Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires Review
Koei are known across the world for being able to churn out game, after game, after game. By the time you’ve gone through their full list of games you will have a long grey beard and will be cursing at those kids kicking balls into your yard. Koei’s latest game in the long running Dynasty series is Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires which is in fact Koei’s debut Xbox 360 title. What we are really wondering though is if the game is simply an Xbox port, or does it actually use some of the 360’s awesome power? Well all you have to do is look at the games price and already that question has been answered, but even so 360Monster went in to investigate if Dynasty Warriors 5 is worth its cut price.
The games story puts you in the middle of the Romance of 3 Kingdoms era. Of course being Dynasty Warriors this particular era is filled with warriors who can perform impossible feats with spears, sword and bows and these warriors also take a few thousand stab wounds before they are finally slain. Your first job is to choose which race you will run alongside and you can choose Wu, Wei or Shu [Ed- who sneezed?]. What’s more you can choose to either be one of the games main characters or even create your own sword wielding menace (who is pathetic at first so I would pick one of the games generals for the time being).
Now the best new feature of this game is the all new Empire mode. In previous games you used to simply pick up your weapon, kill a few yellow turban warriors, win some more swords and hey presto the games over. With the new Empire mode not only can you choose the path of you general, but you can also do things like recruit new officers, form allegiances, up your countries taxes, you name it. It is actually a nice change to the game which will have you hooked (especially all you achievement whores) for a good few weeks.
What’s more the various options available to you on the battle map will affect your battles, like for example if you add a few thousand troops to a general defending one of your territories he will obviously stand a better chance of survival if he is ever threatened, compared to a General all on his lonesome with nothing but his weapon and that little ray of hope that he may actually survive.
Once you hit the battlefield you immediately realise that you are playing a Dynasty title. The same old button bashing battles are around each and every corner and you versus a thousand enemies is nothing, they’ll all be dead in under 10 seconds. Like any Dynasty game the button bashing can become repetitive very quickly indeed, then again the feeling you get while slashing through 50 enemies with one swipe of your sword is simply priceless.
The aim of the game like its pre-decessors is to simply wipe out anything that is breathing, you must also keep an eye out as the enemy AI in this title is a bit smarter, and on a few occasions I found myself trekking back through the entire map to protect my boss who was being ravaged by my foes. Another point is the fact that despite the enemies being smarter, your own guys seem to have got dummer. You will see a squad of 6 guys from your side run in against two hundred enemies and get slaughtered and sadly there is no way to control them, so you either watch them die, or try to save them. You can win a battle by either taking over the final territory or defeating the enemy General which again isn’t very difficult even on the games hardest settings.
Visually this game is a bit of a disappointment. It is nothing more than an Xbox port, the various enemies, friendlys and even the Generals are about as jaggy as a hack-saw. Granted seeing hundreds of warriors on screen at once is nothing short of amazing, but all those warriors look like nothing more than a giant blob of Xbox graphics. The landscapes don’t look any better, again it all looks like its been copied and pasted from the Xbox equivalent and just looks bland and lifeless. Even the various buildings all look exactly the same and the game visually matches the gameplay, by that I mean it’s very repetitive indeed.
The games audio doesn’t get any better, with the sounds just being the same thing over and over again. It’s like Koei recorded one single sound for swords hitting each other and because of that you hear the same thing again and again throughout your battles, I mean why couldn’t they create a few more sound effects to make it all seem a little more unique. The music is also shocking, every song is some kind off Japanese rock and by god it gets annoying after about, three seconds.
One good point is that the game does sport a lot of unlockables, whether it’s weapons or just general items. The items include attribute upgrades for health, musou, luck and more. Also with each new weapon you can do one extra move in your combos, not exactly mind-blowing but it’s good all the same. When you do take control of an enemies region, you do also get to recruit the Generals from that region which again means you can unlock more and more new characters as the game progresses.
Overall the game despite its dated graphics is still a good buy as its new Empire mode is very clever indeed and will have you playing until the wee hours of the morning. Granted the game hasn’t truly used the 360’s power, but not many games have. I would recommend this game to Dynasty fans only, for everyone else I would point you in the direction of N3 which looks better, is more enjoyable and can fit a lot more enemies on one screen. Sorry Dynasty but you’ve been truly beaten.
Originally Written By: Lee Matthews