Samurai Warriors 2: Empires - hands-on preview

We get a first stab at the next in Koei's "guilty pleasure" series

Hacking away at your enemies like so much tuna sashimi is great, but any shogun worth his katana can tell you that most battles are won before they begin - with careful planning. Though, an army of bloodthirsty samurai doesn’t hurt either.

Enter Samurai Warriors 2: Empires, which mixes the original game's steel-swinging action with board game-like tactical strategy. This forms a game, not shockingly, much like the nearly identical Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires.

The meat of Empires is comprised of two portions - creatively tagged battle and strategy - in which you must unite the 25 warring states of ancient Japan with equal parts diplomacy, subterfuge and, of course, the business end of a well-honed blade through several historical scenarios.

After choosing a clan to rule in strategy mode, you will execute public policy, bolster your defenses, form alliances and otherwise prepare to take over rival territory - or survive attacks on your own soil.