Right about here should be some sort of witty blurb to entice you into reading what we have to say about Dynasty warriors 5 Empires - only there's nothing. (Sorry.) That's because this is a game which is now so tired and worn out that that we refuse to honour it with a snappy intro.
The additional word tacked onto the game's title doesn't change the fact that this is almost exactly the same game as Dynasty Warriors 5. The bread and butter of the game - slashing all over various towns like an incontinent 90-year-old after eight pints of Stella - is still the same thumb-deadening fare, with hordes of totally gormless 'warriors' to plough through and the same superficial objectives.
The button-bashing is punctuated by sections of turn-based strategy. After choosing a suitable patch of land to launch your campaign from, the aim of the Empire mode is to bring the whole map under your control within 100 turns, which equates to 25 years (game years, although it feels like it's played in real time).
FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT... TO TAX
You can assign tasks to your generals and officers during battle, like handing out gold to the destitute or enforcing tax payment, and a population's regard of you will rise and fall accordingly. In reality there's barely any connection between the two elements - you can set whatever tone you like, from charitable to ruthless, but you'd be hard pushed to see any effect it has on the game.
In between your towns being attacked by plagues of locusts or being struck by some other crisis (it doesn't really matter what it is as there's bugger all you can do about it), you can use your revenue to improve weapons, hire new officers or ally your forces to other factions. If more focus was placed on this instead of tedious button bashing, Empires might have moved the series on a little bit. The only thing that has changed is a slight improvement in looks. Please Koei, stop. We give in. Chinese water torture has nothing on this.
If the fighting had been better integrated into the Empire mode, this could have been interesting. But it wasn't and it's not.
- Empire mode's not bad
- Graphics look prettier
- DW6 won't be far away
- Empire mode's not great
- Same hack 'n' slash play
- Really stupid enemies