Dynasty Warriors 4 (真・三國無双3, Shin Sangoku Musou 3) is the fourth entry in the Dynasty Warriors series and the fifth title made.
- Jumping charge attacks are available, where the user performs a stationary/vertical falling dive attack that often emits an area-of-effect attack (such as a quake or a gust of wind) that launches a small bit on hit (the camera angle is also altered and turns towards the back of the character when performed).
- C1s () are now unique to each character and C3s (, , ) are now multi-hitting attack strings known as charge rushes that can be followed by several taps from the button; some of them can either stun or stagger enemies on hit.
- However, most other non-physical attacks (mainly from charge attacks as well as all jumping charge attacks) no longer fill up the musou gauge on hit, on top of the Musou Charge stats being nerfed overall.
- Several other shared attack graphics also have updated tweaks which make them more practical to use, along with tweaked hit effects.
- Power guards (press while blocking) are replaced by parries (press while blocking). Performing this action can allow a character to perform a parry animation, which will make them dodge an enemy's attack and immediately trigger a counter attack based on one of their normal moves or charge attacks. There is limited invincibility during the start of the animation which can allow characters to evade attacks (even ones that cannot trigger a counter), and the counter attack has its hitbox last throughout the whole attack's animation.
- As of this game, guarding in general now causes units to continuously face their current direction under blockstun as opposed to orienting towards their most recent attacker automatically; this makes guarding more effective vs. crowds, but easily exploitable in 1 v 1's.
- Units with higher attack stats are unable to guard-break lower defense units that are blocking via normal hit strings or C1 attacks, even with generic soldiers and/or generals making use of tweaked C1 animations from the prior installment.
- Likewise, attack stats vs. defense stats calculations for guarding now dictates if a higher-damage-enforced attack will simply become completely unblockable instead, but now with more items and/or elements adding to the damage calculations.
- Characters can announce themselves by pressing R3. It emits an aura akin to a shockwave that staggers nearby opponents with an unblockable stagger, functioning as a guard break and can also dismount rider units. The move deals minor damage and cannot KO.
- All officers are given a particular strategy to indicate their effectiveness against other units when controlled by the AI.
- When meeting an enemy officer, there may be a chance that they will be additionally challenged to duel during the officer's introduction sequence (thus, encounter intros from the last installment are now solely reserved for duel requests). In the upper right hand corner, there will be a small gray gauge that allots a certain amount of time for the player's response. Choosing to accept transports both generals into a private arena that is separated from the main events on the field. Duels become more likely against a particular general if their rivalry with the player intensifies further.
- If the player has an amount of rank points below a certain threshold, then fighting a duel to a draw (where neither one wins regardless of HP amount) will cause morale to increase on the player's forces. However, if one is at a high enough rank, a draw (along with refusing one) will instead cause morale to decrease.
- Enemy officers during some battles may have a chance to be powered up with Hyper Mode, a state where they have a fuzzy-aura of orange lightning surrounding them akin to having a full Musou gauge. The officer's stats are heavily powered up in this mode, regardless of morale drops or not.
- Mounts no longer require ranks to ride them and allows players to pick up items while they're on the saddle. It's now possible to dismount while the steed is running due to the general leaping off instead of merely climbing off (as well as perform jump attacks and jump charges during said dismounts) and they no longer run over allies.
- By proxy, whenever a player heads into a section or terrain impassable by mounts (e.g. stairs), an opposing mounted-general will actively dismount to chase the player on foot. Enemy AI generals, especially playable ones, now all have their personal choice in horse color.
- When entering bow mode with R1, the user can now fully turn in any direction 360 degrees as opposed to being limited to a certain funneled-range of turning relative to their initial direction. Further away targets will now also be automatically zoomed in on. The AI will also attempt to diagonally shift-move/strafe towards the bow-mode-player should they fire an arrow in order to close in and dodge their shot all at once.
- Weapons can now be leveled up though its own leveling system. As the player defeats enemy generals or connects charge attacks onto them, they will gradually gain more Weapon Points (read as "weapon EXP/experience"). Similar to the stat boosts dropped by officers, players will additionally gain more points for their weapons if they defeat enemies with longer combos and/or more charge attacks in succession. It lets their weapons evolve over time to gain better stats along with it being unique to the character wielding it, as well as dictating the ability to extend one's charge rush C3 with extra inputs. The more difficult the stage and the setting is, the more weapon points are gained per action done.
- Playable officers if present in a stage, will give double the weapon experience points upon defeat compared to an NPC officer.
- The maximum standard weapon level is 9, while Level 10 weapons can be unlocked via specific objectives fulfilled on certain stages on Hard Mode. Unlike the prior installment however, some Level 10 weapons can only be obtained on the Musou Mode versions of some stages.
- Orbs can now be equipped individually onto characters, and elements all now require a full Musou gauge to activate for most if not all charge attacks. All Level 10 weapons can automatically cause most charge attacks to activate elements, regardless of the Musou Gauge amount.
- The character stats reset mechanic from the options menu has been removed.
- All characters now have an equip-able item limit, being around 4-to-6 depending on the character. However, saddles and the aforementioned orbs are now to be equipped in their own separate slots. Rank/class now dictates item limit as opposed to the ability to ride on mounts.
- Items all have a leveling system akin to the aforementioned weapons, and their maximum level is 1-to-20 for all generic items while orbs are all from level 1-to-4. This makes it so items have a more visual indication of being maxed out, as opposed to specific set-numbers from the previous installment with each stat having their own set cap apart from one another. This also applies to the aforementioned orbs.
- Bodyguard orders can be changed in-battle without needing to pause through use of the Select/Back button.
- Sub-officers under main generals can now have their locations viewed by selecting the general they are under. Likewise, standard enemy officers are now move visible on the in-game minimap as blinking dots (no longer exclusive to only the enemy commander).
- The Reach stat is no longer a variable item stat like in the previous installment.
- One new battlefield item has been added.
- Siege weapons are introduced as units that have their own HP bars (but use the portraits of enemy peons) and can thus be destroyed. Specific events within battles can cause them to be deployed.
- Brand new off-hand cutscenes on the lower right of the screen can now occur without delaying in-game battle pacing, which mainly occurs when certain siege weapons are successfully deployed (allied or enemy), or when specific gates open.
- Dialogue messages are now rendered as text bubbles, but most importantly, battle messages as a whole are sped up considerably from the previous installment and a bit faster than the second installment, preventing delays in both battle time and allows certain events via specific battle messages to possibly occur on time.
- Archer towers can now be destroyed, though the higher the difficulty level is, the more hits the towers will take to be destroyed.
- As of this game, Gate Captains no longer drop defensive stat boosts. They only drop meat buns instead.
- K.O.s whenever they are knocked off screen, no longer need to hit the ground in order to drop items; they may instantly drop items right at where they faded away allowing for more instantaneous collection.
- Item crates and jars are now scaled up in size from the previous installment, making them much easier to hit.
- Whenever the player jumps from castle walls, the camera angle now shifts to below them-in-front as they leap off.
In this game, the Musou Modes are made for each kingdom and not for individual characters. Each version has its own various stages or "Acts". Also during each stage preparation, the player(s) can switch characters based on kingdom back at the character selection screen.
Same as most of the other titles. This time however, all stages are now marked with their own difficulty ranking, with 8 marks/stars being the highest difficulty ranking.
Same as most of the other titles. However, in this installment, two players can no longer select the same character.
- Showdown - duke it out 1 on 1 inside one of the Stone Sentinel Maze's sections at Yi Ling.
- Encounter - within the barely-lit darkness in Nan Yang Castle's scholar's room, find the opposition via a 1 on 1 and defeat them.
- Influence - find the Imperial Seal to call on and/or influence summoned generals in an allied 5 on 5 at Luo Yang's shopping district.
- Escort - in Ru Nan's central castle area, protect your own carriages from respective opposing peons while taking out each other, general and/or carriage alike.
Same as before, with one challenge from Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends also being kept. However, there is now an option to instantly retry current challenge runs from scratch from the pause menu, which will always change up the enemy generals selected for each variable playthrough:
- Endurance - In the main fortress of the Nanman Territory via the outer village, defeat as many enemies while you can last and/or before time runs out.
- Time Attack - Defeat all 100 enemies as fast as you can inside Xu Province/Xia Pi Castle.
- Bridge Melee - A top a huge lone walkway stationed in front of Bai Di Castle's camp at Yi Ling, knock off as many enemy troops as you can before getting knocked off yourself and/or being defeated.
- Demolition - Via a portion of Guan Du's map from Wu Chao through Yan Jin all the way to Guan Du Castle, rush through the stage to demolish all the objects you can, on-field item container and siege weapon alike.
- Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends
- Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires
- Dynasty Warriors 4: Hyper - PC conversion for Windows that uses higher resolution graphics. Includes the Japanese and English voice options. Number of enemies appearing on screen can be adjusted in the settings, and enemy A.I. is more enhanced than its PlayStation 2 counterpart, as it is based on the Xbox version (which has higher resolution and dynamic shadows by default in comparison).
- Dynasty Warriors Advance
- Dynasty Warriors (PSP)
- Samurai Warriors: State of War - as optional characters
Bugs and Glitches
Buggy grab attacks
All grabs will cause the victim to enter a "being lifted up" state, but if they happen to be left alone without the attacker following up on time (mainly due to a possible gimmick such as a bug or another unit interfering by pushing the attacker out of range) due to the state being solely stationary and not being fully captured onto the attacker's grasp, they will eventually drop down via knockdown with no damage. Some grabs can be bugged if they hit a midair/juggled opponent in that after the grab animation hits someone but does not change and knocks the target back while doing so, the attacker may go on with the throw attack animation anyway without anyone in their grasp (but only if they are hit by any other enemy units during their super armored-state).
Stage boundary exit
To do this, one must move themselves towards an entry point/gate via guard-moving sideways on a horse, then inching their way through to the gate with the horse being able to somehow nudge further than the sideways movement into the gate. Upon reaching the edge of the gate, then continuously running into the corner and forward into the said gate (with the "no entry" sign not showing), save your game with an intermission save then exit out of the stage. If done right, the mounted character will then appear on the other side of the entry point, and can also bypass certain mountains when out of bounds. However, this doesn't work on all entry points with some being easier than others. This works on all versions and ports of Dynasty Warriors 4, including both Xtreme Legends and Hyper.
Stage boundary leap-through
A similar glitch though it is done through the use of the new function of the character dismounting from their horse via a leap off. Upon positioning their horse's left-side correctly against a boundary (that's not a peon entry point) and then dismounting the horse via the leap-off, the character if correctly done will leap onto the boundary, thus either landing on the water or mountain depending on the stage and location this glitch is performed on; this may take quite a few tries however. This works on all versions and ports of Dynasty Warriors 4, including both Xtreme Legends and Hyper.
Flashing red moon at Chi Bi
When playing with two players at Chi Bi on either forces, have one player enter bow mode and aim at the red moon, while the other player performs a Musou Attack. The moon will oddly flash brightly for the few frames the Musou Attack is activated.
Opening palace gates at Xu Chang
Normally when Cao Cao's section of Xu Chang castle is reached, he will close off the gates making it impossible through normal means to enter into Xu Chang castle's palace. However, through the use of any kind of possible exploit, be it mods, hacks or the use of the boundary exit-glitches, it is possible to slip through into the most northeastern peon entry point to enter the palace, causing the southern gate (save for the western one as it is locked since the beginning of the stage) to open up despite Cao Cao closing it off.
K'md released eight figurines of the cast. Koei released two drama CDs, Fuuen Ranbu and Gunsei Shoubu, based on events from this title. A light novel based on the drama CD's events and characters was also published. A sample can be read online here.
The twelve volume fanbook serialization, Shin Sangoku Musou Tsushin, also used this particular Dynasty Warriors entry as its base. It included commentary from developers, an exclusive illustration made by Hiroyuki Suwahara, stage walkthroughs, "what if?" designs for considered playable generals, and a showcase of letters and fanart from fans. The magazine also featured two characters from the game in each issue, several editorial comics, dream match novelizations between two characters, and mentions of other Three Kingdoms merchandise in Japan.
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 1 - collection of four panel parody comics created and illustrated by fans. ISBN: 4-7758-0075-2
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 2 - ISBN: 4-7758-0076-0
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 3 - ISBN: 4-7758-0110-4
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 4 - ISBN: 4-7758-0135-X
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 5 - ISBN: 4-7758-0136-8
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 6 - ISBN: 4-7758-0193-7
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 7 - ISBN: 4-7758-0207-0
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 ~ Battle Illusion Vol. 8 - ISBN: 4-7758-0208-9
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 Anthology ~Ten no Maki~ - collection of four panel parody comics and/or lengthier stories created by fans. Includes themes from the Xtreme Legends expansion as well. ISBN: 4-7758-0137-6
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 Anthology ~Chi no Maki~ - ISBN: 4-7758-0138-4
- Comic Shin Sangoku Musou 3 Anthology ~Jin no Maki~ - ISBN: 4-7758-0139-2
- Performed by Yuki Koyanagi
- Characters outfits from this game later appear as alternate third costumes in Warriors Orochi 2.
- The default names for the bodyguard units refer to several Koei titles such as Gitaroo-Man, Kessen II, and Nobunaga's Ambition. Sanzo, Shiga, and Ieyasu are also referenced. A group using the first names of the English voice actors was also created.
- Guan Yu, Zhou Yu and Gan Ning reuse design aspects for their default costumes in this installment from older installments.
- In the opening cutscene for Shu's Musou Mode for Act 1, Liu Bei is erroneously rendered wielding Cao Cao's 7-to-9/3rd weapon as opposed to any of his own.
- The opening cutscene for Act 2 of Shu, Wei and Wu's Musou Modes for both Si Shui Gate and Hu Lao Gate not only renders Yuan Shu's NPC model with a mustache (unique to this cutscene), but also reuses enemy NPC models and weapon designs from Dynasty Warriors 3.
- A number of peon entry points are instead rendered as alcoves as opposed to empty pathways leading into an endless boundary, likely to account for players accidentally slipping out of bounds.
- Dynasty Warriors 4 informational site
- Official site, Hyper American site, Hyper European site
- Official Japanese site, Hyper site
- Official Taiwanese site, Hyper site
- Official Korean informational page, Hyper site
- Official Japanese PlayStation site
- Omega Force 20th Anniversary opening collection
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