Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires Review
I like to think of Dynasty Warriors as the Japanese version of Assassin’s Creed. No I am not talking about game play but the fact that every year a new instalment is added whether it is warranted or not, to the delight of each series respective fans and the disgust of those who loath them. It seems the majority of gamers fall into either category for these two long running titles. In regards to Dynasty Warriors however I find myself sitting firmly in the middle. Neither being a diehard fan or despising the series I have owned a few of the past titles, enjoying the mindless button bashing large scale battle that it provides. This is possibly the series biggest downfall, whilst in the past the combat has been fun it had become repetitive quite quickly with the monotony being undeniable. So in the latest in a huge line of incarnations has Dynasty Warriors found a new recipe to cure the tedious nature of its past?
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is somewhat of a Hybrid game. It keeps the crazy battles that the series is renowned for but also offers quite a deep strategy game in which a plethora of planning, trading, conquering, aligning and scheming can be delved into. Overall these two game play styles are fused together really well, with neither becoming the dominate focus and each equally remaining important to success. This is a rarity in games of this ilk with one usually being a focus and the other feeling tacked on at a mediocre level for variety.
The 3D battle side of the game is obviously aimed squarely at long time Dynasty Warriors fans with very little changing from all previous incarnations. There are a few different game modes and one of these squarely contains these battles which offer up some variety in quests to achieve within the mission. There are also different abilities and tactics that can be employed by each commander. Spells, floods and mobile infantry structures are some of the many and each can turn a battle when deployed correctly. However most of your time here reignites the traditional, mundane button bashing approach of past Dynasty Warriors titles. This can become boring and the fact that the AI is as intelligent as a cucumber does not help, then again these titles were all about combo streaks into the thousands.
This is not the only component that can make Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires feel dull. The graphical fidelity has not improved on the PS4, or if it has it is minimal to my eyes. The same drab textures used previously for the environments are deployed once again with the only true sense of colour and variety coming in the form of your character. Although there are a huge amount of characters on the screen it feels a shame that 99.9% of them are the same model with yourself and the officers being the only individuals. Worse still is that although there are a ridiculous amount of characters to choose from for you to play as, there are many that are the same besides colours or weapon shape. Variety is not this games strong point, however the strategy side of things is!
The main mode of the title is Empire mode and here you can choose to either play as a particular empire throughout time or create your own from scratch. I decided to create my own and chose my commanders to be made up of all of the games barely clothed female characters. Yes you can call me a pervert but if I have to stare at boring visuals at I at least need some sort of eye candy! After creating my empire through what is possibly the deepest customisation phase known to gaming, I chose my region and formed government. From here you set about a fifty tear reign of prosperity, or terror, which ever fits your desires. I chose prosperity and set about building a strong economy in which the people of my land where happy, whilst also building a robust army to defend our prosperity. As each month falls, the landscape changes, wars are waged and choices are to be made to hopefully fulfil goals and build your great nation. This may sound boring to those who prefer the battles, don’t worry it is not long before chaos beckons.
There are a few ways in which battles can be entered. You can choose to invade or raid a neighbouring sovereign, be invaded yourself or make an alliance and be asked for assistance. It is in these areas that the game really caught my interest. At first I attempted to raid a neighbour and found no success due to its superior forces. Yes in the 3D battle I swatted thousands of enemies and made ground but my five thousand soldier strong battalion was simply outnumbered, and defeated quite quickly. This instantly made me realise that if I was to be invaded my utopia would be crushed, so I negotiated a treaty with another neighbouring land. This was a great move as I was called upon for assistance in a battle and in turn gained assistance in my next raid attempt which garnished me success. This is where the game becomes interesting, gaining alliances, conquering lands and at times abusing those alliances for personal gain, all the while managing your own land as you please. The management of your land was quite in depth and satisfying.
There is also the option of gaining help via multiplayer for a battle. Most instances saw me partner with a non-English speaking Asian player but through the game we were able to communicate. Riding into battle with a human controlled character was my highlight of the battles, finally a comrade that did something!
All in all this is a game designed for the fans of Dynasty Warriors that may attract a few different customers for its in depth strategy system. As a combat based game Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires has shortcomings due to its repetitive nature. As a strategy title it comes close to a pass score. Due to combining both Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires was more than I expected. I found more enjoyment than I predicted before playing and if you are a fan of both genres it is worth a look.
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