Dynasty Warriors Empires 6 is a tactical add-on for the long running beat-‘em-up series. If you already own DW6, you won’t be getting a great deal of new content here, so don’t bother. There are just a small handful of extra characters from the Nanman kingdom, and the new maps are so blocky-looking that it’s almost as if technology has stood still for the past five years.
Don’t expect any significant steps forward. If this game proves anything, it’s that Koei can design slicker and more obtuse menu screens every year. At the core of the experience is a turn-based system where you spend time upgrading your character and choosing particular strategies before going back into battle.
It’s more of an RPG than an out and out strategy game. There are some limited resource-management options, such as hiring troops and unlocking special tactics cards that affect your forces on the battlefield. It’s also possible to spend absolutely loads of time upgrading your character and buying new special weapons. There are five scenarios in total, and each one divvies-up a large map of China in accordance with which of the military leaders was dominating at the time. How tough your task is, usually depends on which allegiance you pick, and it’s a nice touch that you’re free to defect once you’ve reached a certain level of fame.
Another original feature is that your character choice has a significant impact on the decision-making element. Picking a lowly warrior or vagrant class means that you won’t have any say in where the next battle takes place, or on the tactics used. However, as you rise through the ranks and prove your ability, it’s possible to veto decisions made by the ruling class. Alternatively, you can pick a character from the officer class to start with, and dive straight in to the decision-making.
The new Create-An-Officer mode is a fun feature, but the costume choices feel limited. It’s as if it’s been left incomplete so that more DLC can be added later on. Empires tries hard to disguise the fact it’s just another dated beat-‘em-up. However, it’s not much of an improvement on any of the other games in the series. The strategic elements are engaging for a while, but they don’t go deep enough. Bit of a shame.
Jun 23, 2009