Warriors Orochi Ultimate 4 is a hack-and-slash game developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo Games where history meets fantasy. Features include fully animated voice scenes, Japanese voice-dubbing for all dialogue, and plenty of humiliating ways to crush your opponents.
The story begins when three of our protagonists — Tadakatsu Honda, Ii Naotora, and Ii Naomasa — are engulfed in a cloud of mist during a routine mission. When the fog subsides, none of them recognize their surroundings. Their confusion is only compounded when they’re attacked by an army they’ve never seen before. They soon discover that they’ve been transported to a strange world, where heroes of ancient China and feudal Japan have been summoned… for some mysterious reason.
In Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate, you’ll be aiding the three on their quest for answers. These answers won’t just be lying in wait, though — you’ll have to fight tooth and nail for every single one you get. With each victory comes new information, and tons of powerful allies (seriously, Warriors Orochi 4 currently boasts the Guinness World Records title for “most playable characters in a hack-and-slash game” at 170, and the Ultimate expansion includes six more).
In Warriors Orocho 4 Ultimate, there are four different game modes, and each is dedicated to a separate style of play. There’s Story Mode, Battle Arena, Challenge Mode, and Infinity Mode.
In Story Mode, you’ll take on the main campaign. It includes the five chapters of Warriors Orochi 4, along with an exclusive new chapter. All quests and side-stories feature the classic objectives that the series is known for: defeating enemy officers, escorting allies across battlefields, and of course, capturing and defending bases.
Leveling up your characters allows you to unlock skills that enhance their prowess in combat by granting them extra attacks and increasing their base stats. Magic and sacred treasures are new additions to the game, and will come in handy when you’re battling Chaos Origins and other entities that won’t go down using traditional means. Characters that are integral to the plot can undergo a new process called deification, which takes the place of rage attacks and users divine powers for a limited amount of time.
Your characters can also be improved by upgrading your camp and establishing bonds. Upgrading your camp involves exchanging crystals earned in battle to grant characters various perks, such as increasing experience earned by 5% and bolstering their offensive stats. Bonds trigger events that give you little glimpses into what the characters are like and how they interact with one another when they’re not hacking opponents to death. If you build a bond between compatible characters by having them fight or train together, you’ll be rewarded with benefits like more powerful unity attacks.
One of Story Mode’s greatest assets is its ability to be played at whatever pace you’ll enjoy it most. There is no proper way to go about saving the world, and Omega Force and Koei Tecmo Games know it. If you believe that the joy in completing a game lies within earning every single victory yourself by grinding for experience points, you can do that to your heart’s content. If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of characters in Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate and feel like there’s no way you’re ever going to be able to train them all, you can use growth points or training to level them up.
The Battle Arena exists to test your wit — and your patience. Here, players are matched up online and compete against each other to capture the most bases. Constrained by a time limit (and how painfully slow it is to actually capture a base), you’ll have to scour the battlefield in search of one and scramble to claim it.
While it may take a while to capture the bases, it makes for great suspense when going up against a worthy foe. The difficulty of claiming or keeping a base, ultimately, makes it all the more rewarding once you finally capture it or chase the enemy off.
Challenge Mode forces you to kick your Story Mode gameplay strategies to the curb and make way for some new rules. Some levels impose restrictions on certain weapons and place all characters at the same level, while others change your damage output or speed. You can test your endurance alone and try to beat your personal best, or take it online and make your way up the rankings. If you crave competition, this is where you’ll find it.
Infinity Mode is only available after you’ve completed the first five chapters of Story Mode, and with good reason. If you haven’t completed the base game, Infinity Mode won’t make a lot of sense — not even in the context of a game that bends time and space and has women spouting temporary wings.
In Infinity Mode, you’ll clear trials designed by Zeus. These trials take place in twelve towers, each consisting of five floors with randomized items and objectives. You’ll begin with only a few characters, but you’ll have the chance to expand your roster with every enemy you defeat. Infinity Mode will also give you the chance to create and wield the most powerful weapons in the game. Since every character has a unique weapon, there’s plenty in the way of unlockables.
Once you’ve finished Story Mode, this is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time. Some people might actually find it more enjoyable than Story Mode, since you’ll never expect what your mission will be. Zeus will also offer you two enticing perks to choose between mid-game, and the one you’ll want to pick depends largely on the type of player you are and what your strategy is.
While combat might take some getting used to, it isn’t too complicated to pick up. Navigating certain sections of the screen when you’re at your base, however, is a different story. The area where you select your party doesn’t allow you to change your weapon; you’ll have to go to the “weapons” category for that. This can be frustrating if you’re used to simply pressing on a character in your party and being able to modify their equipment. Oh, and another thing about that roster — if you’re not sure which Warriors game a character originates from or what clan they’re affiliated with, good luck finding them. That’s how every character is sorted, so it’s pretty easy to get lost or completely lose track of a character.
Graphics and Soundtrack
Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate makes great use of the Switch’s graphics, taking full advantage of its HD capabilities. While the limitations of the Switch’s hardware mean its graphics will never be on par with its PS4 iteration, that doesn’t mean it isn’t impressive. Any glitches are momentary, and you’ll only encounter them when you’re performing complex attacks that hit a bunch of NPCs simultaneously.
The soundtrack is meant to fire you up, and boy does it ever. A lot of it sounds like something you might hear at a dance club, but it surprisingly works well with the game. While it doesn’t always feel serious (particularly when compared to some of the more dark and serious tracks in Warriors Orochi 3), it definitely gives battles a fun twist.
Fans of the Warriors series will be pleased to know that all their favorite characters have returned, and that little in the series has changed. The tried-and-true formula of capturing bases while grossly outnumbered is sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys a good hack-and-slash game. That being said, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate seems to have focused more on quantity than quality when it comes to characters and character development, and it would have worked better the other way around.
Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate gets a 7/10.