Dynasty Warriors 4 is a grand game to play, especially with a friend. It has all the basics you need and pretty much repeats the same strentghs of Dynasty Warriors 3. Of course if you've kept up with the Dynasty Warriors series, its apparent that not as much time was taken into giving Dynasty Warriors 4 new extras as they did number 3.
The game centers on the Three Kingdoms. The game is based on a book called "Romance Of the Three Kingdoms". You play as an officer of the one of the Three Kingdoms. Either and Officer of Shu, Wu or Wei. Each character has a Musou Mode that takes place in different "Acts". Everyones first and second act are more or less the same. Completing certain task in Musou Mode allow you to unlock stages in the Free Mode and sometimes more characters.
The Free Mode is more or less the same as Musou Mode only you get to choose the level you want to go to and what side you want to be on. Unlocking levels in Free Mode is dependant on which Force you are in Musou Mode and sometimes even what character.
The Gameplay presented in Dynasty Warriors 4 is your basic hack and slash. Each character has his or her own weapon that they attack with. While playing and doing the same thing over and over again can get boring, the AI of the enemies will ensure you've got a challenge and many a time you'll play just to see how many kills you can get.
You play through several missions defeating Generals and collecting their goods. Some drop attack and defense ups and others might drop an item. Generals are also worth Experience Points which go toward leveling up a characters weapon. Experience Points is nice but it makes it so that getting a new weapon is a bit more time-consuming than in the third game.
The maps have changed a lot since Dynasty Warriors 3. The maps are VERY different. The missions are more or less the same as number 3 but because of different maps Enemy Generals are in different areas. The objective is sometimes reached differently as well. Many missions are more than just "Kill the enemy commander" as they were in the third. Some have special objectives such as getting a General to an escape point or to foil an enemies plan.
The gameplay also has new Gereral Duels. This is a nice twist in Dynasty Warriors but you feel a little forced to enter them. Dynasty Warriors 4, like the third one, works on Morale, which makes troops fight better. The new General Duels make Morale seem impossible to keep up. If you get in a duel with a General you HAVE to win. Losing results in a Game Over and a draw results in your entire allies Morale dropping. If you refuse a draw Morale drops more. So it's either fight so others can survive, or let everyone's Morale drop. I for one hated the duels.
Characters also have bodyguards that keep you going throughout your battle. The bodyguards also have different units that you can select. Bodyguards also don't die as easily as in the third one and they do their best to kill an enemy.
The Multiplayer is fun to play with. Your partner runs around just as you do but Multiplayer also has its drawbacks. For one, characters don't share experience unless they share the same weapon... and only custom characters share the same weapon. Also in Multiplayer if one of you dies its game over for both of you. It isn't all that fun when your partner dies all the time and you have to stop as well.
Dynasty Warriors 4 is also full of extras! You can customize Bodyguards and your own officer. Unfortunately this could've been taken to more limits. You can select what they wear and what weapon they can use but that's about it really. You can customize what kind of Musou they do, or their stance or anyhting like that.
Also, more Musou Modes are availible. Dong Zhuo, Yuan Shao, The Nanman and even Lu Bu all have a Musou Mode now! Unfortunately when you select a Musou Mode and you're on two player your partner HAS to be a member of that force as well. This wouldn't be bad for the new Musou Modes if the characters to choose from weren't so limited.
But Dynasty Warriors 4 doesn't take as big of a step up from Dynasty Warriors 3. In fact, Dynasty Warriors 3 took a BIGGER step above number 2. Dynasty Warriors 3 added over 12 Generals and several new maps as opposed to the few characters and maps that number 2 had. Dynasty Warriors 4 only adds THREE new Generals... one for each force. They have lots of new missions but several of them take place on the same map and have the same objective anyway... you'll just be a different force. Items are about the same as in number three.
Dynasty Warriors 4 is a fun game but it doesn't take a giant leap over the third one since in some areas it falls back a little. The game is much harder and the extras are pretty fun but you quickly notice the game has several little drawbacks.