Dynasty Warriors 2 (真・三國無双, Shin Sangoku Musou; lit. "True Three Kingdoms Unmatched") is the reimagined sequel to Dynasty Warriors. It was originally going to be another fighting game until the producer was told to do something different. Its development started the battlefield gameplay that is the series's staple to this day.
To represent its creative change, the Asian title adds the Shin, which is roughly translated as "True - Unmatched Three Kingdoms". The Dynasty Warriors name was kept in the West, leading to the number discrepancies between the Western releases and Asian titles.
Being one of the first games released for the PlayStation 2, it was named Gamepro's best game of the week.
- Characters can perform four normal attacks, gaining more attack combinations with the charge attack button (). Normal attacks () can only damage when an enemy isn't blocking but charge attacks have different properties depending on the buttons input. Though each character's actions vary, the general property for the charge attacks are as follows.
- : Dubbed as C1. A damaging broad range attack. Has guard-breaking properties.
- , : Dubbed as C2. Knocks target into the air for juggling opportunities.
- , , : Dubbed as C3. Dizzies/stuns the target(s) hit, but only on grounded hit.
- , , , : Dubbed as C4. Sends the enemy flying away. Good for crowd control as it often inflicts crashing/collision knockback.
- , , , : A finishing blow that often knocks away. Compared to the other charge attacks, it makes up in raw damage compared to utility, making it decent as a finisher attack.
- To have characters jump, press . This allows characters to hop onto small obstacles and drop into other areas of the map. The button can be tapped for a short hop or held down for a higher jump, with certain characters being able to jump higher than others.
- Pressing activates the Musou Attack (or the Musou Ranbu; lit. Unmatched Wild Dance), a damaging flurry of blows that gives the player invincibility against attacks. The length of the attack is determined by the Musou Charge bar and how long the player holds the button.
- Hold L1 to guard. Moving the analog or direction pads allows the character to shift/strafe, setting the camera to follow directly behind the character. Pressing whilst suffering from blockstun allows the character to counterattack and momentarily catch the assailant off guard, dubbed as a "Power Guard". However, moving while guarding will cause players to be left vulnerable to attacks, so one must stay still to successfully block (and can only block attacks from the front); Power Guarding also costs a small portion of the Musou Gauge to use.
- However, any attacker's attack stat that exceeds a defender's defense stat will result in the defender either being easily guard-broken without the use of a C1, or have high-raw-powered attacks become outright unblockable. The inverse can happen where a defender's defense stat is too high to enable any defensive bypass outside of hitting them from a blindspot or using a C1 to guard break.
- Bow attacks can be done by holding R1 and pressing an attack button. unleashes a normal arrow while fires a paralyzing bolt that stuns/dizzies. unleashes a continuous string of arrows that continues until the player's supply runs out or until the Musou bar is empty. When the player also holds L1, they can shift/strafe whilst aiming.
- Stat boosting can be done by picking up swords and shields dropped by defeated officers or gate captains. Commonly, they add +1 or +2 to the affected stat. However, if the officer is beaten with a combo ending with 8 hits, they'll drop an item double their normal worth. Officers who usually don't drop anything will also be forced to drop something with an 8-hit combo finish. An item can get as high as +10. Attributes are only kept once the player has successfully completed the stage and change after the battle.
- Enemy and allied officers can replenish their health or increase their attack/defense whenever they have their HP reach a certain point as they are knocked down.
- Morale plays a notable role in turning the battle in one's favor. If the enemy forces have high morale, then allied units surrounded by enemies will most likely struggle if the player does not reach them on time. If the player's forces have high morale however, then allied units will do very fine on their own. Morale is shifted from defeating major officers and/or in-game events pertaining to the stage played.
- All units also have their own morale, which decreases upon having too many of their units slain, or raises depending on the player's actions (such as slaying generals). This effects their performance independently of the overall army's morale. Needless to say, the player's own morale cannot be taken into account.
- Gate captains guard the exits to the field and also are responsible for the flow of troops. If allies struggle, it may be prudent to defeat the enemy gate captains near them. The flow of troops that come out may or may not be dependent of their leader's current morale.
- Bodyguards also escort the player and increase in numbers and stats as the character levels up.
- Horses can be ridden after the player knocks an enemy off one or when the players' characters gain higher ranks. Characters can mount a horse by standing next to it and pressing . Riding on a horse increases travel speed, usually lets players gain a higher priority moveset, and makes them invulnerable to most ground attacks. Characters can only bowl over foes when they're stronger than them. Additionally, any downed soldiers while on a horse will not add to the player's KO count.
- Interim saving is added in overseas versions and can only be done by finding the memory card items hidden in crates on the field.
- Each character accumulates points between stages. When a character accumulates enough points, their "class" advances to the next level, which upgrade the stats of that character and their bodyguards. Points can be earned in both Musou and Free mode, even when repeating past stages.
The story mode in which the player follows a determined string of battles. Background info for each stage is provided in the preparations menu before battle, which describes the chain of events leading to this point. Proceeding through this mode unlocks more characters for the player to use. The following characters can be unlocked in Musou Mode.
- Huang Zhong, Ma Chao, and Jiang Wei
- Finish one Shu scenario.
- Zhuge Liang
- Complete Shu's starting character scenarios.
- Liu Bei
- Clear Musou Mode with every Shu character.
- Xiahou Yuan and Zhang Liao
- Finish one Wei scenario.
- Sima Yi
- Complete Wei's starting character scenarios.
- Cao Cao
- Clear Musou Mode with every Wei character.
- Taishi Ci, Lu Meng, and Gan Ning
- Finish one Wu scenario.
- Sun Jian and Sun Quan
- Clear Musou Mode with every Wu character.
- Diao Chan, Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao, and Zhang Jiao
- Have one character from each kingdom clear Musou Mode; also unlocks Free Mode and music test.
- Lu Bu
- Score at least 1,000 KOs at Hu Lao Gate; can also be done in free mode.
The Other characters can only participate in Free Mode. Another way to unlock all of the cast is to input the following buttons while on the menu screen: , R1, , R2, , R2, , R1.
Allows any character to participate in several stages in the game. Characters can even join the side they were opposing in their Musou Mode. Initially, only the Yellow Turban Rebellion and Hu Lao Gate stages are available. Playing through Musou Modes unlocks more stages.
Sets difficulty, controller and sound settings (Stereo/Mono), and displays records set during stages. The screen can also be adjusted and the player can turn off certain objects in the gameplay interface.
Characters with bolded names are new in this title.
- Yellow Turban Rebellion 184 A.D - Imperial Forces vs Yellow Turbans
- Battle of Hu Lao Gate 191 A.D - Allied Forces vs Dong Zhuo’s Forces
- Battle of Guan Du 200 A.D - Cao Cao’s Forces vs Yuan Shao’s Forces
- Battle of Chang Ban 208 A.D - Liu Bei’s Forces vs Cao Cao’s Forces
- Battle of Chi Bi 208 A.D - Sun Quan’s Forces vs Cao Cao’s Forces
- Battle of He Fei 215 A.D - Sun Quan’s Forces vs Cao Cao’s Forces
- Battle of Yi Ling 222 A.D - Sun Quan’s Forces vs Liu Bei’s Forces
- Battle of Wu Zhang Plains 234 A.D - Liu Bei’s Forces vs Cao Cao’s Forces
- Koei 2002 Spring Pack Shin Sangoku Musou 2/Shin Sangoku Musou - repackaged as a part of Koei's 2002 Spring Sale set. Received a 2002 clear file with purchase.
- Can't Quit This!!! ～KNOCK'EM OUT～
- performed by m.o.v.e
- * used for ending and commercials
- Japanese official site
- Opening movie
- Stream of image song
- 20th Anniversary PlayStation history topic