I've been playing Dynasty Warriors 6 lately. This is a tactical action game based on the Three Kingdoms Period of China. As of this writing, I have cleared the story modes for five characters. It's been a lot of fun but there are also many challenging and frustrating elements to it.
The fields are big and so it can take a while to get from place to place. Unless you have a maxed out horse who favors speed, you'll spend more time marching from base to base then fighting. The terrain can be complex and so it's easy to get lost or find yourself going in the wrong direction; rivers without beaches or the twists of ridges can corral a player who doesn't know them. The press of soldiers and hidden archers can be overwhelming even for a one man army.
I imagine it is similar to real life battles during the period, except a lot easier. Even putting aside the physicality of it such as no flagging stamina or debilitating injury there are many advantages.
-->There are the musuo attacks and special attacks that couldn't be done in real life.
-->There's special abilities of weapons and horses such as "Arrow Dance" which can make a character immune to arrows.
-->If a character dismounts or is thrown from their horse, enemy mooks can't steal it.
-->There's no risk of friendly fire which is amazingly useful in regards to the above-mentioned press of soldiers.
-->There's an interface map in the corner of the screen that tracks the player's location and that of every other character in real time. Players can hear allies call for help from a distance and this is also indicated on the map.
-->There's instant health recovery items in food and stat power ups that can be found in the field.
-->Once the mission's objective is completed, nothing else matters.
--> Enemy soldiers will flee their bases under certain conditions even if the player's character is fighting them alone.
-->Each stage has its own progression and so the player can learn to anticipate events and trouble areas. A player can move their character into position ahead of time. It's like having clairvoyance.
After writing all of this out, it doesn't sound anything at all like real battle, does it? Despite this, I failed several stages, several times, even on easy mode.
Even with all of these advantages, I couldn't accomplish the mission. I couldn't get where I needed to go in time to save an NPC due to transit time or being caught up in immediate problems. I'd get lost in the terrain and isolated from both my character's allies and the mission objectives. I'd bite off more than I could chew and my character would be killed. This strikes me. Real life campaigns must be much more complicated and thus more difficult. What must it be like to face the "preparation screen", so to speak, and know that you are essentially going in blind? That you only have one chance?
I believe it will be useful for the next main series I have planned. I foresee many war sequences and it is also set in a similar time period. If I take this and adapt it to the situation in my fictional universe, then I will have a model to work from.
Journey to Chaos doesn't have any war sequences, and certainly nothing like Dynasty Warriors, but the logistics of it are still useful as a reference.
As a final note, the game's soundtrack played in my head as I wrote this.
The Journey to Chaos series, is available for purchase at: http://smile.amazon.com/A-Mages-Power-Journey-Chaos-ebook/dp/B00AVMAISG
A Mage's Power will be free on Amazon until the end of today, May 3rd 2016.
To learn about the Journey to Chaos series, visit Tvtropes at: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/AMagesPower.
Brian Wilkerson is a freelance book reviewer, writing advice blogger and independent novelist. He studied at the University of Minnesota and came away with bachelor degrees in English Literature and History (Classical Mediterranean Period concentration).