I only just bought this and already I think it's a great game. The concept of being in a full-scale battle in ancient China has never been thought up before (at least I don't think so, I don't have a clue what the original Dynasty Warriors was like). You can just pick up and play without having to get used to fiddly controls, and although combos are simple to pull off, they are extremely fun - especially musou attack.
The game revolves around three characters at the time of the Three Kingdoms in Ancient China. You pick a 'family'and character you wish to fight with and follow the game down that certain path (different clans have different storylines and battles). As for the gameplay itself, it is about 75% fighting, 25% strategy. Some people I know (like my brother) reckon it's just fighting, but I say strategy because it isn't exactly sensibly rushing into hoards of enemies. Other 'strategy' points are stuff like:
1- shoot enemy archers who are on top of a gate wall with arrows
2-consider your bodyguards' health and try to keep them healthy so you can upgrade them.
3-aid your force commander if he's in trouble....etc.
The game also keeps you on your toes the whole time as the tide of battle could swing in any direction - e.g. reinforcements arriving, wizards interfering, ambushes, etc.
In the first two levels, all three clans (Wei-blue, Wu-red and Shu-green) are united first against a rebellion then against a dictator. After these the story starts going in a different direction (depending on what clan you're in).
At the start of each level, you get taken to a map of the battle and where all the units are placed, which is excellent as you can plan your route and strategy before the fight actually starts. You are also given background infomation on how the opposing forces came to meet each other in battle.
GOOD - The capability of having over 50 warriors on-screen at a time is not something to be over looked, and as for the visuals, are excellent. The animation of the warriors (and horses) as far as I can tell is perfect (details such as archers drawing arrows PROPERLY is amazing). Clearly some love as gone into the making of this game, both gameplay-wise and story-wise. The tiny bit of strategy involved is like icing on a cake... making it a whole lot sweeter.
BAD - even though Dynasty Warriors 2 is a great game and worth every penny, it does have it's down-sides. It gets repetitive after a while, even though there is variety in the form of different 'routes' you can take. No multiplayer of any kind is included. Levels are few, but the developers have compensated by making them WAAAAAAAYYYYY too long. The game could also of benefited from a wider range of combos available.
Anyway, I would give DW2 a total of 9 out of 10 - excellent visuals, great concept, cool battles... just a bit repetitive.
In comparisin to kessen this game has very little stratagy, and constant in your face fighting, but is that a bad thing?
Glorious battle fields and rich detailed characters bring the battle to life, yes button hammering and tirsom controls are stressful but the on screen displays are superb, a high adredalin game with good AI (Artifiacial intellagence) however the levels are long and the enemies do appear all the same...
BUT when the war is over a sigh of relief for your chossen family as your team save the day. For Strategy Kesson, for high octane button bashing mayhem you must own a copy of Dynasty Warriors 2, a good 7/10