That brings us up to Warriors Orochi 3 – and the Hydra. Once the land has settled into a relative time of peace and everyone is learning to coexist, the Hydra shows up and brutally destroys just about everyone we know and love in the series. Just a handful of officers and a small army survive. This is the opening level where we take control of three characters in a desperate war that makes it very apparent we’re going to die quickly. Just when you thought you paid $60 for a game with one level, the series’ new mechanic is introduced: TIIIIIIIIIIME TRAAAAAAAVEL!

Our three warriors are ripped to the point in the story to just before the last battle with the Hydra and are introduced to Kaguya, the woman who has the power to make all this happen. She tells them to venture back to different points in time, saving their comrades and bringing them back to this time to fight the Hydra together. It’s a fairly cheesy gimmick that is surprisingly refreshing in the Warriors series.

There are several new characters exclusive to the Orochi games to make their debut here as well as some familiar faces from other games, most notably Ryu Hayabusa from Ninja Gaiden. These new characters bring the roster up to a whopping 132 playable death machines, each with a fairly varied move set and specific quirks. We’re lucky we get to use teams of three in this series because picking just one person would be terrible.

As all the others, this Warriors game isn’t without its faults. Between armies full of clones and pretty bad draw distance, Warriors Orochi 3 really is a grind to the top. While it has been like this in every installment of the Warriors series, I find myself beginning to get tired of it, mostly because I feel like there is a lack of variety in all the things I’m killing. More than ever, those armies with nothing but thousands of people who look the same are starting to wear against me and make me go about things with a bitter mood.

But, when I stop to smell the roses, Warriors Orochi 3 truly is a wonderful game. We have so much more than we used to between small tweaks to the gameplay mechanics down to the new and interesting characters. Even something I once thought insignificant – how many enemies are on screen – has the ability to make me smile with murderous glee since it is now so easy to get several thousand kills in one level when I struggled with all my might in previous games to just hit that one thousand mark. It’s the small things that count sometimes and Warriors Orochi 3 is chock full of the small things that really add up and elevate it so much higher than almost any other Warriors game out there.

The absolute largest gripe I find with a lot of players that must be mentioned is the voice over work. There simply are no English voice overs in the game. See, we’re lucky this game made its way out of Japan at all. We weren’t supposed to get it. Ever. Luckily for us, we did – at the cost of English voice over. I know for a fact some people were completely fine with this since the English voices really do suck sometimes. I’m only a tad disappointed simply because there is a lot that happens in-game. There is a lot on the screen and sometimes, I can’t be bothered to look down at the speech bubbles popping up to understand what is being said. So I miss stuff from time to time, which kind of blows, but it’s something I take in stride since I’m grateful to be able to play the game at all.

Warriors Orochi 3 really delivers a powerhouse of a game that is set apart from the rest of the series. Hardcore fans and newcomers alike can find something here, whether it be the new battle tweaks, the tons of characters, the quirky story, or even the odd [and yet so fitting] soundtrack that every Warriors game boasts.