silvertongue is another big Musou fan I have known for a long time – I was thinking about it today and I can’t 100% remember where we first met. I think it was in Birmingham at Memorabilia Dec ’08. (Koei UK had a stand there promoting Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce PSP). Is that right slivertongue?
Anyway, wherever we first met we have been friends online ever since. He has been a key member of the Tecmo Koei Europe forums – propping up the discussions on Warriors games and Nippon Ichi’s RPGs during the quieter times and always on the pulse when it comes to new game announcements.
silvertongue has always been somewhat obessive on the videogame artbook front – either pre-ordering games to get the bonuses or attending Tecmo Koei events to buy the latest books. I got him to take us a picture of his collection because it’s awesome:
If you want to follow silvertongue on twitter, you can find him here @DirtyHandsX (I don’t even want to ask the origins of that nick).
Anyway, enough with the intro and on with the interview (I think you can tell which is his favourite Musou right from the beginning ;))…
So silvertongue, when did you play your first Musou game?
My first Dynasty Warriors game was back in 1998 on the Playstation 1 (Ed: he’s talking about the 1v1 fighting game that predated the ‘true’ Musou games check it out here).
If you mean my first ‘true’ Musou game then it would be Dynasty Warriors 2 on launch day of the Playstation 2 in 2000 UK (I think it was then). A long time has past!
You bought you PS2 on launch day? Did you have to queue up outside of the store?
No, I worked at GAME at the time so I was there for the launch but lots and lots of other people did.
Oh, that’s cool – I was working in EB (Oxford Street branch) for the PS2 launch. It was a cool night…
…Going back to Dynasty Warriors 2, can you remember any of your first impressions of the game?
I remember being amazed at all the enemies on screen at the same time. It was extremely addictive and kept you coming back for more.
I also remember finding it quite difficult. Especially saving mid-stage – you had to find a crate/box which had a memory-card in it to save…and these were very few and far between.
People often tell me they liked the difficulty/challenge of the early DW games. Do you feel like the challenge of the series has faded over time?
Yes to a point. Sometimes it’s great to pick a game up and play it without getting frustrated with it being too challenging. However you can make a game too easy which takes away that feeling of accomplishment.
If people do find a Musou game too easy then they can always increase the difficulty setting to Chaos!
I do feel that Koei should invest some time into increasing the enemy A.I. – that in itself would increase the challenge.
So at what point would you say you became a Musou fan?
Well, I’ve always been a fan since DW2. However I would have to say when DW5 came along….that was when I became a total Musou fan! It blew me away with the amount of characters and their different stories.
Once DW got you into the The Three Kingdoms history did you research outside of the games to find out more about the characters or kingdoms?
The research came when Dynasty Warriors 5 arrived as it had a story for every character in the game. I became intrigued by all the different characters and their background stories.
So playing DW5 with its massive amount of characters and stories was like research in itself?
Of course. You have all the separate stories of each character to complete. Then there is also the in-game encyclopedia which in itself is like a Three Kingdoms history lesson.
Is DW5 the most content-rich Warriors game out there?
On the PS2 definitely…
…On PS3 I would say Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 which is absolutely huge in content.
We touched on the level of challenge earlier but I’d like to know more about how your impressions of Musou have changed since DW2?
Now the games look better, they play better. Saving is much easier now!
So much more content too. Take DW: Gundam 2 – that game is huge. The content is massive. I’ve been playing it for 55 hours now and still I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.
What would you say are the key aspects to making a good Musou game?
The fun factor has certainly got to be there. Then the story…expanding the story by introducing new characters.
I’ve always been a sucker for extra costumes too. It would be great to have all the costumes included from past games to unlock or as DLC.
We’ve seen different approaches to DLC in Musou games – for example: DWSF which had alot of free DLC but it was limited to remixed stages and re-coloured bosses. Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage used paid DLC but offered some cool stuff like new costumes, characters and scenarios. Which way do you think is better?
That’s quite a difficult question actually. On one hand everybody loves free stuff no matter what….
If Koei was to go down the route of charging for it’s DLC I do think the price should reflect what it is we’re actually buying.
If we had to buy DLC for DWSF then I would expect it to cost no more than £3 – £4 for about four to five of those missions. After all they are mainly just colour swaps.
As for FNS:KR DLC, yes we’re paying for extra characters, missions and costumes and I think the prices should reflect that.
However I would always say free DLC is the way to go – it’s kinder to all our pockets.
Would you be happy to pay for more content on top of the £50 you are paying for each game? Musou games come out quite often so I wonder if people would want to invest in DLC for each one?
It depends what content it is and what I’m getting for the price! I’m a sucker for costumes. So, yes – but it all depends on pricing.
When do you usually play Musou games?
Anytime I can. It doesn’t really matter what time of the day it is…I work from home so if I’ve finished what I need to do I’ll quite happily sit for a few hours playing a Musou game!
Do you just play when a new game comes out? Or do you play the old ones as well?
I play whichever I feel like at the time. I went back to play DW5 and noticed I’d lost all my save data…..’really wasn‘t very happy about that…so I decided to play through the whole game again and finish it.
So, yes, I play the old ones too.
Do you like the feeling of unlocking and levelling characters then? Is it still as satisfying second time around?
Yes very much so. I suppose it comes from playing RPG’s as there is always a lot of levelling involved in those games. I’ve just started to play Warriors Orochi 2 again and I’m trying to level all the characters to level 99. It remains to be seen if I actually manage it.
So we know you played through it twice – what is about Dynasty Warriors 5 that makes it so good?
The amount of characters and stories that are involved in the game and plus it’s extremely addictive!
You could say that about alot of Musou games, what is it about DW5 that is better than other Musou games to you?
Honestly I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s because it was the first Warriors game that I completed fully (twice), maybe it’s because of all the different characters. I really don’t know.
I know that you like JRPG games as well as Musou. Do you see a alot of similarities between the two types of games?
When it comes to levelling characters and maxing out their stats then, yes…also the addictive gameplay. One of the differences is that JRPG’s tend to have quirky stories, especially Nippon Ichi games. You either love them or hate them.
Do you play each Musou game for a long time?
Very much so.
What keeps you addicted to the game and makes you keep playing ?
The gameplay is addictive, there’s a huge story being told. There’s always new tweaks to the gameplay and new characters to explore.
Have you ever played multiplayer mode in a Musou game?
Yes, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce PS3 – which I really enjoyed. Did I mention that DW: Strikeforce is my favourite PS3 Musou game?
No you didn’t, that’s interesting – why did you enjoy that one so much?
I think mainly because it had a kind of fantasy twist to it. The characters had alternate forms to them: Fury form!
It also had a lot more RPG elements to it. Farming materials to make weapons and orbs. Again, levelling characters so you could use stronger weapons. Also you could use all weapons on all characters.
The addition of trophies via PSN was great and made it more addictive.
Did the online co-op make a huge difference to the Musou experience?
Yes, very much so. It was great to play with other players whether it was to help you get trophies or just to complete the harder missions. I hope to see more online play in Musou games.
What about your feelings on the other next-gen Musou games such DW6, Gundam or FNS?
Firstly, I think DW6 gets too much of a hard time. It wasn’t what everyone wanted in terms of gameplay and had some cloned characters but I see it as something that was testing the water for Musou on next-gen consoles.
DW: Gundam 2 is way better than the first one. I knew nothing about the Gundam universe before it but I have to say I’m learning haha!! The content is massive in this game.
Fist of the North Star was a total surprise for me. Again I knew nothing of the series but again loved the game – It’s amazing what you can learn from playing a game.
I like stuff like Gundam and FNS because the game universe is completely different. They’re a nice fresh twist to the DW formula that we’ve all come to love. There’s a whole roster of new characters to become attached to, new stories to become addicted to and to see what happens next.
Do you have any ideas for future Musou games?
Expand on the old story-lines to create new ones. Introduce new characters. Expand on the move sets for each character. Create a brand new fantasy world, completely original and fictional. How about a traditional Three Kingdoms RPG?
Wow, ok, so just a few small upgrades required then! Have you ever bought any merchandise connected to Musou?
Yes, the odd Japanese book.
Have you made any friends through the Musou community online?
How about in real life?
No, none of my friends are into gaming!
If you could give a message to non-Musou fans about why they should try the game what would you say?
You’ll be surprised at how much a Warriors/Musou game has to offer! Don’t always listen to reviews. Can you really believe what someone has to say about a game until you’ve tried it for yourself!
If you could give a message to development team of Musou what you say?
Listen to your fan base.
And if they listened what would they hear? In this interview you have been very positive about your experience with Musou games – are their elements that need some improving?
I’d say the major improvement that needs to be made is enemy AI and no cloning.
Who would you say is your all-time favourite Musou game character?
Sun Jian all the way. He doesn’t come across as being power hungry and obsessed. Also I love his DW6 character design. It’s just unfortunate that his time in the Three Kingdoms period is quite short in comparison to other characters.
Which is your favourite Musou game and why?
If we’re talking PS2 then it’s DW5, always has been and always will be. All the stories and all the characters just make it for me.
If we’re talking PS3 then 100% Dynasty Warriors: Strikeforce. Online play is great. There’s so much do. Content wise the game is huge!
Thanks very much for the interview silvertongue – lots of insight there.
Remember, if anyone reading this wants to take part in a Musou to Me interview just drop me a message in the comment box – Leady247 ^^