Cao Ren (onyomi: Sō Jin) is one of Cao Cao's cousins. Though he was known to be a callous brute during his youth, Cao Ren matured to be a courageous and lawful general while serving his cousin. He is reputed as a reliable defender for Cao Cao's territory who protected the lands numerous times from invaders. Depending on the historical source, he is regarded as one of Cao Cao's greatest generals.
Cao Ren is a stout general who prides himself for his tenacity and stamina. He is known in this series for being the main commander at Fan Castle. Without his tactical coordination, Lu Meng's plan to slay Guan Yu with the united Wei and Wu armies would have not succeeded. Cao Ren often continues to serve in his home's decisive battles against the other kingdoms in the series.
His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends takes place after Wei's defeat at the battle of Chi Bi. Cao Cao retreats north and Cao Ren stations himself within Jiangling to guard his escape. He defends against the pursuing Wu army by concentrating on defense. His subordinate, Niu Jin, gives into Zhou Yu's taunts and recklessly charges from out of Wei's castle. However, he is soon surrounded and on the verge of defeat. To rescue his retainer and bring him back safely, Cao Ren decides to join the march. Worried that the castle will fall without him, the castle guards ask Cao Ren to reconsider. Even with their pleas, he hurries to Niu Jin's aid. While escorting his general back, Zhou Tai and Zhou Yu attack them. Cutting them down and having Niu Jin escape ends the conflict.
In Dynasty Warriors 5, Cao Ren is noted as a someone who was rough and frivolous in his youth. Joining his cousin to fight for the land's peace, he reinvents himself to become a disciplined general. He serves in all of Cao Cao's major campaigns and distinguishes himself by cutting an escape path for his lord after they lose Chi Bi. While they rebuild their defenses against the other forces, he is ordered to be one of the defenders for He Fei. When Guan Yu invades Jing Province, Cao Ren resists him at Fan Castle. Keeping the morale high with his determination, they repel the invaders but learn that Cao Cao passed away after their victory. Cao Ren continues to serve under his cousin's son, Cao Pi. As he helps repel Shu away from Chen Cang, the fall of the Wu happens simultaneously at He Fei Castle. Shu is soon struck down at Wu Zhang Plains and Cao Pi, pleased with Cao Ren's accomplishments, orders his other subordinates to follow his example. Seeing the land at peace, Cao Ren dismisses his soldiers and wishes for the hard won serenity to endure endlessly.
He shares his Legend Mode in the Xtreme Legends expansion with Cao Cao, Xiahou Yuan, and Zhang He. Together, they struggle against the supernatural powers wielded by the Five Bushel Sect. Cao Ren takes the western mountain path and worms his way up the summit. Upon reaching the second story level, Zhang Lucasts an illusion to conceal the staircases. As the only one who is close to the statues responsible for the trick, Cao Ren is given the task of destroying them, even when they explode as they shatter. He perseveres and the way to the enemy main camp is opened. After the battle, Cao Ren renews his goal to keep up the fight.
Dynasty Warriors 6 continues to have Cao Ren appear at He Fei, Fan Castle and Shi Ting. Still the leader of the Wei-Wu alliance at Jing, he keeps a vigilant watch over the main camp. In Special, he is also one of the Wei generals present at Ru Xu Kou. He defends one of the three bases on the Wei front.
Cao Ren is considered one of Cao Cao's constant generals within Dynasty Warriors 7, appearing as early as the Yellow Turban Rebellion in Wei's Story Mode. Players can talk to him within the ally fort throughout several of Wei's early campaigns, fighting for his lord's dream of a world created and supported by the people. During the charge south for Chibi, Cao Ren stays to guard Nanjun. He is seen repelling Zhou Yu's offensive during Wu's Story Mode, but he arrives to Cao Cao's rescue in Wei's. Cao Ren breaks apart boulders obstructing the northern mountain path to Nanjun. He acts as one of the defenders for Fan Castle within the three Story Modes it appears in. Since Xiahou Dun's grudge is put in the forefront for Wei's perspective, Cao Ren acts as the main commander in the other scenarios for the stage.
His Legendary Battles detail his role as guardian at Nanjun and Fan Castle. Players are allowed to play through Cao Ren's perspective for each respective stage from Story Mode.
The Xtreme Legends expansion stages Cao Ren's starring Hero Scenario at Ruxukou. Shu and Wu have reestablished their alliance in the aftermath of Yiling. Wanting to prevent the deepening of their ties, Cao Pi orders an attack at Ruxukou. Zhu Huan defies their advance and Cao Ren is the one who opposes him. As they break through the castle gates, Cao Pi senses no threat and marches forward. However, therein lies the trap as a large Wu regiment ambushes the Wei invaders. Cao Ren protects his allies and his lord from being routed by the enemy. Eventually he reaches Zhou Tai, the leader of these reinforcements, and strikes him down.
As a worried Zhen Ji greets her husband after the battle, Cao Pi directs her to instead thank Cao Ren, the man who truly saved his life. She then formerly states her words of gratitude to the general, though Cao Ren modestly remarks that he was only performing his duties. He states that it's more important that their lord is safe.
Cao Ren is initially playable during the second chapter of Dynasty Warriors Next. The fifth chapter has him launch an attack on Jing Province to flush out Liu Bei's group only to be defeated by them due to a plot devised by Xu Shu. He later appears with Xiahou Dun in the Battle of Bowangpo, serving as the latter's second-in-command. One of the bonus missions in that battle involves using a ballista to defeat him. In the seventh chapter, he falls for Zhou Yu's ruse at Nanjun, leaving his castle vulnerable to Zhuge Liang's forces. He may return earlier if the player fails to stop the messengers in time. Cao Ren's role at Fan Castle remains unchanged, though his interaction with Pang De throughout the battle is taken from the fifth installment. In Wei's ending movie, he is seen together with Xu Zhu and Xiahou Yuan as they invite Cao Cao to check the new rice fields planted by them.
In Dynasty Warriors 8, Cao Ren's role in the story is largely unchanged. He first participates in the battle of Xu Province to avenge Cao Cao's father. At the Battle of Xinye he implements the Eight Gates Formation against Liu Bei and his followers. In Wei's version of the stage, Xu Shu's strategy against the Eight Gates Formation has already put Cao Ren in serious danger before he is rescued by reinforcements and helps rout the Shu forces. In Shu's version Xu Shu breaks formation and defeats Cao Ren, who retreats.
At Fan Castle, he becomes worried when Pang De goes out with a coffin on his shoulder. But after seeing his resolve to live and fulfill his duty, Cao Ren rallies the other Wei soldiers to stand up against Guan Yu. In Shu's historical route, Cao Ren's role remains the same except Guan Yu has taken Fan Castle and Cao Ren has instead set up a nearby camp from which the Wei forces attack.
In Shu's hypothetical route the flood attack fails after Xu Shu is able to correctly anticipate the strategy, and Wei is put at a disadvantage between the arrival of Shu reinforcements lead by Pang Tong and the Yellow Turbanslead by Zhang Jiao, who have allied with Liu Bei. After Wei reinforcements lead by Xiahou Dun and Sima Yi are defeated Cao Ren makes one final push towards Fan Castle but is defeated and forced to flee. He is also present in the final battle at Xuchang, being among those killed.
In Wu's story, Cao Ren appears as the enemy commander of Nanjun. In the hypothetical route, he appears as reinforcements for Zhang Liao, and attempts to stop the construction of Wu rams, but is pushed back He appears in his cousin's final battle at Xuchang. In the historical route, he will be defending Fan Castle against Guan Yu. He later appears assisting Cao Pi after his father's death at Guangling and Hefei castle.
In the Xtreme Legends expansion, Cao Ren is playable for the stage "Defense of Fan Castle". Working with Pang De and Yu Jin, he follows instructions from the latter to repel the combined forces of Shu and Wu. He also appears in the defense of Xinye, arriving with a late detachment of survivors that need to be rescued.