Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires

The Dynasty Warriors series has been around now for quite some time and, in truth, they've stuck to a tried and tested method for the entirety of the franchise. Save for an increase in budget to the boob-design department since Koei's merger with Tecmo, developer of such ludicrously jiggle-tastic titles as Ninja Gaiden, the Dynasty Warriors games' formula has remained relatively identical to its' earliest roots; a hack-and-slash game, with simple, easy to master combination attacks, and one super charged Musou attack. Additional features have come and gone, and the basis has always been evolved from title to title, but this solid core of gameplay has remained the same. 

Developed by Omega Force and out now on  Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One and PC comes Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires, the latest of the series' Hack-and-slash-meets-strategy-game-thing. The Empires series itself has been around for a while and is one of my personal favourites. The game diverges from the base story line, which to dedicated fans of the series, is as familiar as their own right hand; and lets players have a more direct impact on the game world, by allowing them to plan and undertake their own battles, form their own kingdoms, and ignore the same old series of events that have been repeated since the games' very early days - a dramatised version of China's Three Kingdoms periods, based heavily on the book, Romance of the Three Kingdoms. 

Overall, the game plays as well as any other before it, and ought to be an instant hit with fans of the series. A number of features return from previous iterations, but are vastly improved upon. For instance, the Edit Mode returns, but the choices for creating your own playable character are expanded, giving players virtually limitless combinations with which to create their ideal character. Edit Mode also now allows players to customise their own horse, banner and even soldiers, allowing you to use a fully unique army when attempting to personally conquer all of China, possibly one of the most satisfying things the game has to offer. There's untold joy to be had in slaying great warlords like Lu Bu and Cao Cao, with some guy called Dave, backed buy an army of men dressed in fluorescent pink.

As for the combat, the game remains true to it's X-Y combo mechanic, making for extremely pleasing crowd killing combos, without being too complicated to master in a few short attempts. The combat is what the series has always done best, as you cut through swathes of enemy soldiers, and watch as your KO Count soars into the hundreds. Despite the incredibly fast pace of the combat, you always feel in control thanks to the extremely intuitive combos. It can become a little repetitive, and unless you crank the difficulty all the way up, there's no real challenge, but endless fun to be had. The in-battle strategy still feels a little lacking, pretty much reduced to 'go to X, kill this many people. Repeat,' which, for a game trying to lean in the direction of a strategy game is a bit of a let down. However, the Empire mode somewhat makes up for it.

The choices present to players between battles yet again improved, blending features of both strategy games and RPGs, as players have choices that will assist their kingdom, or go on quests in search of personal gain. Perhaps it's still lacking in depth, as the Dynasty Warriors series has always put all its eggs in the fighting basket, so much of what you do has little noticeable impact, and you'd be just as successful letting your sword do the politics.

To conclude, the game is another good Dynasty Warriors game, perhaps the best one to date. It certainly holds its own against much bigger titles, and will undoubtedly keep you entertained for a significant amount of time. There is, however, one huge drawback of this particular title which will keep it from making headlines anywhere outside of Japan: The developers chose not to re-dub the game in English, or any other language. There are translated subtitles, some in hilarious broken English, but no English-speaking voice acting. With this in mind, then, I feel the game will be popular with fans of the franchise, at the very least - but the lack of an English dub will prevent it from winning over anyone else.

I give Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires a respectable, if a little disappointing 3/5.


Adam Freeman

Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires at CeX

Get your daily CeX at

Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo
ma.gnolia squidoo newsvine live netscape tailrank mister-wong blogmarks slashdot spurl