Top Critic Average
But this is really a game for a subset of an already small audience. It's hard to see total newcomers, or fans of hardcore strategy, won over by Empires' strategy-management RPG blend, in much the same way that you wouldn't expect fighting game specialists to be entranced by the Musou combat system. It's a strange compromise really, yet somehow it manages to work. As such, it's certainly worth a spin, perhaps with the upcoming F2P version, if only to get a taste of the Musou series' most complex and thoughtful offshoot.
Also, until Koei Tecmo starts localising the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games again, this will be the closest we get to that superb series in English. While I do want to see the Romance games again as well, I'll take this in the meantime.
Ultimately, I came away from Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires extremely satisfied. The tactical elements outside of battle were well balanced as to be challenging while fair, and the combat carries over the best elements from the main game. It's a bit of a specific niche it's catering to -- fans of Dynasty Warriors combat and long-term strategy elements -- but if those two things are your jam, then Empires should have you hooked.
A Dynasty Warriors title fused with deep strategy concepts that make it much more like Civilization. If you yearn for more than just killing thousands of enemies on a battlefield, check out Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires provides you with the tools to create your own epic tale of love, betrayal and war, but it won't spoon feed it to you; your imagination must do some of the work to flesh out the experience. The change of pace from the frantic combat offered by the strategic elements of Empire Mode helps keeps things fresh, but if you aren't able to invest interest in the characters and the kingdoms, or can't stomach the cathartic but repetitive combat, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires may not win you over. For everyone else, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is quite possibly the best Dynasty Warriors game to date, on the verge of greatness.
Aside from these mild drawbacks, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is a solid, entertaining adventure that successfully mixes depth and over-the-top combat. When off the battlefield, it adopts the feel of a strategy game and when customizing and advancing your hero, you get that distinct RPG vibe. And when you hit the battlefield, the contest explodes all over that small screen.
Omega Force certainly takes the core gameplay of Dynasty Warriors and boosts it considerably. A wider and deeper landscape for networking, invading and scheming, and sometimes playing as a politician, helps to make this title more than just another hack and slash experience. This depth will overshadow the lack of visual upgrade for current generation hardware.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires manages to mix two largely different gameplay types into one game and makes it work. There's a lot of content to play through, and a great amount of customization. It provides hours upon hours of content without getting too boring or repetitive.
Although Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires follows in the tradition of a core game followed by its Empires equivalent, the combat feels stale and despite its massive cast there is very little do with it.
This is not your typical Dynasty Warriors sequel. Empire plays out like a game of Risk, where fast-paced action sequences replace rolling the dice. Unfortunately, the developer doesn't take the novel concept far enough. Fans may enjoy the fast-paced action and emphasis on character building, but everybody else will be left scratching their heads at the outdated graphics and repetitive gameplay.
Being a fan of the series, I actually installed this latest instalment even though it does become repetitive but the mindless hacking and slashing on the battlefield is quite fun. The mechanics work well but the gameplay is definitely showing its age and once again, hopefully Koei can try something new in their next instalment besides making it a 1080p game.
The new features in the expansion are highly enjoyable and make Empires worth replaying, just to get the chance to try everything out. Having kids and using the enhanced stratagems are definitely the top changes; even if the battle system might feel old, it adds value to what already is a concrete battle system.
At the end of the day, Empires mode is arguably where the crux of the experience lies and as such it really does add a lot of crucial depth to a series that is regarded in many circles as a largely one-trick pony. It's just a shame that similar evolutions aren't forthcoming in other areas of the game which, some nearly fifteen years on, are now starting to look really quite old in the tooth.
Despite being a little overwhelming at first, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires blossoms into an engrossing, addictive hack and slash adventure that fans won't want to miss. It's a shame that the game's bogged down by poor presentation and an unstable framerate, but along with the property's trademark combat, strategic elements add some variety to the mix, and the vast amount of customisation options and role-playing systems allow you to forge a legend that's more than worthy of the Three Kingdoms.
Koei doesn't seem very interested in appealing to new customers, because DW8 Empires assumes that you're thoroughly familiar with not just the DW franchise, but the Empires spin-off.
Without the heavy emphasis on strategy, Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires would be a fairly dull game. With its poor character AI, bland environments, and underwhelming visuals, actually fighting in Empires gets repetitive and old pretty quickly. But, because of the vast number of customizations one can make to their character, and the numerous strategic and political decisions to be made, the game ends up being not bad in the end. It's hard to say if it's worth $50, but if you are a hardcore fan of the franchise then you might want to give it a look.
For me, I was hoping for another good step in the right direction for the series, instead, what we got was a freeze in evolution at a time where Omega Force was on the ball with a streak of great releases.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires has all the entertaining, albeit repetitive combat the series is known for, but lacks the features to back it up. While this is par for the course for an Empires game, it's still hard to recommend as little has changed over Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires outside of some insignificant updates to the highly strategic politics that go on outside of battle.
In summary, Empires is yet another instalment in the Warriors franchise that provides hours upon hours of fun for those who enjoy its tried and tested formula. With that said, it fails to do anything that really pushes the series forward, borrowing heavily from previous games while adding a few extra bells and whistles. Although some will revel in the notion of building their own kingdom and conquering all of China, others will find Empire's repetitive mission grinding and narrow scope hard to overlook.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires breaks Omega Force's streak in releasing games that can change the minds of series critics. By reverting back to basics with so few modes, the title returns to something of a monotonous grind if you aren't playing as the kingdom leader. Campaigns blend into one another and have very few differentiating factors between them. The creation system is vast but not as much as the PS4 version, and the lack of modes makes the game feel quite small, even though the campaign can last countless hours. It spares Xbox One owners from dealing with a deluge of cosmetic DLC, and it doesn't have to compete with too many other Musou games on this platform. However, it is still the weakest in the series thus far and can only be recommended to lapsed fans and die-hard fans who play all of the entries.
Veterans of the series should enjoy what is offered here, and that is the key, as I think veterans of the series will enjoy it as they will find with plenty to do, and with a cheaper than most price they could do worse.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires feels about as much of an afterthought as you can get. Nothing about this game feels evolutionary. I have recently become more invested in the Musou-style games, but Empires feels like a lot of half-baked ideas that don't form a cohesive experience.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires doesn't want to innovate but it fails to provide long-time veterans with anything truly new and exciting. Even casual players will eventually be bored with the utter repetitiveness of combat.
Almost exactly the same features as Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, and although it's still more entertaining than the main game the lack of effort put in is downright insulting.
Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires is everything a Dynasty Warriors hater thinks about the series made real. It's a contemptuously assembled recycling project, and I'm sick of it.