Dynasty Warriors 3 (真・三國無双2 Shin Sangokumusō 2 , Shin Sangokumusou 2 in Japan) is a Hack and slash video game developed by Omega Force (ω-force) and published by Koei. It is third in the Dynasty Warriors series in North America and the second in the Shin Sangokumusou series in Japan. It is a spin-off from the video game Romance of the Three Kingdoms and based around a series of books by the same name, written by Luo Guanzhong. It contains a number of fictional and non-fictional elements from the same era in Chinese history that Romance of the Three Kingdoms is set but follows the main events of part of the story which is to unify China under the single rule of a kingdom.
Dynasty Warriors 3 was the first in the series to introduce a two player mode and numerous other improvements over Dynasty Warriors 2. New stages, characters, weapons, attacks and music are introduced providing a completely new experience to a player that has played Dynasty Warriors 2 before. The gameplay engine and the graphics engine have also been updated, providing higher quality environments, textures and general overall graphics. Only one expansion was released for the game, Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends and it was the first in the Xtreme Legends series.
In Dynasty Warriors 3 the player takes control of an officer and must attempt to defeat the enemy commander. The player must make their way through the stage defeating soldiers and enemy officers while trying to keep their commander alive. As well as hundreds of soldiers in each stage, there are stage specific events to complete that can help the player’s army and raise their morale. A higher morale means allied soldiers will attack more frequently and will be more likely to follow through with their combination attacks. To make this possible, officers and commanders have superhuman abilities and have the capability to kill hundreds of enemy soldiers per stage.
The main play mode of the game is Musou mode, the story mode of the Dynasty Warriors series. Each playable character of the three main nations have their own Musou mode which consists of a number of stages that resemble events in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The Musou mode for each character is a linear story where the user cannot change the how the story progresses. The story progression for Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Jian and officers from their respective kingdoms have the closest relation to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms story.
Initially there are 9 available characters to play as and new characters can be unlocked by performing special events during battle or simply meeting them during battle. Each playable character has their own unique weapon that can be upgraded and allows for a maximum of 4 levels of weapon. When the next level of weapon is obtained, its strength is greater than the level below it and adds one extra attack to the player’s maximum number of attacks.
Items are also hidden throughout stages and can also be obtained by defeating officers. There are three types of items in game, normal items, red items and weapons which can be equipped before the stage begins and will increase the player’s statistics. Red items are specialised items than cause a special effect, such as starting the stage mounted on a horse or giving the player the ability to shoot fire arrows.
Dynasty Warriors 3 has an RPG element to it where the player can increase the strength, defence, life bar or Musou bar of the characters. This can be achieved by defeating enemy officers and gate captains who will drop items that will increase the aforementioned statistics. Although it is not necessary to collect these items, it is helpful to the player as in later stages as enemies grow in strength.
The two player mode (new to Dynasty Warriors 3) allows players to either go head-to-head in one-on-one fights or play co-operatively in any of the stages. The screen is split horizontally with player one on top and the second below. In one-on-one fights the characters statistics are reduced to their default to allow for a fair battle, relying more on the player’s skill rather than who has the stronger character. In co-operative play the characters retain their saved statistics, there are no alterations to the stage and the players gain the ability to perform a more powerful version of their Musou attack (Special Attack). If the players perform their Musou attack at the same time within range of each other, the attack gains a lightning element and deals extra damage to enemies that are hit.
Dynasty Warriors 3 is set across Ancient China in the time of the Three Kingdoms era. The game begins at the fall of the Han Dynasty shortly after the death of the Emperor Ling  when the leader of the Way of Peace, Zhang Jiao, led an uprising against the Empire.
The game features a strong mix of fact and fiction from Chinese History and often exaggerates characters and their personalities. Most of the events and stages are reported to have occurred in the Three Kingdoms era during the struggle of power. The three kingdoms primarily involved, Shu, Wu and Wei, each sought power enough to overthrow the other two and unify China under their rule. Although the story in Dynasty Warriors is not perfect in the sense that it does not accurately follow the historical events, it has been changed to make the game more playable and less repetitive. For example, a number of the characters in the game died in the time frame that the game is set, but they still appear in later stages. The game features environments resembling that of Ancient China and various items from the era such as Fairy Wine and Dim Sums.
Many of the stages are recreations of notable battles present historically or from the novel Romance of Three Kingdoms, while original creations became more common with the newer installments.
- Xu Huang
- Zhang He
- Zhen Ji
- Wei Yan
- Pang Tong
- Sun Ce
- Huang Gai
- Da Qiao
- Xiao Qiao
- Meng Huo
- Zhu Rong
- Fu Xi
- Nu Wa
The characters in Dynasty Warriors 3 are based around real and semi-fictional characters from Romance of the Three Kingdoms and that era, where some characters personalities and traits have been exaggerated and where some remain fairly true to the novel. Females of that era did not participate in any of the battles but there are a number of female playable characters in the game (Diao Chan, Xiao Qiao, Da Qiao, Zhen Ji, Sun Shang Xiang, Zhu Rong, Nu Wa). Zhu Rong and Nu Wa are exceptions as Zhu Rong was said to be the only female to have fought in that era and Nu Wa’s character is fictional and based on ancient myth. The main characters are far harder to define as the game takes place over a large time scale and offers the player the choice of their desired character. The characters that would come closest to being called main characters would be Cao Cao, Sun Jian, and Liu Bei, the initial warlords for the 3 main kingdoms. Sima Yi, Sun Quan, and Zhuge Liang could also fit this category, as they are often commanders of Wei, Wu, and Shu respectively, further on in the game.
The game was highly anticipated after its release being announced because of its numerous new features and improvements of the last in the series. After its release, it scored 78 out of 100 on Metacritics review system, and received an average ratio of 77% at Game Rankings.
In just under four months, over 1 million copies of Dynasty Warriors 3 had been sold in North America and Japan combined and made it the first of Koei’s games to pass one million sales on a single platform and making it a platinum title. Not only that but it topped the sales charts for five consecutive weeks and, according to Famitsu Weekly, it was ranked the 9th best selling game of 2001.
Dynasty Warriors 3 still retains a number of the bad features that were in the previous game such as fogging and low quality English voice actors. Although the English voices were poor (they have gained a cult-like status among fans of the series), the player has the choice to turn on Japanese voices and, even though it still isn’t Chinese, they were of a much higher quality. IGN strongly criticised the game over the sound, both music and the voice acting. Despite a number of negative points coming up throughout the review it scored 6.8/10 and the reviewer saw it had potential to become a very good game.
Chi Kong Lui at Gamecritics.com looked past the sound and graphical flaws and concentrated more on the gameplay and setting, giving a high score of 9/10. He gave high praise to how much the game was based on the original Romance of the Three Kingdoms story and even went as far as saying ”All the costuming of the 3D models is ethnically authentic and beautifully lavished” where as a number of reviews described the graphical quality as being plain and blurry (Such as the said IGN review). It is also notable that the IGN review was based on the PS2 version, which has more fog and slowdown (especially in multi-player) when compared to the Xbox version, and those were his two heaviest faults of the game.
Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends
Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends (真・三國無双2 猛将伝 (Shin Sangokumusou 2 Moushouden) in Japan)) is the first Xtreme Legends installment by publisher Koei and developer Omega Force. This expansion to Dynasty Warriors 3 was released on January 14, 2003 within the US.
Xtreme Legends added several new features to Dynasty Warriors 3, including new items and the ability to fully customize bodyguards. Xtreme Legends also included a Musou Mode for the playable characters who did not belong to either Wu, Wei, or Shu (Diao Chan, Lu Bu, Zhang Jiao, Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao, Zhu Rong and Meng Huo). Xtreme Legends also allowed players to obtain a fifth-level weapon for each character and added two new difficulty levels: Beginner and Expert.
DW3:XL can only add to the original the player loads it into the PS2, then eject it and load the original game's disc when prompted using the "Load Original" option. If played by itself, DW3:XL only features its own scenarios and Musou modes. It can, however, copy data from a previously saved DW3 file on the memory card, but only if there's already a DW3 data before creating DW3:XL save data.
- ↑ EA Signs North American Distribution Agreement with Koei Corporation for Upcoming Tactical Action Game Samurai Warriors. Electronic Arts (2004-02-24). Retrieved on 2007-12-03.[dead link]
- ↑ Japanese Titles for Dynasty Warriors 3. GameFAQS. Retrieved on 2007-03-20.
- ↑ "Romance of the Three Kingdoms Franchise". Joystiq. http://www.joystiq.com/2007/01/17/romance-of-the-three-kingdoms-gold-for-the-eleventh-time/. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Dynasty Warriors 3 sell 1 million. Koei (English). Archived from the original on April 21, 2003 Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
- ↑ Dynasty Warriors 3 Fourth Weapons. Kongming's Archives. Retrieved on 2007-03-23.
- ↑ Fire Arrows and Saddles. Kongming's Archives. Retrieved on 2007-03-20.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 IGN Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-03-18.
- ↑ When player 1 and player 2 are within a fixed distance from one another, and both perform Musou Attack, it becomes a Double Musou Attack (Dynasty Warriors 3 Game Manual, Musou Attacks)
- ↑ Dynasty Warriors 3 setting. ABC. Retrieved on 2007-03-23.
- ↑ Luo Guanzhong, Translated by Moss Roberts (1995). Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Foreign Languages Press. pp. 34–35.
- ↑ Zhang Jiao – Founder of the religious sect known as the Way of Peace. Declaring himself the “General of Heaven,” he led the Yellow Turban Rebellion. (Dynasty Warriors 3 Game Manual, Characters, Other Heroes)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Dynasty Warriors 3 Stage List. YueYing.net. Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
- ↑ Gamespot UK Preview. Gamespot. Retrieved on 2007-03-18.
- ↑ Dynasty Warriors 3 Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
- ↑ Game Rankings Score. Game Rankings. Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
- ↑ Chi Kong Lui's Review. Gamecritics. Retrieved on 2007-03-23.
- ↑ Japanese Titles for Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends. GameFAQS. Retrieved on 2007-03-20.
- ↑ Xtreme Legends - IGN. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-03-20.
- ↑ Xtreme Legends new features. Kongming's Archives. Retrieved on 2007-03-20.