Dynasty Warriors 6
It's something of a Eurogamer tradition that Dave McCarthy gets to review all the KOEI games and gives them great scores to the total ambivalence of the gaming masses. The bottom line seems to be that Dynasty Warriors is a massive franchise in its native Japan, but one that is largely shunned outside of the Far East market - regardless of the game's qualities.
But credit to KOEI here - it keeps on pumping out its games on its own terms, and remarkably they get better and better with each new release. Dynasty Warriors Gundam and Bladestorm were creditable efforts that I really enjoyed playing for round seven of the X360 vs. PS3 face-off, but Dynasty Warriors 6 takes the mass hackandslash genre to another level thanks to an improved combo system that opens up new moves the more you kill without getting knocked down. The ability to swim, sail boats, climb ladders and smash your way through gates makes a big difference too - especially to series veterans.
Of course, it's all wrapped up in an enhanced version of KOEI's trademark graphics engine, which offers full 60fps gameplay at 720p, legions of on-screen characters and some superb special effects.
KOEI also deserves praise for the quality of its cross-platform development - indeed, it's pretty much the most consistent multiformat developer on the market today. We saw minor, barely perceptible, technical wins for both consoles with Dynasty Warriors Gundam (PS3) and Bladestorm (360) but the games were essentially identical in everything that actually mattered. With Dynasty Warriors 6, KOEI has upped its game still further, to the point where - during gameplay at least - the two versions are absolutely identical. Bearing in mind how little the Xbox 360 must contribute to KOEI's overall revenues, it's quite remarkable that the Microsoft box should get the obvious love and attention it does in the hands of these developers.
Such is the closeness of the two versions, the only way to tell these games apart is to check out the pre-rendered video sequences. Here once again we have clear evidence of KOEI wanting to get the best possible product out there. The Xbox 360 version is limited by the confines of the dual-layer DVD, resulting in sub-optimal video sequences, but with PS3, KOEI has encoded its CG video to the very highest standard. The entire 25GB single-layer Blu-ray disc has been filled up to make the cinematics as beautiful-looking as possible.
In short then, a very nice game regardless of the console you own, though if you like your CG cut-scenes, PS3 does offer a tangible advantage. More than that, if KOEI's efforts in improving Dynasty Warriors continue at this rate, western gamers might actually start to take notice...