The grand majority of Warriors Orochi Z is embarrassing. The sequel to KOEI's franchise mash-up from last year, this third-person hack-and-slash takes just about everything from the first game and throws it onto another disc, with only a few minor changes to speak of. While I was somewhat pleased with certain elements of the original Warriors Orochi, Warriors Orochi Z has shown me -- more than any other game in the Warriors franchise -- just how stagnant the experience is as a whole, especially when virtually no steps are taken to innovate the gameplay or presentation of the package.The story of Warriors Orochi Z runs almost completely parallel with the story of the original. Demonic forces are threatening the land and the heroes from the Three Kingdoms era of China and the Warring States period of Japan must join together to stop them. The only difference is that Orochi isn't around for the majority of the plot because he was "defeated" during the climax of the last game, even though you knew that wasn't going to stick.Warriors Orochi Z plays almost exactly like any other Warriors game from KOEI, except a Tag Team system is in place that lets you bring three characters into battle at once and switch between them at any time. Again, this might sound familiar to gamers who played the original game. You can build your team and head into one of several storylines, though they'll all follow the same general series of events, except for the Orochi section which "sheds light" on the plot of the first game.
Actual combat offers nothing new. Your team will move from objective to objective, usually defeating enemy officers and capturing bases along the way. Each character has a set of normal attacks and charge attacks, along with the expected Musou technique and a few other numbers as well. When I first began analyzing Warriors titles, I found them to be mildly entertaining, and the straight-forward appeal was commendable, but after grinding through the same (or similar) combat systems, title after title, you begin to see that there's really nothing engaging here other than being able to level up your characters (which I enjoy, being an RPG fan). There's just nothing rewarding about Warriors Orochi Z. It's empty and pointless.
The only thing I can say in the game's defense is that the character roster is fairly impressive, with even more warriors to choose from than the last Orochi title. And if for some reason you're incredibly attracted to the Warriors formula, you have a tremendous amount to do, being able to build up the strength of every single character independently. But I really see no reason to do so besides being stronger in an already vapid battlefield.
Warriors Orochi Z is embarrassing because it rehashes a lot of content from the first game. Multiple music tracks and several voice clips are identical to the first Orochi button-masher, and the structure/presentation of the entire experience is also exactly the same. Like other entries in the Warriors series, the voice acting is revolting and there's no option for listening to the Japanese track.
There are countless other elements I could point out here that demonstrate how poorly designed and executed Warriors Orochi Z is, but there's no need. This game is living off of ancient concepts that just aren't fun anymore and this particular title is essentially a complete rehash of its predecessor. I had a brief bit of fun with the original, but this is a sad attempt at a sequel. Not even the miserable additions of features like Dream Mode can save the otherwise hopeless experience. The new one-on-one Versus mode which attempts to force the Orochi combat system into the mold of a traditional fighter is laughable and seemingly broken, where plays can get caught in endless combos with no hope of recovery and there's no trace of actual strike interaction to be found.