I Bought an Xbox One X For Dynasty Warriors 9

A few months ago, I sold my Xbox One and PS4 to be a Switch and PC guy.

But I always knew that, right around this time, I’d be back for one of them.

The reason?

Dynasty Warriors 9!

Hey wait come back!

Here’s a shot from DW8. As you can see, the PS4 version has more polygons, better lighting, more texture detail, and a more natural look overall. For some reason, the PS3 version was the basis for the PC conversion.

What’s the DEAL with Omega Force’s PC ports?

The Omega Force team inside Koei has long been one of my favorite developers. They’ve been keeping the arcade brawler genre alive in a way that no one else dared to…by making a million Dynasty Warriors games and various licensed spin-offs.

Many years ago, their games started coming to PC. And along with this came some serious and random jank.

And that trend continues to this day.

Want proper controller support? Good luck! Sometimes they’ll fully support modern Xinput commands, other times they only support DirectInput, which most modern pads don’t use.

And even then, some of their games don’t have proper analog stick support, meaning it feels like you’re playing a game with keyboard keys mapped to a stick. And you can forget about button icons for that controller you’ve got plugged in.

How do weird gray boxes with meaningless shapes in them sound?

But then sometimes, they release Dragon Quest Heroes on PC. That game, which runs on the same engine as all the others, has full proper controller support. And even more amazing…full proper mouse and keyboard support, with a custom interface.

Most of their other games don’t even let you use the mouse.

How did this happen? Did Square Enix pay extra for a good PC port? Could these things really cost that much extra in the first place?

Sometimes Omega Force’s PC versions use the same assets from the PS4 and Xbox One builds. Other times…they use lesser, PS3- era graphics. Again, with seemingly no rhyme nor reason.

Buying an Omega Force game on a PC is a complete crapshoot every time.

You might be getting a perfect port…or you might be getting Samurai Warriors 4-II, which has essentially zero proper controller support and graphics that are halfway between the PS3 and PS4 versions, with characters from PS4 and stages from PS3.

Wh…what? Wouldn’t that be harder than just basing it on one version or the other?

I’ve been excited about DW 9 for a very long time.

What about consoles?

Now, I’m not saying that Omega Force’s development work has been perfect on consoles. Certainly, I expect a bit of goofiness from games with such modest budgets and short development cycles.

But it seems like a fixed platform really helps them out.

The PS4 and Xbox versions of the Warriors titles often achieve relative graphical and performance parity…though some of them don’t come to the Xbox One, probably due to that platform’s relatively low sales in Japan. It’s usually a safe bet that Warriors games will run just fine on either console platform.

And their display of relative prowess isn’t limited to the beefier systems.

Their first Switch title, Fire Emblem Warriors, is better optimized than any of their PC ports. The graphics retain several of the advanced texturing and particle effects present in their PS4 games, and you can even select between a 1080p30 mode and a 720p60 mode when docked.

Now, I’m sure that Nintendo helped out some with this, as did other teams within Koei. Fire Emblem Warriors was a high- profile Switch title, after all. But it also shows that there’s a good pool of development talent inside the company, and that we should expect more out of their PC conversions.

Fire Emblem Warriors looks good and runs well on the Switch, so I know they’ve got it in them to optimize on PC too. Maybe it’s not worth it? Maybe DW9 will come to Switch some day?

Living the Dream

Dynasty Warriors 9 appears on Microsoft’s big list of games that are “Xbox One X Enhanced.” I’m pretty sure that Omega Force has developed the game with the biggest eye on PS4 Pro and will then just shunt that work over to Microsoft’s platform as well.

I’m also pretty sure that Omega Force has wanted to make this game for about 10 years. Dynasty Warriors 9 is their most advanced title to date, retaining the large playable cast from the previous game and incorporating a large, seamless, dynamic open world environment. Their custom engine was first upgraded to support giant maps at the beginning of the 360/PS3 era.

This ambition/desire to do a big open world game has been creeping into their other games for years, with little hints here and there.

Bladestorm and Dragon Quest Heroes II both notably feature gigantic, open-world-esque maps, as does Toukiden II.

This game has been brewing in the minds of the talented folks at Omega Force for a long time, and I don’t want to play a buggy version with randomly cut down graphics and incomplete controller support.

Maybe the Steam version will be fine, but I’m not going to take that risk on one of my favorite franchises. I know full well how ridiculous that sounds, but I’m still pretty stoked.

Video games are at their best when the experience feels properly tailored to the platform you’re on, regardless of what hardware you’re using. Omega Force is not the only one guilty of making strange PC port decisions, even in this modern era of consoles so closely mimicking common PC specs.

I just wish they were more consistent.

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I write independent game reviews and commentary. Please support me directly if you enjoy my work: https://xander51.medium.com/membership

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Alex Rowe

Alex Rowe

I write independent game reviews and commentary. Please support me directly if you enjoy my work: https://xander51.medium.com/membership

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