Dynasty Warriors 6

Last Gen, Meet Next-Gen

KOEI works some impressive programming chicanery to get Dynasty Warriors 6 running on the PS2. We go hands-on.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: August 8, 2008
You have to hand it to KOEI: if at first they don't make their usual killing off the Dynasty Warriors series, they'll try, try again, and they'll take it to the 140 million-strong install base of the PlayStation 2 if they have to do it. Now, that statement may confuse you -- especially when we mention one of the two Dynasty Warriors games we saw at KOEI's event here in San Francisco last night is a PS2 version of Dynasty Warriors 6.

Yes, we're talking about the world's first (and possibly only) PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 2 port.

In truth, there's a little bit more to the port than just lowering the polygons and sending it out the door. Rather than trying to take the code base from the PS3 and make it work on a system almost a decade older, KOEI's internal Omega Force dev team instead took the base assets and level designs and ported them to the existing PS2 engine they've been using for what seems like a dozen games now. Along the way, they decided to builk up the Musou Mode with six new storyline bits for Zhang He, Ma Chao, Cao Pi, Yue Ying, Ling Tong and Taichi Ci (and lord help us if we got those names wrong, but we're sure you Warriors superfreaks will let us know), so it's not entirely a 1:1 port.

Even that would be a bit of an oversimplification. The PS3 version of the game was an honest-to-goodness update to the engines KOEI had been using for their PS2/360 games, so expecting the PS2 version of Dynasty Warriors 6 to be anything like its next-gen big bro would be stretching it. Instead, the game plays almost like a portable version, if that makes any sense; the levels are generally the same, but all those enemies that arrived in waves now appear far less numerous and fade in fairly close to the player. Textures are obviously rather low-res, but the framerate is fairly solid and the actual levels themselves seem fairly big -- no small feat considering the difference in memory between the PS3 and PS2.

The actual game itself played identically to the next-gen version, though, which meant the return of the Renbu system for dictating how varied and powerful combos could be, and things like power-ups that could be trigger to boost speed and attack power were well in effect, as were newer mechanics like bashing down doors and wiping out a sufficient number of enemy troops inside to occupy the fort. In short, it was Dynasty Warriors 6, but on the PS2.

I do realize that's being awfully basic about things, but perhaps that's the nicest thing we can say about Dynasty Warriors 6 on the PS2; that it plays just like it's big brother. It may not [i]look[/] nearly as good, but at least the core mechanics are there, and for those not quite willing to plunk down the cash to get a next-gen system, this will certainly help tide you over until then. We'll have a proper review of the game when it ships in November.