The Dynasty Warriors series has a long history spanning over twenty years and it’s used that time to develop quite the character roster. In celebration of that history, Dynasty Warriors 9 has included virtually every playable character in the series in its roster. That’s over ninety characters to choose from! For those who are new to the series or who don’t already have their short list of favorites, a roster of this size can be incredibly intimidating. After all, how on earth is one supposed to make a choice with so many options available to them? Fear not fellow newcomers! Dynasty Warriors 9 makes it easy to start out by limiting initial choices to only a handful of officers; it’s where to go after exhausting those initial choices that can be tricky. That’s where we come in. We’ve gone through the game and have selected ten characters players should make sure not to miss out on. All officers in Dynasty Warriors 9 are all about the same when it comes to their effectiveness in battle, so this list is based on flashiness, personality and just how much of a blast they are to use. So who is it that adds the most flash and pizzazz to this latest entry in the Dynasty Warriors series? Read on and find out!
10. Xu Zhu
If Xu Zhu had to be boiled down to one word, it would be “jovial.” Xu isn’t the only big guy on the Dynasty Warriors 9 roster, but he is probably the one that uses it to its fullest potential. He sumo stomps enemies out of his way and into the air, body slams them back down to earth with a satisfying crash and will even bowl them over with a devastating repeated somersault. What’s more, he does it all with a big, happy smile on his face. It’s really hard not to like this guy.
9. Xun You
It’s tempting to describe this guy as cold and calculating, but that wouldn’t even begin to do him justice. The man is just so…nonchalant! Where just about every other character seems to be putting their all into their fights, this guy barely breaks a sweat. He has the demeanor of a man who knows, not just thinks, knows with every fiber of his being that he’s better than his opponents. He just walks around the battlefield like he owns the place, and he does a great job of backing that attitude up. He’s the obvious pick for players who enjoy feeling like they have complete control over any situation they find themselves in.
8. Cai Wenji
Cai Wenji is known as a great performer and singer in the world of Dynasty Warriors, a reputation that is certainly earned if her fighting style is any indication. While she is most certainly a skilled combatant, fighting with Cai feels more like putting on a show than anything else. All her movements have a little extra flair and flourish to them that likely wouldn’t be there if she were just a fighter like many of the officers available in DW9. Battles go a bit more slowly when playing as Cai Wenji, but perhaps that’s just so the player can have more opportunities to really take in just how good these fights can look, and few can make them look better than she can.
7. Chen Gong
Chen Gong has a lot going for him. His moves carry an aura of goofiness to them even as they devastate his opponents. He’s able to quickly navigate the battlefield, and he’s a great choice for those who like to create distance between themselves and their enemies. To be completely honest though, Chen is here because of his Japanese version of his voice. It’s not funny per se, but there’s just something about it that can’t help but inspire a silly grin on one’s face. Seriously, give him a try and set the language setting to Japanese. It’s like having a whole character dedicated to riffing on Liu Kang’s bicycle kick! Intentional or not, smashing armies with Chen Gong is a enjoyably novel experience.
6. Guan Suo
Guan Suo is exactly the right officer for players who’d like to play around a bit in their fights. His movements lack the power of someone like Lu Bu or the efficient intent of a Cao Cao. Instead, Guan Suo faces his opponents with an almost playful air about him. His whole moveset has gotten an extra dose of cockiness injected into it, and he’s not afraid to wear it on his sleeve. He may be an honest and sincere man at heart, but his fighting style is that of someone who’s out to show-off and have a good time doing it.
For the exact opposite of Lu Bu (more on her later), players need look no further than Daqiao. She may not have the look of a fighter, but looks can be deceiving. Instead of plowing through enemies through sheer brute strength, she weaves her way through them with grace and rose petal flourishes. Beyond that, it’s just a lot of fun to get into a middle of a tightly-packed group of soldiers and send them flying with a quick whirlwind. One can’t help but imagine these soldiers being in a constant state of shock and surprise as they get thrown this way and that, and that thought never stops being entertaining!
4. Xin Xianying
Xin Xianying might be a newcomer to the Dynasty Warriors series, but chances are good that she’ll be counted among many players’ favorites in no time. Her movement style is that of a dancer: fluid, graceful and deadly. Like Xun You, playing as her yields a feeling of control, but that control is more of movement rather than of the situation. Fighting with Xin makes one feel as though they really understand the controls and combat inputs of Dynasty Warriors 9; all of her movements seem to smoothly transition from one into the next. Her special move should also be mentioned as a sort of icing on the cake. Put plainly, it’s as satisfying to trigger as it is to witness.
3. Yue Jin
The entire reason Yue Jin is a must play is his frenetic style. He speed up in an instant. He can fool opponents by confronting them at odd and unexpected angles, and he can even throw-off the player a bit by skipping frames of animation. His chaotic movements can potentially make it a bit more difficult to chain together combos, but that trickiness pays-off in confrontations that are much more flashy, fun to look at and satisfying to execute.
2. Lu Bu
Even among the army crushing elite that are the DW9 officers, the name Lu Bu is one that commands respect. Those who don’t already know why that is will quickly come to understand once they meet him in battle. Lu Bu is a towering figure standing several heads above the rank and file soldier. His style is one of sheer brute force. Each swing of his weapon seems to carry real weight behind it, and every stomp forward feels as though it’s making the ground quake. For players looking to enjoy a real power trip, Lu Bu has to be the best option.
1. Cao Cao
Cao Cao (pronounced tsao-tsao) is the very first officer Dynasty Warriors 9 directs players to use. His moveset mirrors the man himself: regal and intimidating. Cao Cao’s movements are swift, simple and elegant; making them easy to follow and chain together. The disconnect between his cutscene and battle personas is entertaining too. In most cutscenes he comes across as reserved and wise, but in battle his and general demeanor are commanding and intimidating. In cutscenes he talks about serving the emperor, but in battle he speaks of furthering his own ambitions. He’s all around easy to use and fascinating to watch, making him an excellent character to start one’s DW9 journey.