Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires – Review

Minor issues bog this game down.

D

ynasty Warriors returns again in Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires. The Empires franchise of Dynasty Warriors series is geared towards more political and strategic battles rather than your regular Dynasty Warriors game. However, it wouldn’t be a Dynasty Warriors game without dozens of enemies, bases, and officers to conquer on screen at a time. Empires is a bit more complicated than the regular Dynasty Warriors games, only because of its strategic and political nature, and with that being said I will be explaining the core mechanics of this game in greater detail.

Gameplay Structure

When you begin the game, you choose which officer you want to play as and conquer the kingdoms. There are more than 50+ officers you can choose from, each officer has a his/her own fighting style, some are very good at dealing a lot of damage, while others are super fast but deal a lot less damage and then you have the ones that are in the middle. If that’s not enough, the player can create their own custom officer in a mode called Edit. Edit mode allows you to create your own personal officer. The play may choose armor sets, voices, tattoos, customizable physical appearance and of course different fighting styles. Later in the game, you can also unlock and buy new armor sets and weapons.

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Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires is an interesting beast, it combines role-playing as a nobody who can either join in with another famous ruler to conquer the kingdoms, or you can befriend someone and then backstab them later and take every kingdom for yourself. The whole point of the game is that you’re a Chinese general who’s main goal is to conquer the entire land, whether it be through an alliance, betrayal or of course all out war with everyone else.

The game achieves this goal by introducing a system called  Fame. Fame has multiple ratings that you can choose, the player may choose from Brave, Evil, Wise, Kind, Orderly and Affluent, each path grants you something called strategems. Strategems are these different abilities that you can unlock as you level up your Fame, each path of Fame has many different types of stratagems. You may use these stratagems when you are in an actual battlefield, one of the strategems lets you lock gates to your base so that the enemy won’t be able to assault your camp.

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You can level up Fame rating by either political choices when you take a turn or on the battlefield depending on which kingdom you decided to defend or attack. There will also be times when a different ruler will ask you to join them on the battlefield to destroy an enemy officer and take over their main base, you have the right to decline or accept. As a general you can sign contracts with different people that grant you different bonuses to yourself and your troops. Players can also talk to other leaders in the world and earn more experience for their Fame rating based on which officer they’re talking too. During a scenario, there also will be a time when you will be able to change your main Fame rating to a different one.

However, if you’re playing on easy difficultly they’re not that important or really helpful for that matter, they were designed for harder difficulties and they can help out a great deal. It’s a good system, it’s interesting and it adds a  lot replay value to the game. One of my officers I went fully Brave Fame, once I was done with a scenario I made a new officer and decided to go Affluent the 2nd time around. Each Fame gives you a different ending once you have finished a scenario and there are trophies to be earned for each of the Fame rating.

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The game is pretty deep, when I first started playing it I was really overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things you can when it comes to the political and strategic choices. Once you spend a decent amount of type with the game you will slowly start to understand how the game works and what benefits you the most.

Presentation

Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires has great Japanese voice acting, the soundtrack is as fitting as it always have been. If you’re looking for that good old Dynasty Warriors music, you’ll find it plenty of it here and that is a good thing. However, the has some graphical issues, as you play the game you will be seeing a lot of low-resolution textures, soldiers pop in the far distances along with the environmental objects. While the framerate is steady majority of the time, I couldn’t help but to cringe at the overall graphics of the game. There is no excuse for this game to look this bad, especially this late in the console generation cycle.

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Overall

This is not a bad game by any means, if you can manage to look past the graphical problems of this game then there is fun to be had. Thanks to the great combination of politics, strategy, Fame system with its stratagems,  huge list of officers too chose from, Edit Mode and of course the classical gameplay of Dynasty Warriors on the battlefield. There is a good game to be played here, whether you’re a fan of the series or a newcomer. If you’re a loyal fan then I would strongly recommend you buy this game, if you’re new to the franchise then you should decide for yourself if you want to give it a whirl.

The game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.

The Good

A lot of replay value, probably the best Dynasty Warriors Empires in the Empires series, great execution of political and strategic gameplay implementation, plenty of officers to choose from, Edit Mode let's you create your own custom officer that would suit your needs

The bad

Presentation lacks, a lot of noticeable low-resolution textures, a lot of graphical pop-in during battlefields, game lacks a lot in the visual department

FINAL VERDICT

Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires fantastic combination of political, strategic and battlefield gameplay creates a fun experience. Fame system complements the gameplay greately both outside the battlefield and during combat. However, graphical issues may or may not hamper the experience for some players.


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