Defiant Honor takes place directly after the previous DLC. Date is launching his assault on Osaka Castle and you’re right in the middle of it. Straight off the bat, the first of the two main missions throws you directly into the heat of battle, tasking players with traversing an open, and deadly battlefield. Not only do you have to worry about enemies roaming the area, but as soon as you hear a loud gong, flaming arrows will begin raining down, forcing you to take cover in trenches and behind barriers.
This is exactly the kind of experience I wanted from the DLC. It’s an exhilarating feeling when you hear that gong, and have to run for cover, while still having to worry about nearby enemies. It’s the kind of experience that enhances the already amazing gameplay by forcing you to play a bit differently.
The second mission, while not as great as the first, is also really well and intricately designed, feeling like a maze with various interconnecting paths. These two locations alone are some of the best in the game; unfortunately, the bosses are a complete let down. The first is against the ninja, Sasuke, and in terms of comparable fights, he’s much more of a challenge than Hanzo, but way less fun than Okatsu. As a Ninja I was expecting a much faster battle and I was hoping to be put through my paces, but I found that the Okatsu fight had me dodging and on my feet way more than this one.
The fight with the legendary Sanada Yukimura was a bit disappointing as well. While not as challenging and relentless as Date Masmune, the fight itself fares a bit better, especially since it has its own theme and Sanada himself has a few more interesting movesets, such as being able to float and a devastating aerial attack.
Ultimately, like Masamune, it still felt too much like a stock standard humanoid fight. With such lacklustre bosses, it felt like there was no real payoff to such amazing levels.
The rest of the DLC consists of a few side missions, one of which has a new temple-like location, but in all honesty, there’s nothing special about it, even though you can fight the new dog type enemies. There’s also a mission, which is essentially a mini boss rush, where you fight all the bosses of the previous DLC, which is really cool if you’re looking to test out different builds. The other major addition is the tonfa weapon (also known as Panga Sticks, if you grew up in South Africa) which is heavily close-combat and combo focused. I found it to be less interesting than the previously introduced Odachi, but the blistering fast attacks never grew old.
Overall, Defiant Honor shows a definite improvement over the last DLC and while it is short, I would much rather sacrifice length for two, well designed and interesting levels like those on display here.
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Unfortunately the boss encounters and disposable side missions sully whatever good this content had going for it. Still, despite my grievances, I feel as though Team Ninja are finally finding their groove with the DLC and I’m hoping that the final one will knock it out of the park.
Last Updated: August 10, 2017