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Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition for PS4 is a visual feast

in-game screen shot
in-game screen shotChristopher Santos

Dynasty Warrios 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (DW8CE) was released on the PS4 about a week ago. It is the exact same game as the one that came out last year for the PS3 and Xbox 360, with the addition of new playable characters, all the DLC and updated visuals.

None of the reviews I've read gave this version it's due credit in terms of graphics. While critics call it the best looking Dynasty Warriors game to date, they add that it isn't on par with the prettiest PS4 titles and that the graphics are only marginally better than its last gen counterpart.

Whether or not it looks as good as other PS4 games is debatable, but to say that its visuals are only a slight improvement over the last gen version would be a gross misrepresentation. A giant leap forward is a more accurate way to describe it.

The side by side comparisons you may have seen on YouTube fail to do it any justice (nor does the in-game screenshot in this article that I uploaded via the PS4's share functionality). DW8CE's graphics are definitely worthy of the next gen moniker.

While previous Dynasty Warriors looked more or less like HD versions of a PS2 game, there's no question that DW8CE belongs in this generation of consoles, even if only by launch title standards. It takes on a much more realistic look thanks to improved lighting and textures. Though it's not exactly going for photo-realism, it is much less cartoony than before.

Also, the significant increase in the number of onscreen enemies makes the battlefield feel more alive and real.

Part of the reason DW8CE looks so much better than its predecessors is that the visuals of earlier titles have always been substandard for its time. DW8CE benefits from the past entries' underwhelming graphics.

Games like Killzone 3 and Forza 4 squeezed every last ounce of horsepower it could out of the PS3 and the 360 and could even pass for an early next gen title. As a result, Killzone: Shadow Fall and Forza 5 didn't have the same wow factor as Dynasty Warriors' latest and greatest version.

A few days ago I played inFAMOUS 2 along with inFAMOUS: Second Son to compare the two. Although Second Son undoubtedly looks better, inFAMOUS 2 still looked mighty impressive. The biggest differences were in the visual style and art direction, and inFAMOUS 2 didn't look bad by any means.

In contrast, from the first moment I played DW8CE, the step up in graphics was quite stunning. The difference was night and day.

Dynasty Warriors has always been criticized for its repetitive gameplay and lack of any real innovation with each release. DW8 was the most ambitious of the series due to the added modes and gameplay tweaks. It cannot be stressed enough that DW8CE is the definitive version not only because of the extra content, but because of its visuals.

This is a franchise that has endured tons of criticism over the years and seems determined to stick with its guns no matter what. A graphical upgrade like this ought to sweeten the deal for newcomers.

It should be made known plain and clear that this game looks good, especially when you see it in motion. This is a showcase for your PS4 and your big screen.

Due to the short list of games currently available for the new consoles, graphics could be reason enough for gamers to give Dynasty Warriors a chance, perhaps for the very first time. They might even discover firsthand how a series that has largely been ignored by the mainstream managed to grow such a loyal following.

Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition is available in stores and could be downloaded over the Playstation Network.