Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is the latest spin on the Dynasty Warriors 8 series, an adaption to the Xtreme Legends like the franchise does with most of the numbered instalments. Developed by Omega Force, Empire sets you as a free officer or an officer affiliated with a kingdom, whom must choose a side to fight for or make their own kingdom and take over the four corners of china.
The story in Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is similar to the other Empire version of previous titles, and allows you to choose different time periods to fight in.
- The Yellow Turban Rebellion starts with Zhang Jiao creating an army and revolting against the land, with officers being asked for help to defend against them.
- The Alliance Against Dong Zhuo starts just after the last story, with Dong Zhuo as the main villain who is trying to take over the remaining forces, Cao Cao attacking in response.
- Battle of Guandu continues on again from the last, with Cao Cao facing off against Yuan Shao with you in the mix.
- Battle of Chibi shows Cao Cao expanding even further with Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang combining with Sun Quan to fight against Cao Cao.
- Lastly the Coup d’état follows after the death of the Wei Emperor with only 4 factions left to fight against each other.
Another scenario is called A Gathering of Heroes which randomises the map, with all the kingdoms and your own made factions into different sizes and positions. You can also load custom Scenarios where you have placed very kingdom and officer beforehand, or download a DLC setting or someone else’s creation.
Every story will last you smaller amounts of time as you go down the list, due to less kingdoms fighting each other and you only really needing to take over the capitals of each. To complete a scenario can take up to 6 hours, depending on how you play them as you can be a free officer for a very long time or go straight into a kingdom and start a war to rule the continent.
To complete ever scenario you are looking at around 20+ hours, but they are all in the same areas so it can get quite repetitive after a while. There is plenty to do as both a Free Officer and a member of a Kingdom so you can get around 3 playthroughs and still find something new with the game as a whole.
The gameplay in 8 Empires is very similar to other games in the series, both Dynasty Warriors as a whole and the Empires set of games. The game is split in the Map Mode and the Battle Field, the map being where you look over the territories and the officers within them and the Battle Field being where you fight armies, officers and take over camps.
Whilst on the map mode you have several options to choose from, depending on if you are a Free Officer or a part of a kingdom. Free officers can accept quests from the other NPC’s in the land in return for resources and merits, as well as increasing friendship, or go about plundering the land, training or working towards making their own kingdom. Whilst apart of a Kingdom you can do tasks respective of your position, lowly members can train or do quests, higher-ups can initiate invasions and raids on other kingdoms or spend resources on other things, the Ruler can do all those including setting commands for the half-year like gathering recruits or fighting kingdoms to weaken them.
On the Battle Field, you have complete control over your own character and some slight control over the armies you rule, with the form of commands like Advance, Escort, Defend and Delegate which gives an overall goal for your officers and armies. You move around with the left thumbstick, attack with Square, special attack with Triangle and use musou attacks with the circle button, jumping changing the effects of all with X. You can also use Card stratagems to give buffs to you and/or allies and grand stratagems to change the battlefield and cause natural disasters.
Merits are the experience in this game, and after gaining enough you will gain a level which increases your statistics, as well as how high rulers will promote you. Weapons and items also increase your stats; give you special abilities and new mounts to use. Characters start with pre-sets if they are already in the game, but Edit Mode allows you to make your own setup.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The edit mode in 8 Empires is very vast, more so it allows you to edit a character from all the items found in the game on top of the army they use, the mounts officers ride and the banner they use. The amount of customisability in this game is a breath of fresh air in the series, being able to create an entire army made up of characters you envision really allows you to get immersed in the wars you face. If you play with a friend you will find your army is quite diverse, both in aesthetic and fighting ability that you will be a sight for sore eyes in the East.
The music in Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is taken from all of the 8 Series, as well as previous releases up for download to the system. The selection is pretty vast, but a lot of the songs do have a similar setting and theme so they become repetitive pretty quickly which is disappointing as a lot of previous tracks in the series were amazing to listen to.
Sadly the local Co-Op is shafted in this release, being only available during Invasions and Defence missions, which only make up around 1/6 of the gameplay. Your friend will miss out on sabotaging the enemy nations, assassinating their rulers or even pillaging caravans. The Co-Op feels strapped onto this release and feels as if it could have done a lot more, like 1on1 kingdom fights or your friend being able to choose options like you do.
Overall I give Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires a 4/5, the decimation of countless troops is at its peak in this next gen release with the amount of enemies on screen at once, not diminished much by co-op play. The game can become repetitive after a while and it could have done with a bit more in the way of development as the years went by in the scenarios. Fans of the series will definitely like this purchase and new consumers will find this to be a great addition to their libraries.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.