There has been a consistent theme throughout the Dynasty Warriors series: the unification of China under one banner. As the years passed, we’ve watched as the story has grown beyond the three major players and embraced the Jin Dynasty latterly, but never before has Koei Tecmo unified the land as they have with Dynasty Warriors 9. 

In a first for the series, we are finally free to explore one of the most storied, and romanticised, periods in Asian culture in its entirety. That is to say that we're going open world, baby! It’s a daunting prospect, but with these tips the wind will briskly flow through your Fu Manchu as you straddle your very own Red Hare across China. 

Based Tip #1

Listen yeah, it was really hard not to quote one very specific meme in reference to this one, but if all the bases were to end up in your control…well, y’know. Bases are incredibly important in Dynasty Warriors 9, acting as fast travel locations and harbouring soldiers with requests to send you on side missions. But the implications of capturing bases expand far beyond the simple nature of the aforementioned quests and fast travel points. In Dynasty Warriors 9 morale has much more meaning, in that it reduces the overall level of the main missions. With your allies knocking at the door, most leaders will get a little spooked – to say the least. So, capturing as many locations as possible along the way will hasten your army’s progression towards the main objective and provide vital support in your time of need. 

The Height of Exploration

It’s actually written in the stars that every open world game needs some form of tower. There’s no escaping the benefits of a bird’s eye view. So, it’s with a heavy heart that I need to emphasise the importance of towers in Dynasty Warriors 9, like a manager rolling out a health and safety seminar. That being said, Dynasty Warriors doesn’t care for the rules too much when it comes to the actual climbing of towers. As you’ll soon find out, Cao Cao and his cronies care not for convention when climbing ladders – in fact they’ll forgo a perfectly good ladder entirely to make sure they get to show off their new grappling hook. When you do reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a whole heap of additional information, like resource and treasure locations in the surrounding area. 

Steedy as She Goes

I once let go of the reigns of a horse I was atop. It was exhilarating, frightening, and very much an accident. As life and cars alike passed me by, it was evident that we were going somewhere. Fast. And I guess that’s the point of horses isn’t it? They can get you where you want to go, or where they want to go. Dynasty Warriors 9 grabs this ideology by the metaphorical horns and runs with it. Previous iterations of the series didn’t quite accommodate horses due to the blistering pace of levelled up warriors and the relatively small maps, but you’re gonna do a lot of travelling in Dynasty Warriors 9. By plotting a location on the map and setting your trusty four legged friend to cruise control, you’ll find that travelling is less of a chore and more of an adventure – especially when your horse sways towards the scenic route. As an added bonus, you’ll also collect materials should your equestrian pal trample through them. You can even couple this with a much needed toilet break during long campaigns, I never imagined I’d be able to go from Changban to Hulao Gate while pooping, but I did.  

Sort out your Green/Red/Blue Card

As anyone travelling to China will tell you, you probably need some clearance to get in and about the country. In Dynasty Warriors clearance comes in the shape of your faction visiting the location, or even controlling it in some way. Thankfully, this cuts out a fair bit of your legwork; in fact if you’ve a well-equipped army they will pretty much explore the majority of the map for you. When you’re fighting the opposition on all fronts, you’ll be thankful for how easy it is to jump from location to location through the pause menu. It should be pointed out that Uncle Ben (not the rice pushing one) does have a point to make when it comes to the use of newly found power and if you ignore this new found responsibility, you will end up short on materials and gold in the later stages of the game. Plus you’ll never really be able to experience the joy of finding a hidden treasure chest if you jump from base to base at every opportunity. 

Holiday in the Sun (Province)

We all need our secret getaways, a place to be ourselves and let it all hang out. Don’t we? Well, I know just the place. In fact I know quite a few. Dynasty Warriors 9 populates the open world with secluded little homes called Hideaways, that fall just outside of the big smokes in the game. From these you can write letters to other key figures throughout the land and even unleash your inner Laurence Llewelyn Bowen should you pick up some extra furniture throughout your journey. Unlike the bases, you can fast travel to these areas at any point, regardless of it being occupied territory. But most importantly you can buy a wee box for your pals to stop by and drop off a few presents for their favourite benevolent leader. Disclaimer: Not all hideouts are in the Sun Province and the Dynasty is not responsible for any emotional distress caused by redecorating.

Whether you side with Wei, Wu, Shu, or Jin, there’s a world to explore. It’s intimidating, it’s frightening, and it’s filled with loads of promise. Stop by your local stable, pick a new horse and get ready to explore the biggest Dynasty Warriors world to date. Unlike Lu Bu, you’re free to pursue the open road as much as you like. 

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