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In General

  • 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 mixed reception, with exceptions for Dynasty Warriors 7 and 8. Generally, the earlier games had a poorer reception 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).
  • Annoying Video-Game Helper
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    • Elephant Lieutenants in Dynasty Warriors Online: sure, almost every lieutenant can be annoying in one form or another (more than they can be useful, anyways), but these units' attacks will constantly spread out enemies players have been trying to herd into a small group to kill quicker, making it practically impossible to string Combos with them since all of their attacks launch enemies into the air. Yes, players can send these elephants to charge instead, but that's offset with a gong constantly ringing. The worst part is players have to use them almost a hundred times to meet the requirements to mount them (which, depending on if someone is selling them for gold, may or may not mean spending real money to do it).
    • AI-controlled allied officers are almost always unreliable; compare this to a human player, since they don't really need help at taking enemy bases.
      • The "Musou officers", I.E. the characters from the original game, are some of the strongest on the battlefield, but unless players are trying to take over an enemy base, their "contributions" don't count to game score, since a captured base is counted as being on the player's side, but a defeated Mook isn't considered a K.O., meaning that unless these officers defeat an enemy who needs to be upgraded to kill Mooks at the fastest time, they don't really help.
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    • Mounted allied officers are globally loathed by players throughout the series: not only do they rarely contribute to the fight with their weak, inaccurate mounted attacks, they also have a habit of getting in players' way while they are trying to focus on continuing a Combo on an enemy officer, often pushing them out of the string, resulting in a number of consequences, none of them good. Needless to say, it became a relief to see them starting to get wiser by Dynasty Warriors 6, wherein they dismount first before engaging the enemy.
    • Lieutenant officers that can be recruited in "Extreme Mode" for Dynasty Warriors 5: unlike bodyguards in any other 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, prematurely breaking their formation with a Charged Attack, forcing players to go after the scattered Mooks one-by-one to clean up their jobs, significantly increasing the risk and time players have to take to complete the stage. Meanwhile, in special stages filled with elemental crossbow users, the lieutenants stealing officer kills and breaking a Combo is the least of one's problems.
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    • Any time players are in a fight with more allies than enemies, especially if the ratio is 5:1, they'll probably be the one who does the most damage, with allied officers likely the ones knocking enemies out of their attack Combos. This makes finishing enemies a pain when players are trying to find them; at the very least, however, enemies are rarely able to strike back because they're being juggled in the air, until 7 introduced "Aerial Musou Attacks", which can lead to players wishing more allied officers are around to help.
    • As noted below Demonic Spiders, the Cavalry units. If they happen to be your allies, it's this trope instead of Demonic Spiders because they tend to get in your way and ruin your combo.
  • Author's Saving Throw
    • Downloadable Content for Dynasty Warriors 8 included faithfully recreated older costumes updated to reflect current visuals, allowing players who weren't happy with the changes that Dynasty Warriors 6 brought to certain charactersnote  to play as their original characterizations.
    • The Wei storyline in 7 and 8 ends with the Battle of Fan Castle, Cao Cao's death and the rise of Cao Pi as Emperor of Cao Wei. Several fans were upset it didn't went further into Cao Pi's reign where some of the best battles (such as Cao Pi's attempted invasions on Wu) happened; likewise, the Wu storyline merely touched upon these battles, but nothing further that. Dynasty Warriors 9 pays attention to Cao Pi's reign until his death by including several characters who played important roles during his era such as Man Chong and Xu Sheng.
      • Similarly, the Shu storyline in 7 and 8 concludes at the "Battle of Wuzhang Plains" and Zhuge Liang's death, until 9 expanded the storyline towards the Fall of Chengdu, giving an outlook on how Shu was handled when Jiang Wei is in charge of the Northern Campaign.
      • 8 also downplayed much of Sima Yi's interaction and relationship with Wei (non-Jin) characters whereas in 7 he only appears in Fan Castle for Wei story mode as "guide character". Particularly egregious that the Wei story mode in 8 almost pays no attention to his historically-accurate friendship with Cao Pi and in Jin story mode he only references Cao Cao and Cao Pi in passing mention long after they died. 9 fixes this where he has several cutscenes with Cao Pi and he's even among the mourners of Cao Cao's death.
    • For fans who were disappointed with the new English dub in 9 due to not living up to the original cast and being too Narm, the localization included Japanese and Chinese dubs with English subtitles, giving players the option of using either language of their choice.
    • Koei Tecmo is mostly aware of the less-than-stellar launch of 9, thus has dedicated their post-release time to include patches that smooth out the experience outside of the PlayStation 4 Pro, starting with graphical fixes, AI tweaking, adding extra optional features like removing the "officer encounter" cutscene that tends to disrupt Combos, switching characters in-game note , adding soundtracks from the past games and including several modes such as the Arena mode and the Photo mode, and eventually the old, classic weapons (even if it's DLC). Though some won't let the publisher live this down due to first impressions of 9, others are more accepting of the improvements to the game once they get past those disillusioned and a lot of famous video game journalists (that has garnered a lot of fanbase) that had similar disillusionment and disgust on DLC practices (for example, Jim Sterling).
  • Broken Base
    • Years after its release, Dynasty Warriors 6: many players will state their absolute disgust for the "Renbu System" and Moveset Clones, though they tend not to 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.
    • The new English dub in 9 was met with mixed reception: one camp hates it to the point of comparing it to the English dub in Dynasty Warriors 3, another finds the performance So Okay, It's Average and were glad an English dub even exists after several Warriors games post-8: Xtreme Legends were left without one, while a third camp found the casting choices perfect, but believe their delivery of the dialogue could have been better.
    • The game-play in 9: is the shift to a Wide Open Sandbox the breath of fresh air and a bold new direction the franchise needs or is it a failed experiment bogging down the core game-play that reeks of chasing the open-world bandwagon? Furthermore, is altering the combat system from the formulaic Charged Attack system to this new "States/Trigger" system necessary in order to keep things fresh or is it a repeat of Dynasty Warriors 6 and its greatest mistake?
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Slowly became 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 becoming the sole tactic for tackling higher difficulties. Pre-Dynasty Warriors 9, the halberd's "Switch Attack" and the throwing knives' normal attack string were 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 required 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 that it 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, Dynasty Warriors 7 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 Bishōnen, while Lu Bu lost his trademark halberd. Most of these re-designs, particularly the more criticized ones, were reverted for 7, but the younger, more "better-looking" characters remained.
    • Due to the drastic changes made to game-play and presentation, Dynasty Warriors 9 has earned itself the same level of controversy and ire 6 had received as to whether the franchise is stepping towards the right direction. On one hand, fans invested in the original material praise the game for including a Chinese dub, making its story more faithful to the original novel, improving the characterization for most of the playable characters across the board, and find the new Wide Open Sandbox design adds to the immersion. However, those more attuned to the franchise view the radical changes made to its formula and the plethora of Moveset Clones to be a regression, while finding the game's open-world monotonous and unenjoyable.
      • Not helping the fact is that all versions of the game suffer from severe frame-rate issues due to poor optimization, with publisher Koei Tecmo further fanning the flames by barring access to the Chinese subtitles and dubs for the PC version. After players discovered a way to access said option, Koei Tecmo then responded by releasing a patch to specifically "fix" this workaround by removing the language files completely (which unfathomably also removed the previously available Japanese subtitles). Unsurprisingly, this resulted in a torrent of negative reviews on Steam from Chinese and Japanese users.
      • Furthermore, game pundit Jim Sterling, who has been a long-time defender of the series, proclaimed 9 to be the "worst Dynasty Warriors game ever made" in his first impression video after having played it. And it only got worse when he noticed that many characters' more iconic weapons, which had been removed from the basic game, had been re-released as DLC. This only added to the divisiveness among fans.
  • Critical Backlash: During its release, Dynasty Warriors 9 earned a negative reception from critics and veteran fans for several problems such as the frame-rate, the Moveset Clone and the empty open world. Fortunately, Koei released patches to improve the game by adding several modes such as the Arena mode and fixing the framerate. Months later, they added a co-op which many players consider it very appropriate to the open world design. Eventually those who bought and played the game later on find that it's not really a bad game and considered it more as a MMO game rather than a typical Hack and Slash game. Even those who lambasted the game during its launch went back to play it after several patches and found that at least, Koei put a lot of effort to improve it.
  • Demonic Spiders
    • Archers and crossbow users in Dynasty Warriors 3: in general, these enemies aren't a big nuisance, but at later stages in a "Musou Mode" play-through (particularly at Yiling, Wuzhang Plains and Hefei Castle), they will rip players a new one with a single shot as their arrows and crossbow bolts deal damage to roughly one-eighth of total Hit Points. Now imagine taking on these enemies firing their projectiles every few seconds; chances are players will need to hop around and/or move in erratic patterns just to make sure they don't get hit or fight in large groups of either allies and/or enemies (since arrows are the type of projectiles that cannot pierce through units).
    • Sorcerer units in the earlier games deal elemental damage (thus bypassing the defense stat); this became bothersome when these magic-users cast ice-based spells. If hit, expect players to freeze in place for a good five seconds, not something anyone wants when they're surrounded by a huge horde or Mooks at higher difficulties or several enemy officers. Thankfully, sorcerers were removed in 6, and though they returned in 8, only a handful of them appear for a brief section in a couple of stages.
    • Juggernauts from Dynasty Warriors 4 and beyond have thick armor (meaning more Hit Points), breath devasting flames (thus inflict a burn effect, where persistent damage is dealt so long as its target stays airborne) and can swivel itself incredibly fast for something of its size to keep its aim at players; dealing with more than a couple at a time isn't recommended. Things got worse in Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires where they are invulnerable when appearing in weapon bases, forcing players to constantly dodge while frantically trying to reduce the base strength.
    • Crossbow soldiers in Extreme Mode for 5 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 continuous burn damage while airborne) or the ice element, which is the same as the aforementioned sorceror's ice spells, only they're faster, hit harder, and more accurate. These soldiers can pose more of a threat to players' lieutenant officers, who have difficulty hitting them due to their tendency to run off when approached, leading an officer to chase after one, only for the other four to casually freeze/torch the ally to death with ease.
    • Halberd-wielding generic officers in 6 are the bane to any player, veteran or novice. While they attack slow, their high attack priorty and damage more than makes up for this flaw, and they are smart enough to work with their allies to initiate an infinite Combo when they get the chance. Player should consider themselves lucky if the one they encounter is named, as unnamed lieuntant halberd officers always attack in groups.
    • Thanks to new tweaks in 7: Xtreme Legends, "Banner Soldiers" in Nightmare difficulty can randomly give their commanding officer offensive/defensive/speed buffs, regenerate Hit Points or drain the player's Musou Gauge, all at an interval of less than 10 seconds. Imagine getting tossed in the air, hoping to use an Aerial Musou Attack for crowd-control, only to see a flash of blue light goes by and the Musou Gauge suddenly gets drained from full to dry.
    • Cavalry units were introduced in Dynasty Warriors 7 with their main and only tactic being to charge at players en masse, constantly knocking characters down (or juggling players if they're really unlucky). On Normal difficulty or higher, the only thing that might be able to give players a chance to escape is triggering a Musou Attack; unfortunately, cavalry units have a tendency to dodge during the start-up animation.
    • Ballistae and arbalests: the former hits hard and causes flinching, while the latter is certain death at higher difficulties because of damage priority. Worse, depending on the stage, some are indestructible.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: Regardless of the critiques of 9, the story and characterization is held up as one of the best of the series.
  • 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 sisters, Diaochan, and Zhenji are the most noteworthy. If there was any doubt of the females' (especially Wang Yuanji's) darkhorse status, these results from a Japanese poll following the launch of Dynasty Warriors 7 has 2/3 of the female cast ranking in the top half.
    • 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 was a top contender, even if his claims were "being around Wu for a very long time since Sun Jian's reign", but without any historical noteworthiness. It took him nine main installments to become playable. Following his announcement, Liao Hua of Shu, an individual who was part of a faction since its birth to its collapse, took up Cheng Pu's old seat of "most wanted character"; 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 the wishlist, ranging from Lady Wu/Wu Guotainote , Lady Bian/Bian Shinote , Lady Guo/Guo Nuwangnote , Sunshinote , Sun Lubannote , Yang Huiyunote , etc. It should come to no surprise Dynasty Warriors Blast features plenty of women with varying designs, with most of these ladies (except Sunshi) getting featured; hell, there was even a popularity poll for all characters. The winner? Fan Yufengnote .
    • Out from the playable strategists, the Wei strategists have a huge following due to all of them being handsome and having very distinct personalities. It's very evident that they have a lot of fanarts in Pixiv and in Twitter.
    • Does anyone remember Xing Daorong? The guy who appeared only in 4 to ambush you at the Jing Province while giving a most hammy Evil Laugh and WILL DESTROY THEM ALL? Somehow, that part made him rather memorable amongst the many many generics of the game.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: A common complaint about some of the character endings in 9 is they only show them at the height of a character's respective career rather than their historical death. These endings are optimistic, but if players use another character in the same faction, the former will likely end up dead (e.g. Sun Jian's story ends in Chapter 2 where he finds the Imperial Seal, but he dies in Chapter 3), thus cheapens the optimism.
  • 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 Tecmo'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, until this was Downplayed by the time Liu Shan became a playable character.
    • 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 Moveset Clone 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 Moveset Clones; in fact, 8 ensures they are no Moveset Clones at all.
  • Game-Breaker: Now with its own page
  • Goddamned Bats
    • Depending on what stage and difficulty players are tackling, archer units, though they may switch between this and Demonic Spiders. Provided players obtain it, equipping the "Musou Armor"note  makes them less of a hassle.
    • In Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce, a combination of tigers, hawks and butterflies.
    • "Unit Commanders" in 8: while just as strong as regular Mooks when dealing damage, these units have increased Hit Points comparable to generic officers, and though they don't have the latter's AI aggressiveness, this makes Unit Commanders worse when they also have the ability to guard, which they do so obsessively, leaving little room for players to directly damage them without guard-breaking attacks or the cyclone weapon attribute that inflicts damage when enemies are guarding. Typically, the best strategy players can do is try to find an opening to attack their rear.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: 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 3, the AI mainly scales with the stats of player, meaning they will get more stronger in accordance (to the point where unless you have a full optimal setup especially in 3: XL, you're not flinching anyone in a higher difficulty). However, when in a 2 player setting where player 1 is an underleveled and/or fresh character, player 2's stats aren't paid to any mind (meaning they can deal full damage to enemy units without dying as fast). Because of this, it can be easy to abuse this 2 player trick with an intentionally underleveled player 1 and a fully-decked out player 2 to get some crazy weapon requirements with ease, especially when playing solo with 2 controllers.
    • In Dynasty Warriors 4: XL, there's an AI glitch that allows you to save at the start of a stage in Expert difficulty, change it back to Beginner, selecting a Legend Mode stage without reloading your save, starting the stage and leaving it without a save (Start+Select via soft resetting), then reloading your save. When done right, the AI will be on Beginner mode with Expert mode stats (including AI versions of playable officers wielding Level 10 weapons by default), which makes aquiring specific dreaded Level 11 weapons with a single player MUCH easier.
    • In Dynasty Warriors 7, due to how the game handled 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 ten 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 Mutation
    • "Do not pursue Lu Bu"Explanation 
    • "The Sun Quan Tactic"Explanation 
    • "BENEVOLENCE!"Explanation 
    • "God of War, my foot! What's so great about Guan Yu!?"Explanation 
    • "Xing Daorong will DESTROY THEM ALL!Explanation 
    • "You flaming idiots! Take this!"Explanation 
    • "Feel the power of my MAJEEEEEEK!"Explanation 
  • 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, most common victims of this, with Sima Shi going as far as insulting one of Wu's generic officer's 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 games themselves are the unintentional hilarity accompanying nearly every line of dialogue and dramatic moment. This starts becoming apparent by the third game due to its hilariously awkward voice acting.
  • Nerf: In 8, a huge majority of EX Attacks no longer had any elemental activation, especially those that did multiple hits at once. This would make or break certain characters on specific difficulty settings, especially against the highest-form of Hyper Mode officers that tanked hits like a brick and could kill you in one attack or two.
  • Nightmare Fuel: From the original fighting game instalment, we have Xiahou Dun’s ending, which straight up shows him eating his eye. Absolutely no Gory Discretion Shot or anything else to hide it like in later games. Not helping matters is that it comes out of nowhere, and the entire thing is never explained in the game itself.
  • Pandering to the Base: Similar to what had happened to Samurai Warriors 4 when it comes to costumes, the female characters are the only ones who get DLC costumes in the second Season Pass while the male characters who have DLC hypothetical scenarios also get their alternate costumes. In the female characters' case, their costumes are the modern ones particularly high-school theme ones which many suspect that Koei Tecmo is milking on those who are into fanservice. It doesn't help that the producer admits that they're following the Dead or Alive 5's business model of releasing DLCs via season passes. With the third season passes, several male characters also get their DLC costumes asides from the female; however, it's very obvious that the men selected are the popular Pretty Boy ones.
  • Polished Port: While Dynasty Warriors 6 had many changes to it, such as new disliked mechanics and giving many officers different weapons, the PlayStation 2 port didn't change the officers' weapons, making it more tolerable than the other ports.
  • Porting Disaster: While none of the console versions of 9 performed especially well on release, they at least managed somewhat playable (if unstable) frame-rates when played in their "Action Mode", which reduces the graphics resolution. Not so much the version for the original Xbox One (or Xbox One S), which ran at a resolution of just 720p with massively cut-back graphics, to the point where it looks more like an early PlayStation 3 title than something you'd expect to see several years into the following generation. However, the real killer is the abysmal frame-rate, which makes the game all-but-unplayable. Oh, and you can't switch into the "Action Mode", because there isn't one (presumably because it would drop the resolution into Standard Definition territory) Patches have improved the framerate somewhat, but the graphics remain poor.
  • Scrappy Mechanic
    • Dynasty Warriors 4 introduced the ability to duel against certain officers in stages. While the idea itself is unique and fun, it's also unfair on some levels. First off, if you lose a duel, it's an automatic game over and you'll have to redo the stage you were on. Sometimes duels can occur near the end of a stage, meaning you wasted 15-20 minutes only to lose at a duel and forced to redo a stage again. Secondly, duels against certain officers like Lu Bu and Gan Ning are impossible to win against, even if your weapon is at the highest level. They don't take anywhere near as much damage than other officers and dueling either of them will likely result in losing and redoing the stage you were on. This could be why the ability to duel against officers was removed in the later games.
    • Dynasty Warriors 6 introduced the Renbu System ("Renbu" meaning "chain dance"), which no longer limits attacks to a simple normal string, but instead can be chained infinitely by simply mashing the attack button. A character'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 players stop attacking (thus making Escort Missions more frustrating) or take heavy damage from enemies (this can be slightly mitigated with the right abilities), causing the character's moveset to degrade. While a fine idea on paper, its poor implementation makes it downright frustrating at higher difficulties, since aggressive enemy AI means players are 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 zero. The worst part is that characters with slower attacks (Dian Wei and Xiahou Dun) will have a hard time regaining their Renbu Levels. The reception to this mechanic was so bad 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 was the first time a core battlefield mechanic was completely excised between a numbered installment and its expansion.
    • Dynasty Warriors NEXT is chalk 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 one Territory Level...to a single territory, which is chosen slot-machine stylednote , 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 is averted; 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 Attack when prompted, and tap to attack at other times. This gets frustrating as the opponent's strength and Hit Points gradually rise with the difficulty, until they are able to defeat the players' character with just a few hits, whereas players have to hack at their thick health bar for over two minutes to bring them down. The fact that is there's no way to avoid duels only makes this worse. "Campaign Mode" is lenient enough, where players are only placed in a duel as part of the plot; however, Conquest Mode throws out at least one per battle (if players are unlucky, it's two or three). Failing a duel in either mode and players must do it all over again until they win, making this 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 sixty 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 players step into it, especially when they're pursuing an enemy or trying to get to somewhere in a hurry. Enemies can at least be excused as attempting to trap players for activating this Stratagem. Whether allied units are trying to help or deliberately Trolling players 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 remain open 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, thus 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 doesn't happen again. Thankfully, this is fixed by the time 8: Xtreme Legends was released.
    • "Storm Rush" in 8 is a multi-hitting attack 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 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. Like gate captains, Storm Rush was fixed in the expansion, adding the option to manually trigger it.
    • Weapon Tempering in 8 is a weapon crafting system akin to Warriors Orochi that allows players to combine two weapons to create a better one. Unlike the Crossover, 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 slightly improved the system by giving a certain pattern to the type of attributes players could get, but it was too little too late, leading Koei Tecmo 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 ends up looking somewhere between ugly and pure Uncanny Valley, and more often than not, paired with a completely mis-matched voice. Unfortunately, there's no re-marrying aspect if your spouse die.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: The patch 1.08 on DW9 added a Photo Mode where you can take pictures on the scenery or the characters doing some poses. Patch 1.19 added the emotions where your character can bow or look depressed or excited. Naturally, players put a lot of effort on taking pictures of their favorite characters doing poses and putting designs.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Most people who like Dynasty Warriors 3 liked the higher difficulty options 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.
  • Surprise Difficulty
    • Anyone overly accustomed to plowing through hordes of cannon fodder may be unpleasantly surprised by the giant enemies in Strikeforce.
    • 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.
  • Tainted by the Preview: With regards to Dynasty Warriors 9, the confirmation that certain characters are semi-Moveset Clones of each other similar to Dynasty Warriors 7 (where their normal movesets were the same, but with different Musou Attacks) caused a number of fans to decry the game, claiming they were no longer interested. Meanwhile, other fans had reserved judgement until release to view the game on its own merits.
  • That One Achievement
    • Dynasty Warriors 6 had the "Completist" and "Master Of Chaos" achievements: the former required 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 was even more unforgiving as it required players to complete all stages on "Chaos" difficulty! Given the Scrappy Mechanic that was the Renbu System in 6...
    • Dynasty Warriors 7 with "Quizmaster", which is to answer all questions asked correctly in the game's "Conquest Mode". These questions can range from "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 weren't found in the in-game encyclopedia, while others were incredibly obscure; hell, this was before any mention of the total number of questions in the game (supposedly 500, and players can only answer five at a time). Nothing helping this was the poorly-handled translation in the localization, which often left 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 were 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: Xtreme 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 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 required 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 loads of Hit Points and high defense, thus whittling them down takes forever; additionally, enemy archers litter the battlefield. Playing this stage on hard difficulty in Free Mode 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). Other things that make this level hell is that the game is scripted to have Wu launch a fire attack on the Shu camp, making morale drop exponentially, while increasing Wu's troop morale. Furthermore, many Shu officers will likely die if players don't find and kill Wu placeholder officer Zhu Ran; unlike later games, the map doesn't reveal the location of sub-officers, meaning players won't find Zhu Ran unless Lu Xun is defeated first. Even if the fire attack is prevented, players are still required to defeat Lu Meng and Gan Ning, two of the hardest Wu officers to defeat in the game, then against against Sun Quan at the end of stage, with him being surrounded by many crossbow units. Of note is the Battle of Yiling for Shu characters must play at least two other stages finishing their respective Musou Mode. Fortunately, the subsequent stage after Yiling (mainly the Nanman Campaign) is considered a Breather Level.
    • "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 the commanders decide to join the battle and march straight for each other.
    • Similarly, the Battle at Wuzhang Plains (Shu side) from the same installment also gets this flak, since players have to deal with the Wei forces' rock catapult shenanigans which, like many stage hazards, can take away a large percentage of Hit Points and can break through Musou Attack invincibility. The archers in the stage, just like at Yiling and Hefei Castle, are still as deadly as ever. Most of the time, the Wei side version is often the ideal stage for testing out Hard/Very Hard Mode clear times for each character, and it's already a real test to simply fight a single officer head on under those conditions.
    • The "Nanman Campaign" stages from Dynasty Warriors 4 are difficult mostly due to the odds being kept stacking against players, unlike the more simplistic-yet-time consuming 3 version. 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 as no matter what, enemy troops will go to wherever the allied commander is. Even more tedious is unlike other games where if you defeat a gate captain allied troops will come out and they become yours, in this stage the enemy gate captains will respawn, with the enemy units always going for your commander. At higher difficulties, it's not uncommon to complete these levels by one of three means: playing as the allied commander of the army, earning 1000 K.O.s to prevent morale loss among allies (which Game Breakers have no problem achieving) or by making a mad dash to Meng Huo's home base, ignoring everything else, forcing Meng Huo to respawn at his base - upon defeating him, the level is cleared. Also, unlike the prior installment, the poison marshes in Nanman only affect allied characters; enemy Nanman troops are invulnerable to them. Have fun. If there's one positive, it's that the player isn't required to beat it in order to proceed to the next stage. So if you don't mind missing whatever experience points or items that'll be in it, it's completely optional.
      • Zhurong's Legend Mode from the Xtreme Legends expansion is quite a hellish stage, even with Lu Bu whose Lv. 11 weapon is one of the best in the game for stages that restict items. The stage is litered with guards that will alert their respective Shu generals to come and follow you closely, making it more than just a mere chore to try and handle them all at once. On top of a Hyper Mode Zhao Yun and Zhuge Liang, trying to defeat all officers on this stage is basically asking for pure hell if you don't know how to manipulate the AI's habits on Expert Mode.
      • Sun Ce's Legend Mode, where all the Yu Ji copies are treated as officers, meaning on higher difficulties, they will block as soon as you attack, forcing you to use your peons to distract them or to counter with your Musou. But good luck when every single Yu Ji copy is blocking your hits, incluing Yu Ji himself (despite them being generic officers). However, any character able to deck themselves out with a maxed out elemental orb, maximum raw attack stats + Power Rune and a maxed out Herbal Remedy can easily bust their their guarding shenanigans.
      • Jiang Wei's Legend Mode, the defense of Jiange, where you have to defend the southern portion of the Chengdu map from the enemy Wei generals. But most of all is trying to maintain protecting Liu Shan (who was still an NPC and referred to as "Liu Chan") and preventing him from surrendering before the stage is successfully finished via the time running out. This often involves trying to juggle between sealing two gates to prevent Liu Shan from running out from the northern portion of the map, and if he does go past one unlocked gate, he'll try to head to any unsealed enemy strongholds to surrender himself. Never mind trying to defeat the Wei officers being hard enough, even though they all eventually will converge onto you if you keep staying at the northwest.
      • Sun Quan's Legend Mode, another one that restricts you from having items, involves trying to survive against a Hyper Mode Zhang Liao who will always reappear when defeated in the stage, and you also have to at the historically-accurate advice of Gu Li, steal a horse in order to leap over the broken bridge. The fact that you can't equip items means that you have no access to the Shadow Harness, on top of there being plenty of archers around to shoot you off depending on the difficulty setting.
    • 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 twenty enemy officers, all of which 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 Tecmo has since caught on by releasing a revamped version of the same stage in 8 due to its 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. What makes this mission even more insufferable is that when your party splits up to prepare for the pincer attack, everyone on the other side becomes hypercompetent, steamrolling over everyone in their path and easily getting to the objective before you, while everyone on your side becomes borderline useless - even Lu Bu, who struggles to defeat even a single officer, as well as some Fake Difficulty in the map design; One bridge early in Lu Lingqi's path could've been an easy shortcut to get down and bail out Lu Bu in the ballista trap if need be, if only the map designers hadn't arbitrarily decided that you can't jump from this specific bridge despite not only the low guardrails, but plenty of open cliffside right next to either side.
  • 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.
      • Then in 3: XL, Zhuge Liang's 5th weapon involves getting 1000 K.O.s on the Shu Forces version of Chibi on Very Hard. Have fun trying to do this without a second player and abusing the aforementioned exploit of 2 players.
      • Another one is Yue Ying's Level 10 weapon, the Oblivion, in DW4. See that above entry for the Nanman Campaign? Yue Ying has to do everything done in canonical story: Defeat Meng Huo seven times, burn Wu Tugu's armor soldiers and defeat Zhu Rong all while keeping morale salvageable and not lose your allied commander.
      • Some Level 11 weapons in 4: XL however, are to be obtained in Legend Modes that restricts your character(s) from equipping any items, which can spell hell if your chosen character has crap crowd-handling abilities without items, often requiring the use of the AI glitch; even to the point where other stages with similar restrictions are easier no thanks to uneven balancing between the stages themselves (as a good number of them require a competent second player in order to get the score needed). Special mention goes to Sun Quan's Level 11 weapon, whose Legend Mode as aforementioned restricts you from equipping items, has to have you get 500 K.O.s while also defeating a Hyper Mode Zhang Liao 3 times in a row (while keeping all of your allies alive). Then considering that you have to steal Zhang Liao's horse to end the stage while also having no access to equipping the Shadow Harness with plenty of archers around....have fun.
      • Sun Ce's Legend Mode in 4: XL features the debut of Yu/Gan Ji has an NPC officer; yet for some reason, Yu Ji himself and his copies block/turtle WAY MORE OFTEN than any other officer in the game in Expert Mode (just as much as playable officers do, as a matter of fact), making it a bit of a time-waster if you can't make sure your peons can distract their opposition just to land back attacks (since the stage restricts you from having bodyguards).
      • Zhurong's Legend Mode in 4: XL not only restricts items and bodyguards, but if you trigger any of the officer appearances, say goodbye to both the weapon and if you choose to fight it out, your life. The stage possesses a good wad of Shu officers who will tightly follow you as well as both a Hyper Mode Zhao Yun and Zhuge Liang. Even if you slip through everyone unnoticed to get the Lv. 11 weapon, you still have to avoid triggering the officer appearances while also trying to deal with Zhuge Liang himself just to have more chances to finish the stage without dying. Did we also mention that on Expert Mode, Zhuge Liang's AI of all people hits like a truck like the rest of them even in Lu Xun's Legend Mode?
      • Xiaoqiao's Legend Mode like her sister Daqiao's, once again restricts items and bodyguards, but even at maximum stats and with Cao Cao not being in Hyper Mode until the very end, it's either him or any of his officers that will wipe the floor with you with ease if you're careless, especially if you can't take advantage of Xiaoqiao's infinite combo pre-sixth installment.
      • Lu Bu's Lv. 11 weapon from his Legend Mode presents another issue; while it's very easy to at least deck him how you'd like to your heart's content with only bodyguards being restricted, the requirement is to receive 2000 K.O.s....at a time where the series couldn't process that many enemies on screen (as well as the characters not having overly radical movesets as they do now). Along with extremely aggressive playable officers in the stage that come after you no matter where you go, the main issue is trying to keep each of them alive in order to meet the K.O. quota without accidentally killing them (as defeating them will cause the stage to go through faster even though Sun Jian, Xiahou Dun and Cao Cao will retreat on their own given enough time, and defeating the three sworn brothers at the end will for sure end the stage). This is also compounded by the fact that if you dare to hold back, the AI on Expert Mode without the AI glitch will not hesitate to rip you a new one. It takes a lot of AI manipulation, and/or making use of maximum mounted attack stats on the Shadow Harness in order to keep staying on the move to keep the AI officers as far away as possible just to rack up those kills.
    • 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!
    • Another pain-in-the-ass star objective is preventing Wei from calling reinforcements during the Battle of Wuzhang Plains by killing two messengers. Both messengers spawn on opposite sides of the map, and it's nigh-impossible to catch up to the other messenger unless you kill the first one as soon as possible, and then get on a horse and ride like hell to just barely catch the second one (and even then, it's nigh-impossible if you're playing one of the characters tasked with attacking Wei from the left side of the map, due to it being far faster to get from the right side to the left than the other way around.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Unbelievably, given the series' reputation, it occurs with almost every entry!
    • 3: Being far harder than the previous game by having many of the enemy officers (usually the playable ones) and their guards take far less damage than the regular mooks and dealing far more damage than any regular mook, no matter what difficulty you're playing it on, borderline requiring players to grind through "Free Mode" to have the slightest chance of clearing an officer's "Musou Mode" or hoping that you're very lucky. Plus you can't ride on any horse like in the other games. You need to be at certain ranks or else the horse will knock you off, unless you have the items that allows you to ride every horse. Related to that, speed x2 don't show up until the next game, so you're stuck with slow horses until you level characters up.
    • 3: Xtreme 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: Xtreme 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: Xtreme Legends: Adding two modes that both boiled down to sawed-off Eastern RPG Level Grinding.
    • 5: Empires: Averted; considered a fan favorite as it holds the distinction of even receiving half-way favorable reviews from some North 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: Xtreme Legends: Another one 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 got a lot of praise.
    • 8: Xtreme 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 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, were 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.
    • 9: Received flak for changing characters' unique weapons for Moveset Clones, redoing the combat system again that serves to make it shallow and uninteresting, pushing an "open-world" narrative/style by chasing popular trends without evolving the game and replacing the original English dub cast with less-experienced and often-less-fitting, but cheaper stand-ins.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Despite the return of individual story-lines in Dynasty Warriors 9, players cannot play a character who began their career prior to joining their official faction during the Three Kingdoms Era - for example, Ma Chao started his military career under his father, Ma Teng, while Zhang Liao worked with Dong Zhuo and Lu Bu prior to joining Wei; by contrast, consider 8: Xtreme Legends, where Zhang Liao was playable for Lu Bu's faction and Wei. Likewise, certain story-lines end before a character joins another faction (e.g. Sun Shangxiang, Xiahou Ba and Xu Shu); players are unable to play as them afterwards.
  • Tough Act to Follow
    • Godseekers was a tactical role-playing Spin-Off of Dynasty Warriors 8, similar to Dynasty Tactics, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. However, the game received low sales in Japan and mediocre reviews; that the game had less Hack and Slash, with several characters cut from the roster and the story focusing on Zhao Yun and the Kingdom of Shu, with awkward fantasy elements, decreased any interest surrounding it. In contrast, Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada was received better by retaining its Hack and Slash nature, character roster, additional historical figures, an aging system and the story being closely tied to historical accountsnote . Considering Godseekers was released months before the announcement of Dynasty Warriors 9, many fans decided to move on and focus on the latter.
    • The new English voice cast for 9 had big shoes to fill, given they were replacing the voice actors who had played the characters since Dynasty Warriors 4. Unlike the original cast, of whom the majority are veterans in the industry, the newcomers are from another Los Angeles-based voice acting studio known for dubbing foreign movies, television series, soap operas/telenovelas and documentaries. Since 9 was their first video game assignment, it was a challenge for them when many fans became used to the original voices of their favorite characters; it didn't help that many players were comparing the new English dub to the laughable Dynasty Warriors 3 dub. In particular, Matt Fowler, who replaces Lex Lang as Zhuge Liang, expressed similar doubts, stating he loved Lang's work and hoped his acting did the character justice.
  • Uncanny Valley: Player-edited characters can invoke this, whether done intentionally or otherwise, as well as several preset edit characters that appeared in the Empires expansions.
    • Anyone without a unique design tends to have lower-poly models (rank-and-file soldiers especially.) This isn't really a problem during gameplay, but when these low-poly characters get focused on in cutscenes it's very noticeable.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: 6 introduced new mechanics to the series such as grab attacks (outside of weapon attack Combos), dodging, the need to break down doors to bases before entering them, battlefield duels, and exclusive attacks upon winning weapon deadlocks. However, due to the poor reception of the game (mostly due to the Renbu System, cut characters, etc.), the developers scrapped all of these features come Dynasty Warriors 7.
  • 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 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 modern games, whereas the novel had him favor it as a traditional way of life (though he did feel a bit self conscious about being much older than her).
  • Waggle: NEXT on the Sony PlayStation 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.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: The "Arrow in the knee" meme was very popular at that time when The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was released in 2011 but when the English dub tries to sneak in this meme in DW9 which was released in 2018, it hits this trope.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Even though Dynasty Warriors 7 was considered an improvement over 6 for introducing the Jin Kingdom Story Mode 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 Moveset Clones of each other. Come 8 and its expansions, Koei Tecmo 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.
  • Woolseyism: A very common difference between the overseas and English voice scripts are the stylistic names: due to style names being a contextual conceptnote , they are completely omitted in the English dub. However, to be authentic with the other adaptations of Romance of the Three Kingdoms, they are used extensively in the Japanese dub.
    • Several examples include hearing "Chou Shiryuu" (Zhao Zilong), "Kan Unchou" (Guan Yunchang), "Ryo Housen" (Lu Fengxian), "Shiba Chuutatsu" (Sima Zhongda); the list goes on. It would be much easier to count on one's fingers how many characters don't use style names at all.
    • An odd exception to this is Cai Wenji, who has her stylistic name as her in-series name by default in all languages, yet the style name concept is not deeply touched upon in the series, not to mention that 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.
    • Alongside character names, all characters have different weapon names in the Asian/Japanese script: someone like Guan Yu wields the "Blue Moon Dragon", but is really called the "Yellow Dragon Weir Moon Blade" in Japanese (being named after "Huanglong/Kouryuu"). Thus, outside of sources like The Other Wiki for Koei Tecmo, localized names tend to miss a lot of spot-on character symbolism/motifs associated with those Asian/Japanese script names, despite the fact that certain Asian weapon names aren't as heavy on such symbolism in the later installments as of the seventh one.

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