Warriors Orochi 4 had some familiar problems when it came out back in late 2018. Though it sported a massive roster and engaging combat, the Dynasty Warriors spinoff was lacking in reasons to use all of those characters and combos. The story mode and side challenges were fun yet finite experiences, and the more open-ended competitive multiplayer modes failed to take off.
Just as previous games have rectified similar struggles with expanded Ultimate re-releases, the most recent game in the franchise is getting similar treatment. The one difference is this time fans who already own Warriors Orochi 4 can simply buy an upgrade pack that gives them the content of Ultimate. While all that new content serves to make an already good game even better, this new Ultimate version isn’t exactly the massive, game-changing update that the pricetag would lead you to believe it is.
For starters, this isn’t an expansion that sets out to shake-up or update the entire beginning-to-end experience. Almost all of the new content in Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate can only be accessed once you’ve beaten the original main campaign. Two new story chapters, seven additional characters, and an endless Infinity Mode gauntlet await once you finish Chapter 5 of the main story, but until you reach them, you won’t notice many major changes to the experience compared to the last time you played.
There are a few minor additions that can be noticed immediately, though. The UI of the game has been slightly reworked, with a sharper and less cluttered HUD and menus. You can also swap out the Sacred Treasure of each character, an originally-unique item that would give each member of the roster an additional set of personalised attacks. Now, you can mix-and-match any character with any Sacred Treasure, offering even more unique combo potential that helps shake up late-game encounters.
Once you’ve cleared Chapter 5 and amassed a team of level 50 characters, you’re greeted by entertaining new story chapters centred around the new members of the playable roster. Zeus and Gaia have joined the conflict, aiding you in a battle against Odin and his forces. There are plenty of fun and chaotic maps to duke it out on in these chapters, and the new characters are welcome, it’s just a shame that so few characters were added.
A game with 170 playable characters is already impressive, sure, but the Ultimate edition of the game only adds seven. Three of them are guest characters from previous Warriors games – Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden, Joan of Arc from Bladestorm, and Achilles from Warriors: Legends of Troy. They’re all incredibly fun to play as, but adding the rest of the missing guest characters from the prior game would have made this package feel a little beefier.
In my eyes, the main draw of Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is the Infinity Mode. Much of the content in the base game doesn’t really give you a compelling reason to revisit it, but Infinity Mode is all about replayability. You start out with only a few characters available to you and are tasked with clearing twelve towers, each made up of five floors. The missions, layouts and items of each floor are randomised, and your entire map has a fog of war obscuring it that can only be removed by exploring the environment. Missions are same-old, same-old and maps take only a few minutes to clear, but it’s the rewards of Infinity Mode that really get you.
Clearing maps will unlock new characters to use in future runs, and each run of the mode earns you rare materials you can use to craft the most powerful weapons in the game. Each character has their own unique weapons, meaning grind-obsessed fans have plenty to do thanks to this mode.
There are two very different versions of Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate out there. As a newcomer to the franchise, you’ve got a $60 game packed with the most content I’ve ever seen in a Dynasty Warriors entry. For fans who already own the original game, though, you’re faced with purchasing a $40 upgrade kit that comes with two new story chapters, seven characters, one replayable game mode and a handful of gameplay updates. It’s an easy sell for brand new players, but I think only the most hardcore of Warriors fans will feel like the price-tag of the DLC update is worth it for Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate.