Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate

Anyone familiar with the numerous Warriors games could tell you the basic formula: hordes of enemies stand between you and victory on a giant battlefield, and the more you slay the higher your grade.

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate is no different. You'll find yourself tasked with taking on thousands of enemies, from lowly grunts to superior officers, in your quest to capture bases and eliminate the Demon Army threat.

In this particular case, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate isn't a whole lot different from the original Warriors Orochi 3, save a handful of minor additions and the ability to take it anywhere you want. It's still up in the air whether this is a blessing or a curse, but it is a lesson in repetition.

Please, think of the Square button!

Those who aren't adept with Warriors games will learn very quickly that the Square button is your best friend and worst enemy. As the main attack button, it's the place your thumb will be the most.

Sure there are other attacks mapped to Triangle and Circle, and you jump with X, but one could feasibly fight an entire battle simply pressing Square and moving around. With a 60-minute time limit in most stages, that can add up to a lot of button-mashing.

It's easy to fall into a pattern of finding a group of enemies, slashing away like a sous chef, then moving to the next group. Once in a while you may have to meet up with a character on the battlefield, but even that requires fighting through hordes to get there.

Monotony, a plague that has haunted the series for some time, is once again the most difficult enemy here. Battling through wave after wave of generic enemies is fun in spurts, but marathon sessions are going to get old quickly.

Go team go!

The ability to switch between heroes on the fly is pretty cool, letting you try three different types of warriors in one battle. A quick flick of the TouchPad will magically make one character appear where the original one had stood.

This mechanic can expand into team-based attacks, including summoning your partners to fight at your side any time you wish, which can lead to a super duper triple attack.

Switching between characters and managing how long you let them fight with you becomes a crucial part of the game's strategy, as one character dying leads straight to a Game Over screen, which is a bit unfair.

One would think that multiple characters would lead to some being interesting and fun, right? Nope, most of these characters are dull as door nails, saying the same basic lines about fighting demons and staying alive over and over again. When a character's fighting style is more interesting than the character itself, there's a big issue.

Even guest characters from games like Dead or Alive and Soul Calibur can't add personality to the monotony, which makes the game suffer more when piled on top of the repetitive gameplay.

Visions of war

Perhaps all of the monotony is supplanted by some gorgeous battlefields, huh? Something redeeming has to come from the overall package, right?

Yes, the arenas where these massive battles take place are brimming with color and personality, particularly those on the Demon Army's turf with the lava and dark skies and ominous tone.

However, even the aesthetics commit some unforgivable transgressions, most important of which falls to on-screen characters. It's important to know where these enemies are standing but every once in a while the game betrays you.

Enemies will appear off in the distance, but as a group approaches some will just disappear from the screen. Poof. The game stills registers these foes as live, however, so unless you're slashing in the right direction you may find yourself under attack from Demon Army Claude Rains.

There aren't many unbreakable rules in video games, but "keeping enemies on-screen if they're in sight" is iron-clad. It's hard enough managing the insanity without having to worry about ethereal enemies too.

Ultimately, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate doesn't quite live up to the moniker on the Vita, as monotonous controls and irredeemable visual miscues put a damper on the experience.

Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate

Seasoned Warriors veterans will love being able to take the hacking and slashing with them on the go, but those new to the series most likely won't find much fun to be had