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Dynasty Warriors 4 (2003)

Shin sangoku musô 3 (original title)
This entry in the Dynasty Warriors series includes more characters, a more robust story mode, and an encyclopedia of all the characters, major and minor, in this game based upon The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.




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Credited cast:
Hisao Egawa ...
Cao Ren (voice)
Moriya Endo ...
Liu Bei (voice)
Kôji Haramaki ...
Ma Chao (voice)
Yukitoshi Hori ...
Lu Meng / Dong Zhuo (voice)
Tetsu Inada ...
Huang Gai / Lu Bu (voice)
Hideo Ishikawa ...
Zhou Tai (voice)
Hirohiko Kakegawa ...
Zhang Fei / Taishi Ci (voice)
Rumi Kasahara ...
Yueying (voice)
Takahiro Kawachi ...
Pang Tong / Sun Ce (voice)
Yasuhiko Kawazu ...
Yukimasa Kishino ...
Cao Cao (voice)
Rika Komatsu ...
Diaochan (voice)
Yoshiyuki Kôno ...
Zhang He / Meng Huo (voice)
Yasunori Masutani ...
Guan Yu / Wei Yan (voice)
Hiroaki Miura ...
Gan Ning (voice)


This entry in the Dynasty Warriors series includes more characters, a more robust story mode, and an encyclopedia of all the characters, major and minor, in this game based upon The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

25 March 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dynasty Warriors 4  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Xbox version)| (Playstation 2 version)


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Did You Know?


Unlike previous games in the series, the North American version left out the Japanese language track. According to Koei, this was because the game data took up so much space on the disc that there was only enough space for the English language track. See more »


[says it each time Dong Zhuo defeats an enemy officer]
Dong Zhuo: Another insect, crushed!
See more »


Followed by Dynasty Warriors 6 (2007) See more »


Cross Colors
Lyrics and Vocal by Yuki Koyanagi
Music by Kazuhiro Hara
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User Reviews

A repetitive but very solid, replayable action game
23 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is a very fun, hack-n-slash action game. It's one of my favorite PS2 games. For those who haven't played the previous Dynasty Warriors games, the gameplay is similar to classic beat-em-up games like Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and River City Ransom, except it takes place in a 3D environment. It's similar in style to PS2 games like Chaos Legion and Drakengard.

The interesting thing that sets the game apart is that it's a battle simulation and shares some elements of a strategic war game. The difference is that the war tactics and units are controlled by the computer. Unlike Drakengard and Chaos Legion where you alone must defeat hundreds of enemies, you fight alongside allied units and officers in this one. There are a massive number of computer-controlled soldiers engaged in battle (usually over a thousand total), each lead by officers.

The game puts you in charge of a single, heroic officer with a small force of computer-controlled bodyguards (up to 8 maximum). Your officer is capable of single-handedly taking out hundreds of soldiers and turning the tides of battle. The more soldiers you kill, the better it improves the morale and performance of your allied units.

One of the greatest weaknesses of the game is its repetitiveness. You hack and slash through hundreds of enemies with the same style of gameplay throughout. The controls are simple: you have one main attack button, a way to block, a charge attack which takes a little longer to execute, and a musou attack which is a powerful magical attack that can be executed only when you musou meter is full (which is charged by getting hurt and dealing damage to enemies). You can also fire arrows with a targeting mode using the analog stick, but arrows are generally weak and do not play a significant role in the game.

The graphics in the game are nothing special. However, it's impressive to see dozens of allied soldiers and enemy character models (which are fairly detailed) on the screen at once. The end has a realtime anime ending sequence which is really fantastic as well (even better and more exciting, in my opinion, than the ending cutscenes).

The music in the game is, in my opinion, very nice. The game has a lot of traditional style Chinese music, but often it combines rock-n-roll instruments alongside of the ancient Chinese ones.

The game is linear, with multiple campaigns to choose from: each with different stories, cutscenes, endings, and characters. Every battle in the game is either won or lost (resulting in game over). It's not like Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms where the result of the battle has an effect on the overall war campaign. Each battle is just a stage to get through to progress in the story.

The linear aspect makes for a richer story. However, I personally think the game would have been even more fun if it was non-linear and was more like a computer-controlled ROTK where you make the differences in your lord's overall campaign with each battle. Another weakness is that all the campaigns basically use the same ending cutscene, only showing different characters in place. Also, the three main campaigns (Wei, Wu, and Shu) all recycle the same stages for the first couple of acts since the three forces are allied during the beginning.

What keeps the game fun, despite its repetitiveness, is the fact that your character can level up, as well as your weapons and your bodyguards. You and your bodyguards get experience points for taking out soldiers and officers (far more for officers). You gain weapon exp for pulling big combos and charged attacks on enemy officers and killing them. Finishing a level quickly by taking out the head commander as soon as possible will also earn you a big experience bonus for your character, often worth more points than taking out hundreds of soldiers in the same battle. Additionally, aside from choosing the built-in officers, the game features an edit mode that lets you customize the look and weapon of your own officer. The coolest thing about this feature is that your character does not have to choose a particular allegiance, he/she can be played with any campaign.

Occasionally, when you run into an officer on the battle field, he/she will challenge you to a one-on-one duel to the death. If you accept, you get the chance of getting much more weapon experience for defeating that officer, though it can be harder to survive and win when you don't have the aid of your allies and your bodyguards. If you decline, however, your allied forces will suffer in morale due to your cowardice.

You also have dozens of officers to choose from. The more you play each campaign, the more new officers get unlocked for you to choose. They all have different styles of fighting which can make each campaign amusing enough to replay with a totally different character.

One of the reviews mentions the issues with mobility in the game. I agree that it's a problem. It would have been great if the game featured a sprint mode which would speed you up on the ground and while mounted (the game allows you to mount horses and elephants in battle). Mobility in the battlefield can be a problem when your allied units need help from across the map or when you have to prevent messengers from reaching their destination.

However, I am assuming this reviewer thought along the same lines that I did when he/she played the game. It seems like a good idea at first to choose characters with bigger weapons that hit harder. The first character I beat the game with was Xu Huang (not sure if I spelled it correctly), the Wei guy with white hood and the huge halberd. Choosing a guy with a big weapon seems wiser because they have a bigger swing and therefore should be better at taking out crowds and preventing themselves from being hit from the side or behind (since their swing knocks out enemies all around them). They do have this advantage, and it's far more pronounced at the beginning.

Unfortunately, something the game fails to mention is that these guys move much slower than characters with light weapons. Players like Xu Huang move about twice as slow as officers who wield rapiers and short swords. Only with the 2X speed bonus do they move at about the same speed as the small-weapon guys move at regular speeds.

Furthermore, light weapon characters really become just as good at crowd control later in the game, if not better. I was racking up hundreds of kills way faster without even trying with my custom rapier-wielding officer than I was with Xu Huang. Despite the fact that they do slightly less damage, they have bigger combos that deal more hits faster, and as the regular enemy soldiers become more powerful, you start taking out hordes of guys much faster with the smaller weapons because you can kill guys with a single combo without waiting for them to come back for a second knockdown, thereby racking up damage much faster. They are definitely superior for taking out officers, because aside from dealing more damage with each combo, it's much easier to evade powerful enemy officer attacks and also find openings to hit them (because of your significantly faster swing).

So, my first tip is to choose the small-arms characters if you want a more rewarding game experience. I have some other tips for getting the most out of the game. Avoid killing every soldier in sight. At first, I thought this was the best way to play the game. It allowed me to overcome the enemy and raise my allies' morale to maximum levels. I also thought it would rack up the most experience. It really doesn't give you much more (if any) experience, because even if you kill 500 soldiers, all you get is hundreds of experience points. You get thousands of points for taking out multiple officers, and by spending a lot of time on non-officers, you deprive yourself of the time bonus which itself is worth hundreds of points. It's just not worth it and makes the game twice as long and tedious if you play the game this way. Also, don't bother helping an allied officer on the opposite end of the map if they are struggling, unless that officer is a commander who cannot be defeated without a game over. It makes no difference in the battle field if an allied, non-commanding officer is defeated. It doesn't have any effect on the ending or even the next level of the game, and it won't give you much of an advantage in winning the current level.

In spite of the repetitiveness of the game, I think this is one of the most replayable PS2 games out there.

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