No matter how calm, collected, or peaceful you are, we all yearn for power. It’s that one thing that drives us all to corruption, yet we still want it. What we may not understand, however, is that power can be controlled in different ways. Yes, brute force normally works, but there is room for logical thinking and a savvy mindset. Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires allows you to explore a range of approaches as you plan to rule the world.
Developed by Omega Force and published by Koei Tecmo, this is a strategy hack n slash title. Set in a dated Asian world, you must control your ruler as you plan to conquer every territory. It’s the latest instalment in this ever-popular franchise, and the “Empires” title highlights its tactical aspirations. Unlike the main game that focuses on all-out combat, this spin-off adds considerable depth.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires gives the best of both worlds.
I adore the concept behind hack n slash titles, as I love the brutality, gore, and violence. Moreover, each fight is an epic masterpiece and the pace of the gameplay gets my adrenaline pumping. However, I’m also aware of its repetitive nature and this limits the longevity and appeal. Luckily, though, Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll lose yourself in gruesome battles across an array of environments. Furthermore, you must weigh up the pros and cons, while always considering the best strategy.
The main campaign doesn’t revolve around a story as such. Instead, your leadership decisions trigger random events. You may decide to be righteous and kind or evil and totalitarian. Whatever you choose, you must live with the consequences of your actions.
As you start, you may select the campaign mode known as conquest or the tutorial. The latter option is a fantastic starting point as it explains the battle fundamentals. Unfortunately, though, it offers little insight into the tactical elements of the campaign or the key components in leading your people.
This was an oversight from the developers, but fortunately, there are handy hints and some leeway for trial and error. As the campaign begins, you are welcomed by an array of missions. Each focuses on a different army and this allows you to try out new tactics and a unique approach. It was therefore fascinating to see how each style impacted the flow of the gameplay.
You don’t have to fight to be victorious.
Where Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires differs from the main franchise is the tactical mindset you must employ. Yes, the amazing hack n slash battles are still present, but fighting isn’t always necessary to be victorious. Moreover, the campaign focuses on 3 key areas; The kingdom and resource management screens, the battlefield, and finally, free-roaming within your regions.
Whichever interface you work from will cost you action points. These are limited and therefore you must consider any move before you commit. Every turn that is used comprises one calendar month. Furthermore, within each year, you must hold biannual council meetings to discuss progress and collect rewards for any objectives you have completed.
The objectives allow you to focus on additional tasks such as hiring new captains, scouting men in enemy regions, or simply increasing your empire’s food rations. At first, these options are extremely overwhelming for newcomers. But, within an hour, you’ll master the basics and will love what the additional elements bring to the table.
The three key areas.
The action is thwarted with danger and difficulty thanks to these key areas of the gameplay. These essential elements are the deciding factor between success and failure. They, therefore, make this stand out from your standard hack n slash title.
You’ll have to consider your army, captains, rations, recruitment, trade, combat, and more. There is an awful lot to consider and very little time to execute your plans. Consequently, you must be methodical, learn from your failings, and create a decisive and manageable plan.
Empire overview and resource management.
This area is the heart and soul of your command operation. Here you will select what missions you undertake, recruit men to your army, move captains, find new allies, purchase goods, or trade for rations. You’ll also see how your empire is expanding and contemplate attacking other territories or defending your borders.
There is an awful lot to juggle and in the early stages, it’s tough but manageable. However, as you expand, your forces will become stretched. Subsequently, fighting on multiple fronts while balancing food and people is a challenging request. Therefore, only a true leader or diabolical tyrant will succeed.
Diplomacy is for wimps, so get prepared to spend your time fighting. This is where the classic gameplay and new mechanics merge wonderfully. You’ll experience the thrills and brutality of every fight while planning every key moment. You may select specific captains, adjust your troops, use secret plans, wear specialist equipment, and so forth. Every decision will help or hinder you, so you must be wise.
The battles comprise either an attack or defence approach. Consequently, you must consider the unique and familiar mechanics of each one. Before any fight begins, you may command your forces to capture certain areas or attack enemy captains. Subsequently, you must consider your strengths while contemplating their weaknesses. As the fight progresses, you will capture catapults, defend or destroy siege equipment, and unleash your secret plan. Every minor moment shifts power while increasing or decreasing your chances of victory.
Alongside captain placement and planning, you will select troops knowing that Infantry>Cavalry>Archers>Infantry. If you get this wrong, your men will be annihilated, and the balance of power will shift. Subsequently, the opposing general will attempt to destroy your base. Sadly, this will lead to failure and the loss of men and key resources.
Captains don’t grow on trees, nor are they easily swayed! To persuade unattached leaders takes time, luck, and effort. You must appeal to them by wining-and-dining your target to build rapport. It can be frustrating when you are repeatedly turned down, especially as the limited Action Points make this a particularly long-winded process.
In the early game, this area is underused, as you are provided with ample warriors. However, as your empire expands, you must enlarge your force while protecting your borders. Think of the basic strategies in Risk as the same idea applies here. You’ll want to protect the front line at all costs, otherwise, your kingdom will crumble.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires looks incredible.
From the wonderful cinematic to the gargantuan siege equipment, everything in Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires looks amazing. Every location is vast, colourful, and full of detail. There are wooded areas to run through, defences to dodge, and large castles to ransack. Furthermore, each character model looks incredible. The troops all have a unified look that helps to create a terrifying wall of resistance and the captains are all unique. What’s more, the combat and movement are slick and impressive. Sadly, though, there are minor issues with items respawning and visual glitches. Fortunately, these are intermittent and don’t detract from the overall finish.
The graphics were great, but the incredible audio was better. The sound effects are truly gruesome as you are forced to listen to the screams of dying fighters. The atmosphere is further enhanced thanks to the noise of the charging cavalry, bows twanging, swords swishing, and equipment being smashed. It’s incredibly immersive and transports you to each vast and dangerous battle.
Button mashing with some finesse.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires luckily avoids the mindless button mashing approach of its peers. Yes, there are moments when you’ll settle for simplicity, but to be victorious, you must show some finesse. Fortunately, the great tutorial clearly explains the fundamentals. Consequently, this makes it extremely user-friendly, fun, and super addictive.
Though I loved every second of being a ruler, I can’t help but think the developers missed a trick. Without a multiplayer option, the longevity and replay value rely solely on the one campaign mode. If new DLC is released, then this won’t be an issue. However, veterans of the genre may worry that it’ll stagnate quickly. Hopefully, more content will be added to enhance the experience.
Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires is fantastic.
The game’s potential is clear from the start. However, Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires far exceeded my expectations. It’s tactically brilliant whilst maintaining the core hack n slash mechanics. Moreover, it’s both complex and simple and, subsequently, it will test newcomers and veterans alike. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Don’t yearn for power anymore! Take what’s rightfully yours and rule your own empire.