Matt Keller
08 Jul, 2006

Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires Review

PS2 Review | Dynasty Warriors meets Risk.
When we review a Dynasty Warriors game, we tend to use the opening spiel to have a quick go at Koei about how much they’re milking the series, and have a bitch about the lack of new content, especially in the regular expansion pack updates. Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends was really pitiful as an add-on pack, even at a budget price. At the time we reviewed the game, we told all of you to wait until the bigger and badder Empires add-on appeared this year – and you should be glad we did, because Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires is really about as good as Dynasty Warriors is going to get.

Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires is set in the same old Three Kingdoms era that we’ve seen for the last six years, but there’s a bit of a difference. Rather than following the standard story type mode, Empires functions as more of a cross between Risk and the typical Dynasty Warriors formula, in that players need to manage their empire and armies as well as taking part in battles. Players will start off with a small number of territories, generals and lieutenants – your aim will be to build your army and capture the lands from the other computer controlled armies. The battles have a bit more of a sense of context about them, where winning or losing seems to have a greater effect than just serving to push the story forward or force you to repeat a mission.

Get your own little piece of China

Get your own little piece of China
So how do you go about building your territory and army? The answer is simple – gold, and lots of it. Gold is earned mainly through taxation; the more territories you hold the more gold you get. Your accumulated wealth can be used in a variety of ways; increasing the fortification of your territories, giving money back to the people to raise their morale, buying a new weapon or item, increasing the skill of your tradesmen and so on. If you’re feeling a little malevolent, you can increase taxes…at the cost of the support of your people. This is done at the end of each turn (of which there are four, one for each season) by contacting your generals and lieutenants. Your major troops occasionally offer other types of advice, such as temporary alliances and communication with the people. Perhaps the most useful advice you can get from your main guys is the tactics, which can be executed at any time on the battlefield to give your general and soldiers a temporary stats boost, or call for a sorcerer to give magical assistance.

Taking territory is where things drift back towards the familiar Dynasty Warriors style. There’s a fairly straightforward method for taking territories – you’ll start out with a small number of bases, and your aim is to take over enemy territories to create a supply line to their main headquarters in order to take out the lead general (a bit like Unreal Tournament 2004’s Onslaught mode). You can have up to three generals and three lieutenants in any territory at one time – the more you have, the easier it is to take or defend a piece of the pie. You can capture more generals during the battles by defeating them twice – at the end of the round you can offer them some gold to join you, but they will not always accept. Each general and lieutenant will have a number of troops under his command, and generally the number of men on each side dictates the momentum of the battle; that said, it is still possible to win a territory when you are the sole living warrior of your army, but it takes a bit of skill.

Actually, Liu Bei let one rip, and everyone magically developed the ability to run away quickly

Actually, Liu Bei let one rip, and everyone magically developed the ability to run away quickly
PlayStation 2 fans will have the advantage of being able to carry over their save data from Dynasty Warriors 5 and Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends into Empires, which can be quite handy in the earlier part of the proceedings. The game is also available on the Xbox 360 at a similar price point to the PlayStation 2 game, but doesn’t go out of its way to take advantage of the significant extra power the console has under the hood. In fact, it simply looks like a high resolution Xbox game – so next generation console owners will have to continue to wait for a true next generation Dynasty Warriors title.

Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires is a refreshing approach to a very stale theme. The only real problem fans should see with the game is the fact that it’s not a part of the main Dynasty Warriors package – it’d be good to see the Empires style game as a major mode in the next game, especially since we know the story of the Three Kingdoms off by heart at this point.
The Score
Empires is an enjoyable game, but we'd like to see it become part of the main game, rather than continue to be a standalone add-on pack. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires Content

Dynasty Warriors 5 Empires coming to the 360
22 Feb, 2006 First images included.
Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends Review
12 Mar, 2006 The end of a dynasty?
Dynasty Warriors 4 Review
10 Jul, 2003 It's time to go back to China for another all out war.
7 years ago
Saw a demo of this in GAME running on the Xbox 360 and good God, talk about not taking advantage of that system's power. Looked very rough.
7 years ago
No kidding, I know what you mean, the graphics really are no different on the 360. Don't bother me, I'm a Sony man when it comes to consoles I currently own.

Now..I'm a DW fanboy, my game titles would represent this

DW4: Empires

I'll no doubt get this, as it seems quite good, a little better than DW4: Empires. Cheers for the review!
7 years ago
This is pretty dissapointing, I like DW coop but the PS2 just can't handle it, now it sounds like that hasn't changed much. Hopefully Samurai Warriors 2 will improve!
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