Hack, slash, repeat. Again.

Didn’t I already review Warriors Orochi IV? Yes, yes, I did. But this is the Ultimate version, released a mere 16 months after the original, and for the exact same systems. I’m not entirely sure it’s worth a second look, but it is worth a fresh look. If you can see the slight difference in that, you may want to consider picking it up this time around.

In my Warriors Orochi IV review back in November of 2018, I rated the game 7 out of 10. You can check that out if you want the full scoop. I see no reason to dig into the details again, but my conclusion was:

Although I feel this is the best Mosou game currently available for the Switch, there’s not enough here to bring over any converts, especially those who played Fire Emblem Warriors or Hyrule Warriors specifically for the franchise tie-ins. And although I don’t prefer all of the changes from the previous Warriors Orochi game, they’ve made just enough to make things fresh for fans of the series and keep them entertained throughout the game’s robust campaign.

You all know what Mosou games are by now, right? They’re hack-and-slash affairs in which you try to accomplish various tasks while facing literally thousands of enemies. The enemies are mostly extremely easy to kill; they exist solely to help you power up for when you face the various officers scattered about the battlefield. Koei Tecmo generally splits this style of gameplay across two franchises: Dynasty Warriors (based on Chinese historical text) and Samurai Warriors (centered around the “warring states” period of Japanese history). Warriors Orochi brings them all together into one mash-up of cultures and costumes.

The great thing about this is that you get a dizzying array of characters to utilize and level-up throughout the bonkers story that attempts to drive you through the chaos—something about Greek gods and magical bracelets that’s kind of difficult and absolutely not necessary to follow. Although I say it’s great, the 170+ playable characters present a problem in that it’s practically impossible to keep track of everyone. Or even bother with them. There’s so much content here, and so many ways to arm and level everyone, that battle prep becomes a bore.

So, what did Koei Tecmo decide to do with the Ultimate edition? Add more characters. I mean, well, other things, too, but the point is that they took a game that was already too big and made it bigger—exacerbating it’s ongoing problems with clunky menus, boring hero management, and a story that’s really hard to care about.

That said, Warriors Orochi IV is still tremendous fun to play when it kicks into gear.

The new characters are Gaia, Hades, Yang Jian, Joan of Arc, Ryu Hayabusa, Achilles and Perseus. The game already had over 170 characters, so is this important? It sure was to my son, who listed Ryu and Achilles as his two favorites from Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper for the Wii U. Unlocking them became his mission and provided much more incentive than the game’s story.

Additional highlights of the new content include:

  • New scenarios that complement the game’s main story.
  • A new gameplay challenge called Infinity Mode. Playing through this provides players with materials that can be used to obtain new weapons in the game’s story mode.
  • Two new trials in Challenge Mode.
  • New weapon and costume DLC.
  • New sacred treasures and the ability for characters to use the sacred treasures of others.
  • Various combat and user interface enhancements.

So, it’s a nice DLC pack, and owners of the previous version can get it that way. Honestly, there’s more than enough here to convince those who didn’t finish the original to take another look. Provided you liked it, that is. If you didn’t enjoy it the first time around, none of this is going to change your mind.

On the other hand, how about those who didn’t buy the original at all? Should you take a look now that the Ultimate edition is the one sitting on store shelves? Yeah, I think so. Warriors Orochi IV Ultimate doesn’t do anything to correct my complaints about the game. The UI is cumbersome and the myriad combat prep options slam shut the gameplay momentum. The story is not nearly as tight as in the similar (but less ambitious) Fire Emblem Warriors and Hyrule Warriors. It’s hard to care about anything other than the game’s combat and perhaps a favorite character/costume or two.

If you can get past that, however, the massive amount of over-the-top action is now even more massive and enjoyable. If you do love all the ways you can max out a character’s abilities, you’ve got more ways to do it and more characters to do it with. The action is frantic and fun, with all kinds of excellent attack and magic animations to visually impress throughout.