Back when I was finishing up my Dynasty Warriors 6 review, I noticed that its sequel Dynasty Warriors 6:
was coming out particularly soon, so when I finished DW6
, I went and swapped them out and started working on DW6:E
soon there after. After playing through I realized that the additions to this game were nice, but the content left out was more confusing than disappointing.
Empires is almost like any other Dynasty Warriors game you've ever played: warriors of Ancient China running
rampant killing any opponent that he or she sees fit. But instead of running through 6-8 scenarios ala Musou Mode per character, you're running in Empire Mode: a somewhat turn-based strategy game with 24 territories that various forces are fighting over. Empire Mode can be played at two different views: the Officer or the Ruler.
Playing through Empire Mode as the Officer puts you smack dab in Eastern China with your sword, the
clothes on your back, and any ruler to help conquer. Officers can pick their ruler by moving to whichever territory you are in, which will use up one of your Action Points. Action points regard everything you do, and are very precious in the early years of your character's campaign. Action points are used when moving around territories, battling minions, or filling out assignments for your Ruler during Council months. A Council month starts off where your Ruler suggests to go on with one of three objectives: help the Military [Which increases You and your Weapon's Level]; set up Diplomacy [Increase your friendship with your allies]; or help Domestic activities [earns you more Gold]. These council months will give you a three-month period to fulfill assignment missions to help your ruler by possibly taking over territories or completing various missions.
Doing either Assignment Missions or Mercenary Missions [Missions like defeating Bandits or Escorting a
Princess] will net you EXP
Rank Points. Rank Points not only help your character level up, but also allow you to Rank Up in your Empire. There are 10 Ranks to be earned, with certain Ranks allowing you to suggest different actions during Council, or giving you more AP to fulfill more objectives. If you're tired of your side, you can defect to another side when your ruler is invading or defending against another territory. Your whole endgame to Empire Mode is to capture all 24 territories for your Ruler and claim Eastern China to your Commander, or you can decide to challenge your ruler in battle and take over part of his land and become a ruler of your own.
Playing through Empire Mode as the Ruler gives a whole Metal Gear Ac!d feel to the takeover of China.
Instead of Action Points, as a ruler you are given Resource Points: these resource points are then used on a selection of cards that are drawn or given depending on who you have on your side. The Cards differ from giving Gold to you, being able to set bases on fire, to restoring your allies' troops, with each card ranging from 1 to 6 points. Being a Ruler allows you to pick whenever you want to take over a neighboring territory, or invoke someone to try and take over your territory; this can be beneficial with the right cards, by possibly getting you double EXP
Rank Points when defending. Rulers can also recruit officers and capture opposing officers to either recruit them or exchange them for Gold, which these officers must keep happy with a monthly salary. Failure to pay will cause them to either quit or defect in mid-battle. The Card system and new changes works pretty well and gives some well needed variety to the campaign.
How the battles pan out in DW6:E is different to its predecessor. Most of it is its almost trademarked
hack-n-slash gameplay, but your objectives are based on bases and their connection to each other. Enemy and Allied bases are littered around the fighting area, and taking these bases allow you to connect to one another all the way to the opponent's Main Camp. These bases can be quite tedious to take out if you're going for single enemies, so it's best to run and take out special enemies like: the Lieutenant or Mechinism [counts for 20 enemies], the Guard Captain , or any Specific Officer  to help take out these bases. An easier way to take out a base is the new Surprise Attack, by hitting LT and RT in allied territory, you're given 20 seconds to infiltrate a base that's not connected by allied bases and instantly take it! Your are limit one per battle, but it's a nifty little tool to use if you want to quickly take out a Base in under 20 seconds.
Edit Mode also makes a return, and it has certainly improved from its previous versions. The Edit mode gives
different faces, body builds, and allows any officer's fighting style to be used. The Voice system is much better with around 6-7 voices along with a pitch meter to make your character very mean sounding or very ridiculous sounding. Plus there's a whole boat load of clothing and armor to wear with 6 different colors to choose from. The soundtrack in Empires is absolutely fantastic. Omega Force comprised almost every single track dating back to Dynasty Warriors 2
[The first Dynasty Warriors
OST is available via free DLC] onto one disc. The soundtrack can also be accessed before any match so you can pick your favorite track before you go and pummel people. The Archives section also has a bunch of unlockable items to collect by completing bonus objectives throughout Empire Mode. These objectives range from getting 1000 K.O.'s on horseback, to beating the various scenarios. Wallpapers, voices, videos, and player Cards are all available through the Archives: as well as everyone's favorite Ending Edit Sequence.
While Empires sounds like a terrific game, there are some TERRIBLE flaws to it that near ruin the game of a
great concept. One of the biggest is the fact that there is no other mode than Empire mode. There's no Free mode, no Challenge mode, nothing: you're stuck playing Empire mode and that's it for the game. Even if it wasn't meant to be anything, a Free mode to break the same ole' same ole' would've been nice. Along with no other modes, there's no variety in weapons! Every single character has one weapon they can upgrade, but it never changes, you're stuck with that one weapon whether you like it or not: and that ruined any customibility with your character.
Alongside no variety with weapons, I noticed that a good portion of the characters in Empires have the exact
same fighting style, with the only difference being the weapon skin. If you gave each big guy the same weapon, they'd be exactly the same! It shows incredible laziness on the Developer's part when back in Dynasty Warriors 3
, every single character had a unique style: now a good 10 characters have the same fighting styles as other characters. It's a sad showing.
But the biggest problem is with the Empire mode itself. Though there are 6 scenarios to play through, they
all are the Exact Same
. All 24 territories will be fought for no matter what Era it is, and it really hurts the replayability of the game when you're simply fighting for the same territories over and over again. Even the Unlock Points you receive after beating a campaign [which allows you to start with your previous weapons and a good amount of gold in the beginning] won't have you coming back the 4th or 5th time. They could've at least changed what was at each territory, but everything is carbon-copy through each scenario: and it plain sucks. What's even worse is that whenever you do succeed in taking over all of China with your Level 50 character, there's absolutely no way to stay that level! No matter how hard you try or how many Unlock Points you earn: when you win, you go to Level 1, like it or not.
All-in-all, this is really for the DW Hardcore community, because this $40 Expansion Installment seems void
of items that should've been there in the first place and a good idea that could've been great if they didn't get rid of so much of what made Dynasty Warriors
fun and enjoyable: the over-the-top weapons, the uniqueness of each character, and just the feeling of achieving something overall. But the problem is no matter how many tries Koei and Omega Force take on trying to make Empires its own full-fledged game: it always seem to drop back to Level 1.
- + Card System Works
- + Interesting Officer/Ruler Options
- + Edit Mode & Extras Aplenty
- + Base-Styled Combat is a Good Change
- - Unbelievably Dull, Copy-Paste Scenarios
- - No Free Mode, Challenge Mode, Versus Mode...
- - Awe-Inducing Laziness on Weapons and Characters
- - Where did my Levels Go!?
- - This should've been with Dynasty Warriors 6