There are certain things you can always count on. Seasons change, snow falls, and Dynasty Warriors games will be released. Following a long lineage in the hack and slash genre, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires drops itself onto the PS Vita and brings along a competent handheld experience. Its elaborate empire mode adds depth and variety to the usual cut ’em up gameplay. If you have been away from the series for some time this may be the one to peak your interest.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires throws you into the fight of unifying ancient China. Deviating from the usual path, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires has a more turn-based strategy mixed with free combat approach. There isn’t too much different here from Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires generally. Small additions like the marriage and children feature help keep it fresh. The same concept of following the historic or hypothetical path to unifying China is still at work. Plot has never been the most interesting element in this series and this title is no exception. While it’s not terrible, it may not be enough to warrant the text-heavy story being told.
On the Vita, Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires controls and performs admirably. For having as many NPC’s on-screen as it does, there is never too much slow down. Character movement and unleashing musou fury feels great and responsive. The menu system can definitely use a friendly user interface boost. There is a lot going on between managing armies, skills, and weapons, and it can feel like a daunting task to do so. The amount of content Koei Tecmo packed in this port is impressive, but not intriguing enough to make the player seek every nook and cranny offered. For the most part, building your empire and slashing through nameless foe will suffice for a simple pleasure.
The visual presentation of Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is impressive in my opinion. I think it looks sharper than any other of the Vita ports. The textures and lighting may not be top-tier but they are not underwhelming either. Rendering 3D character models on the Vita can be hit or miss, but Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires does a decent job.
When it comes to the score you can expect the typical Dynasty Warriors accompaniment. Fast guitar licks and heavy rock riffs carry the audio load. They are forgettable and very hard to differentiate. Voice over work lacks the same passion as the soundtrack. Maybe if the Dynasty Warriors series incorporates more CGI voice over in the future, it will cease to lack the impact intended.
Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires is a stride in the right direction for the series. It adds layers of depth to the predictable combat and new features to expand gameplay. Unfortunately, it may not be enough to bring in new players or keep seasoned players interested. As a Vita port though, hack ‘n slash on the go compliments the handheld just fine.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation Vita code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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