Originally Published on the Official Blast Away the Game Review Facebook Page
Review by Dustin Murphy
+Tons of customizations that leaves a lot of possibilities available
+Building an empire forges new alliances and allows for leadership skills to be explored
+Smooth frame rates and beautiful graphics
+Ability to switch between offline and online between missions
–Bland colour’s allowing for very little vividness in scenery
–New strategems don’t seem to offer much in the means if visible changes in a battlefield
–Framerate remains still a decent problem when bouncing between
–Remains limited in changes made from past installments
Dynasty Warriors as a franchise is one that stands tall among strategy hack-and-slash titles that allow players to take on battles during the period of The Three Kingdoms, which is also known as one of the most war filled eras in Chinese history due to the infighting between the warlords of that era. With Dynasty Warriors being around, players have been able to take on roles that allow them to explore the world during the height of the Wu, Shu, and Wei dynasties. However, for fans of a series, this title announces the end of one numbered ‘series’ and prepares to usher in the next, which is just what Koei seems to be doing as they prepare for the inevitable Dynasty Warriors 9. However, this title entails our exploration into the world of the empire where players will get a chance to customize their own officers, soldiers, horses, banners, colour’s, and even their very own kingdom. Did we mention custom scenarios? Yea those exist too. Though the key elements have not returned as players will not find themselves exploring the storyline that can be found in the main series itself.
Instead, players are given a take that lets them create their own kingdom to rule, which means creating alliances, devising schemes to bring down enemies, crushing enemies, and even taxing your very own peasants. When coming to the series (if this is your first time), you will get to choose from a handful of campaigns to enjoy. This means enjoying the Yellow Turban Rebellion, The Battle of Guan Du, and or your very own scenario that can be created via the in-game editor. The best option? Create your own scenario, enjoy it, and even take on the role as a leaderless ruler who is setting out to create their own kingdom at the demise of others. Don’t forget that this also means that players will take on a role that means gaining your income, resource supplies, and even the number of troops you’ve managed to recruit. Doing this allows for several things to occur that many players may or may not be familiar with. As your kingdoms value, forces, and supplies grow, so does the chances of recruiting with other kingdoms, negotiating, or even intimidating them into joining your very own faction.
For those unfamiliar with the series, this all is done through a very easy to use menu that is where players will find themselves primarily enjoying the title and using these menus in order to raid, invade, build resources, build a military, or simple build up your characters own levels as well as your character and officers ranks. Even with these menus being rather large, it’s not hard to navigate them once players grow used to the system that has been placed within the game itself.
So what is the allure to this game that would possibly bring back old players so that they can return the title? For those returning the main draw to the title will not be the new options or customizations, but rather the idea of leading your own personal journey with any character at your disposal. However, do you want to do this? If so you can build allies, bring warlords at your call, and even spark rivalry between other warlords. As you tailor the world of Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires around you, do remember that even as your own general, there are things to take concern of such as resources, money, military power, and even your own allegiances.
When digging through the menu’s is a done deal for you, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires offers a rather familiar experience: beating down a thousand troops opposed to your only one. This is a mechanic that should seem all to familiar. Players will take on their mixture of regular attack combos mixed in with heavy attacks and special moves. This means players are once more cleaving through a rather large wave of enemies while causing a brontide of screams to rupture from each fallen soldier. With the new added extras, players will once more experience the EX attacks, rage attacks, and the newly implemented Strategems. New mechanics to a Dynasty Warriors game you say? Why yes I did! In Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires, publisher Koei Tecmo and Developer Omega Force have implemented a new set of tools called “Strategems”, which are represented with a small green energy bar just above the health bar. Each strategy used can require between 1-3 of these, some costing even more, which will allow players to do things such as gas clouds on the combat field, fire attacks, build giant guard towers, and even summon a fellow officer to your side to help dispatch a boss.
Even though these options had been added into the game, it is unfortunate that they seem to mean little to nothing in combat, and do not impact the battlefield in a way that can seem noticeable. Delegating troops to attack even seems more influential than these strategems outside of healing yourself and or calling fellow officers to you. For Dynasty Warriors fans they do attempt to break up the monotony of fights that seem as if they will never end by adding quests and objectives into each mission. By doing this players can take on up to four of these (max amount) that includes taking over ‘x’ amount of enemy bases in ‘x’ amount of time, attacking a certain amount of enemy officers, and even taking out an enemy without being spotted. Fortunately, this isn’t something that sounds as easy as it comes out to be, this is something that can prove a bit troublesome for those whom are unfamiliar with the game franchise and will require a bit of practice to figure out what goals can be completed easy enough for them.
Even with these subtle changes being added in, there is one thing you can’t deny when scaling through the large battlefields and customizing soldiers; Dynasty Warriors looks beautiful on both the new consoles. While boasting a large roster, the game also does benefit from both fantasy and real life designs from character that can be created or even already exists within the title. Though at great cost to graphics, there is one thing besides the terrains that suffers a tad; frame rate. Even while the game boasts a beautiful 1080p, the game finds itself constantly staggering in frame rate during high combat scenarios. This is something that is unfortunate as the game itself is beautiful despite the fact that the games environments don’t seem to live up to the highly detailed environments that we’ve seen since Dynasty Warriors 3 Xtreme Legends. Granted the battlefields are more dynamic, it would be interesting to see the team over at Omega Force evolve the content with English Dubs, a choice between modern or classic Chinese music, and even evolving environments that could truly push the games capabilities. Even without these few things, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is a beautiful, enjoyable, and amazing time-burner that will offer fans plenty of to do whether they are online or off.
So what does this mean? Our review here has ended and we are left with a game that remains rather similar to Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends Complete minus a few new gimmick like the strategems and forging your own story. With that aside Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires leaves a lot of room for improvements that need to be made and can hopefully see some form of evolution if titles such as Warriors Orochi 3 and Samurai Warriors 4 get updated versions. Till then Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires will be leaving a bit of a sour taste in some gamers mouths as they seek something a bit more innovative.
Final Score: 5 out of 10
Final Score: 6 out of 10
Editor’s Note: This version of the game is based upon a pre-release retail version of the game. Our copy was provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.