Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires (PS4) Review

Following in the tradition of previous Dynasty Warriors games, the latest in the series has now received its Empires game.  Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires has added new weapons to some of the existing cast (although some of them were DLC previously), and thankfully brings back my favorite staple of the series: creating your own characters.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of create-a-characters in multiple games, and I still love it here.  There are a lot of costume pieces to choose from, as they brought  back pretty much all of the ones from the previous game, and added the DLC ones and a few new ones to inflate the list.  With the new additional weapons, there are almost too many choices when setting the weapon and musou attacks.  Besides setting a normal and alternate musou, you can set an air one and your rage attack one.  While you can't set any musou in any slot unfortunately, it's easy to get some that fit your character, or just take some all around good ones.  Although the animation of each contains the character's default weapon, so it can look a bit silly if you just grab some of the cooler ones instead of trying to have them match.

If that wasn't enough, you can also customize your troops, horse and war banner.  These options are somewhat more limited, but it's still a nice addition to the series and makes for some more personal touches if you want to invest the time.  There are several colors for each part and each costume piece.

Enough of me gushing about the create-a-warrior, let's get to the gameplay.  Like the previous Empires games, it is a mix of hack and slash Dynasty Warriors battles with kingdom management in between  the fights.  When you are a subordinate for a ruler, you can sometimes choose what to do to help the kingdom, but will be requested to make certain goals.  If you become the ruler yourself, you will have more options available, but also more responsibility in making your kingdom thrive.  One new objective to complete is quests.  These are small scale fights that task you with fighting or protecting someone or something.  They are tiny and quick battles that don't feature nearly as many foes as the army versus army fights, but they are a quick way to raise your virtue or get some money or equipment.  It's not too complicated to run a kingdom, but it is fun.

The virtue is basically your level this time around.  In the previous entry, there were six kinds of experience, depending on what your actions were.  Now it is just virtue.  There are also merits to be earned by performing well for your ruler.  While I liked the previous system of six different types, this system is fine too, as it feels less like the character is typecast as a certain type of person.

There are several different scenarios to complete, each ranging from a set of dates in Chinese history.  This will dictate what special battles will happen, and what characters you will see, but it won't limit your time there.  Each scenario is self-contained and will play out differently each time you play it.  Some will last a long time, depending on the whims of the leaders.  The scenarios won't stand out much from each other if you aren't at least passively versed in the story or history of the three kingdoms period, so if you aren't interested in that, just pick the special scenario that has all the Dynasty Warriors cast available.  Plus, you can always sub in any of your created fighters, and might even see some creations of other people!

While my primary reason for liking the Dynasty Warriors Empires series is the create-a-character, they are fun alternate experiences in the Dynasty Warriors universe.  It adds some management and unpredictability to the hack and slash series, and I know at least one person that prefers Empires to the usual games.  Fans of the Dynasty Warriors series and the Empires series should check it out.  It's also worth checking out for people that want more than just a hack and slash experience.

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