historical and signature halberd to some wheel weapon). Most of the weapon changes have since been reversed in recent installments, but character remodels stuck, though most fans have learned to like them.
  • Values Dissonance: Downplayed compared to the source material - for example, Liu Bei originally opposed the idea of an Arranged Marriage to 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.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Love It or Hate It, one has to admit it's impressive the series consistently uses One-Man Army by rendering as many enemies as possible on-screen at once, while maintaining a decent framerate. By Dynasty Warriors 8, the developers took it up another step visually, since gaming systems finally have the processing power to render hundreds of Mooks on varied, vibrant battlefields.
  • Waggle: NEXT on the Sony Play Station 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 changed it from reasonable fun to pains to the neck.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Even though Dynasty Warriors 7 was considered an improvement over 6 for introducing a Jin Kingdom Story Node and giving many characters their weapons back, many felt it lacked replay value, with no Free Mode or any other substantial mode to compensate, including how shared weapons made characters too much like clones of each other. Come 8 and its expansions, Koei seemed to harken back to 3 and 4 by returning a "Free Mode" full of secret items and unlockable weapons, at least one unique weapon for each character, multiple hypothetical scenarios in each kingdom-based Story Mode and the expansions giving Lu Bu his own Story Mode again.
  • 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 
  • Woolseyism: A very common difference between the overseas and English voice scripts are the style names; due to style names being a contextual conceptnote , they are completely omitted in the English dub. To be authentic with the other adaptations of Three Kingdoms however, they are used endlessly in the Japanese dub, oddly enough.
    • One example of this is an example of many (and we mean MANY) that also extends to Warriors Orochi. Xu Shu in one line would be saying in English "Master Zhuge Liang", while in Japanese, he'd be actually saying "Master Kongming" ("Koumei-dono").
      • The only odd exception to this Cai Wenji, who has her style name as her in-series name by default in all languages, yet the style name concept is not deeply touched upon in the series either way. Not to mention due to a name-taboo issue with the historical Sima Zhao, her original style name was "Zhaoji", as historians had to change it to prevent going against the law Sima Zhao enforced at the time.
      • That, and everyone has different weapon names in the Japanese script; a notable example for someone like Guan Yu is his "Blue Moon Dragon" actually being called the "Yellow Dragon Weir Moon Blade" in Japanese (being named after Huanglong/Kouryuu).

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