Can the Ultimate expansion redeem a lackluster sequel?
One year after the initial launch of Warriors Orochi 4 on Switch, we have been graced with the Ultimate version of the original game. After the base game was initially met with some criticism, Koei Tecmo attempted to rectify many of those issues with the new DLC. But is it enough to remedy what many consider to be one of the weaker entries in the series? The answer is both yes and no.
Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is definitely catering to players who have played and completed the base game. The biggest selling point of the package is probably the expansion to the story mode. Three new chapters, each featuring several new scenarios, were added to the preexisting story, focusing predominantly on Odin after the events of the first game. The scenarios themselves were mostly more of the same Warriors-style gameplay seen in the base game, which is great, but I was left looking for some new ideas, too. Without going too much into spoiler territory, the expansion to the story seemed natural, but definitely felt as though it belonged in the base game. A number of the additions feel like they should have been added through a patch or free update, not paid DLC. A specific example of this would be the UI improvements, which were much appreciated (especially in the new, sleek character selection menu), but are generally addressed through patches and updates in other games. Fixing glaring issues, like menus and UI, should not warrant a separate purchase.
Ultimate also adds some new mechanics to the gameplay itself, though. Seven new characters have joined the battle, including Ryu Hayabusa from the Ninja Gaiden franchise. These additions were great to have, but with a roster of characters already over 170, I found no real reason to swap out my higher-level party members for these newcomers, especially considering you only unlock them in the DLC missions after you have completed the base game. The same can also be said about the new Musou Switch feature, which allows for some powerful new super combos, but I never found myself using it since it was cumbersome to initiate. The only other major gameplay tweak was in the form of the Sacred Treasures (the equivalent of magic attacks), which can now be swapped out and used by other characters.
That’s not to say that there weren’t any good additions, however. The new Promotion system allows for your maxed out characters to be reset to level one, with increased powers and access to new skill tree options. This was a really nice feature, as it was extremely satisfying to see my most powerful characters becoming even stronger. Another great addition is the Infinity Mode, which works similar to the Adventure Mode in Hyrule Warriors. You proceed through different towers, each with their own challenge stipulations (such as kill X number of enemies in X amount of time), to unlock new weapons and materials that can be used to upgrade your characters further. When compared to how repetitive the base game’s missions were, this was a refreshing surprise. This mode brought new life into the game and was easily the best part of the DLC.
Overall, Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate is a mixed bag. On one hand, new features, like Infinity Mode and the new story scenarios, were great. However, the other additions feel as though they should have been added to the base game through a patch and not as DLC. It is worth mentioning that Warriors Orochi 4’s Ultimate content is available through two different avenues. Players who had previously purchased the base game could upgrade to the Ultimate edition through DLC for a price. Newcomers, on the other hand, will now only be available to purchase the game as Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate. For those getting into the series, the Ultimate edition is easily the definitive way to experience the game. To those who already owned the base game however, your money is best spent elsewhere.