Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires Review - The Joy of Repetition

Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires


  • Platform: Xbox 360, Xbox One (Version Reviewed), PS Vita, PS3, PS4, PC
  • Players – 2
  • Achievements – Yes
  • Steam Trading Cards - No
  • Controller Support - Yes (Partial)
  • Retail Price - $30-50 Range Depending on Platform

High Level Premise – Hack and Slash through hordes of enemies with some general war strategy set in ancient China.

Graphics/Style – It looks like a Dynasty Warriors game although more cut scenes and effects than some previous entries.

Music/Soundtrack – Varied Chinese inspired songs ranging from melancholy to hard driving beats.

Story – Again the story is born from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms books, here you can join any faction or create your own to battle the others for supremacy.

Replay-ability – If you love the gameplay it is endless as you can play with 83 unique characters or a created character than can be a blend of any of those people. However, If you get tired of the hack and slash formula you may not last a single play through.

Time Commitment – Most of the game allows you to walk away after any battle and they tend to be 15 minutes or less.

Value – If you love Dynasty Warriors or this is your first foray I like the value. If you don’t love the series and played a recent version this isn’t wildly different.

Favorite Element – The create-a-character is the deepest yet with a lot of customization. I spent more time making characters than playing the proper game.


Dynasty Warriors is an intriguing series in the game universe. It is the same formula, story, and style in every game. The levels change but are largely set dressing and don’t really alter gameplay in a meaningful way. Yet they continue to make the games and they continue to do relatively well. I am one of those that craves the game every few years, and last played on PS2 when Dynasty Warriors 4 came out. I would say that everything about this game is better than 4 except the combat against other officers. In 4, you would square off in a duel for an intense one-on-one bloodmatch. In this title you can be fighting 4 officers and their army at the same time, and the combat can often look like a bunch of people hitting each other and not always reacting to the blows in a glitch-ridden frenzy. They also have some bosses that are functionally impossible where you may not be able to hurt them faster than they heal unless you have captured a bunch of their bases damaging their stats or increasing yours.

The new story mode has you on a map of Territory and different groups fight to rule the quadrants therein, and you can maneuver through it in a variety of ways. You can act as a free agent and join in on battles, raids, and missions for gold and items. Or you can rise up the ranks of a faction and try to steer them to domination. The individual options may get repetitive at times like constantly having to defend your territory in battle, but there are some nice little touches like bonding with fellow warriors in a battle and becoming sworn brothers which will grant extra abilities when in proximity to one another on the battlefield. Or you meet and fall in love with someone of the opposite gender (for those who care that is the only option) and have a child that very suddenly is old enough to fight alongside you. My fictional son looked just like me with a few changes like a wispy mustache and was a beast in battle. I enjoyed the game enough to play through a full dynasty mode and conquered all of China with an Asian version of my wife and our odd computer generated hybrid son at my side. I am ready to walk away from the game for awhile, but I bet I am in the mood for it again when Dynasty Warriors 8 comes out. Especially if they step up the officer combat which is the weakest element in the game. If you haven’t played a Dynasty Warriors game I recommend trying this game, or grab Hyrule Warriors (WiiU), or Dragon Quest Heroes (PS4) which follow the same format.

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