Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires Review

Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires Review

We're now coming to the end of the current Dynasty Warriors cycle and as is customary in the Dynasty Warriors franchise that means only one thing - Empires. Yes, it's time to throw your typical Romance of the Three Kingdoms allegiances out of the window, create your own character and reek havoc on historical China like never before. Well, that's one of the things you can do anyway, there's still plenty of more traditional experiences too.

Unlike Dynasty Warriors 7: Extreme Legends, which released a while ago now, Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires is a standalone experience that caps off Dynasty Warriors 7. And it's completely warranted - the Empires additions to Dynasty Warriors have always offered very different experiences outside of the core gameplay.

If you've never played an Empires version of Dynasty Warriors before, you will notice that most of the options are rather different. Instead of following the story of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms with a rather keen eye, it offers a substantial amount of poetic licence. This is all done through the "Empire" Mode, whereby after selecting difficulty and any extras you may have acquired, you're able to pick different starting scenarios. These range from the classic "Yellow Turban Rebellion", a scenario that looks at Sima Yi and one where it's basically a custom free-for-all.

Before selecting a scenario to dive into, you're able to see what state China is in at the beginning. This is what makes Empires an interesting concept, as your objective is to conquer the entire map, and unite China under one banner. If you choose an earlier scenario, there are lots of smaller territories under different rulers, but the later you go, the fewer banners there are.

The reason this is all important, is because outside of the core Dynasty Warriors gameplay, there's a whole strategy element. This makes the character you pick at the start quite crucial. You can either choose to start as a warrior with no affiliation, or even play as the ruler of an Empire. This will vastly change how things play out. If you're the ruler, you dictate the policies of your Empire, but if you're a lower-ranker officer, you will often be told what to do. This gives you the scope to work your way up though, and you can even choose to form a rebellion against your leader.

During each turn, you can only perform one action, but there are multiple options here. You can invest in politics, military, personnel, engage in a battle or visit a local town (doesn't end your turn). These will alter different elements, but via a fame system, will help to shape the type of person you're going to become. For example, if you choose to institute a new tax regime, you will gain provisions and gold, but you will also gain +100 "evil" fame.

The fame concept is a nice, and how it ties in with the stratagems works well, however, it seems very shallow. There are six different types of fame, but some are considerably easier to level up than others. Being able to perform one action per turn makes doesn't help at all, and it actually makes things quite cumbersome. You will often find that if you aren't going on the offensive in the battlefield, opponents will constantly be trying to invade your territory. This means that performing another action, like attempting to recruit an officer or conducting some troop training, feels like a wasted opportunity as you will have to defend said territory. It can feel like an endless cycle sometimes, one where there isn't much advancement on your end.


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